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Old 12-30-2011, 05:29 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
1,082 posts, read 2,402,129 times
Reputation: 1271

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Next year, my wife and I plan to move to another home in the Portland area. Our budget is in the low $300K range. She very much prefers a brand-new home, due to energy efficiency, the ability to choose the options we want, modern features, and everything being new and pristine. I'm fine with all of that, but I've been reading a lot of horror stories about the major builders using cheap materials and shoddy workmanship, with the result being that new houses start to experience major problems after a few years or even months. Most of the horror stories come from the housing-boom years, when builders were putting up zillions of houses as quickly as possible to meet market demand. I've been able to find almost no information, however, on the quality of houses that have been built in the post-boom years. Some of the prices now, as well as the interest rates, are incredibly low -- as low as $100 per square foot. We've toured homes at Centex, Riverside, Polygon, and a few others, and they look very nice. I understand that some of the cost savings comes from building the homes on tiny lots that used to be farm land and thus lack mature growth. I also know that using cheap paint, cheap carpet, laminate and vinyl flooring, Home Depot cabinets, etc. helps keep the costs down. Most of those things things could be upgraded in the future, when we had more money. What I'm really concerned about is the structural integrity of the house -- whether the foundation, framing, plumbing, electrical, etc. are done at an acceptable level of quality. Does anyone have experiences you can share, good or bad, about the builders I mentioned, or others that we haven't looked at? Are there any you can recommend? I wish we could afford a Renaissance home, but alas, we can't. If the new homes are mostly crap, then we'd go with an older one, but we'd prefer one that either needs no remodeling or can be remodeled within our budget before we move in. I'm able to do the basic stuff myself, but the problem is finding the time. Our current house has been one long cosmetic remodeling project for the past few years. While I enjoy doing it, my wife and I both would like to live in a house that's finished so we can do other things in our free time.
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