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Old 06-28-2013, 01:10 PM
13 posts, read 81,483 times
Reputation: 18


I tried to get all the information I could on the search function, but please add in any further comments you guys have with your experience.

We will be looking for a new construction house in the next year or so, around $600-650k in Cary, West Cary, Apex or Holly Springs.

What are the different types of builders and how "custom" can they go? From what I gathered, there are 3 types of builders.

1) Tract - choose from floor plans and you can ONLY do whatever options they have listed, NOTHING ELSE.
2) Semi-custom - choose from a floor plan, but they will let you make changes to the floor plan
3) Full custom - in addition to having floor plans you can choose from, you can also submit your own blueprints for building

Did I get that correct? Now which builders fit into which category? I have a pretty good idea about tract, but not the others. Tract builders are Pulte, Toll Brothers, Ashton Woods, KB Homes, ForeverHome, Lennar, Drees.

Is John Wieland semi-custom? Do they make changes to an existing floor plan that they have (if you want to add a closet somewhere etc?) or add stone to the elevation if you want?

And what about these builders: Wardson, JordanBuilt, Terramor, Arthur Rutenburg, Rice? Any other builders and the "type" that you guys can add to this list for these neighborhoods I'm looking at in this price range? Thanks a lot guys! A lot of good info here.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:19 PM
1,886 posts, read 4,815,767 times
Reputation: 2904
You have a good handle on the distinctions, Maybe I can shed a little light on the names you have listed.

"Tract builders are Pulte, Toll Brothers, Ashton Woods, KB Homes, ForeverHome, Lennar, Drees."
True, but there are big differences between the pricepoints they offer and their business plans.
Pulte, KB, Ashton Woods are competitors. I will put Lennar 1/2 a notch above those three.
ForeverHome pushes up towards higher price points in "better" locations with elevations leaning toward the look of a "custom" home. I have been very unimpressed with their finish quality at the price points offered.
Toll and Drees are somewhat similar with Drees handling, say, $350K to 500K and Toll starting in the $300s in Durham and climbing up higher than Drees' top end.

John Wieland is a tract builder. One of the better ones, but nonetheless a tract builder. Their design center is pretty flexible-certainly more accomodating than the other builders listed above. All you have to do is be willing to pay for the privilege.

"And what about these builders: Wardson, JordanBuilt, Terramor, Arthur Rutenburg, Rice?"

Wardson and Rice are local. They have been at it a long time. They carry fine reputations.
Arthur Rutenberg is new to the area.
Terramor is a little mysterious to me. The only Terramor neighborhood I am familiar with is out in the 40/42 area with pricing beginning in the $150s. I don't know how they could build at that price point and also be mentioned in the same breath as Wardson and Rice.
Jordan Built-Their website says they have existed since 1996 but I am just not familiar with them.

At your price point you don't need to look at any builder in the first category other than potentially Toll or Wieland. I would rather have a slightly smaller home built by a local builder than a Wieland or Toll home.

I will add to these names to Wardson and Rice-they would be on my short list if I was in your price range and looking to build.
Ange Signature Homes
Gray Line Builders
Loyd Builders
Kevin Reinert Homes

There are certainly other good choices but my above list is based on my familiarity with those names and the homes they build.
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:27 PM
Location: My House
34,938 posts, read 36,258,444 times
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^I second what FC said up there and I think it's safe to call Baker Residential a semi-custom builder that does good work around your price range. They are selling Wrenhurst out in West Cary (Cary Park area) right now.

For custom (in addition to the ones already listed):

Upton & Co.

My personal favorites are Wardson, Cityscape, Grayline, Ange, and Amward (in that order).

We live in a Wardson home in your price bracket. Love it.
When in doubt, check it out: FAQ
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:03 PM
Location: work traveler, NC, VA, MD
52 posts, read 102,679 times
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Does anyone have a John Wieland home they've started construction with from the beginning recently? Do they allow structural changes such as adding a 3 car garage to their home plans? I have read on here that they do.

But I agree with you all that John Wieland is a tract builder, but if they allow some of the changes above, that's what makes this all confusing.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:40 AM
1,484 posts, read 4,156,087 times
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quality....check into quality regardless if they saying they are custom. I recently was in talks with a "custom" builder, turned out they werent custom at all and quality was the same as any other builder.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:19 AM
Location: Raleigh, NC
19,437 posts, read 27,838,210 times
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Toll Brothers does semi-custom. Including some structural changes to the basic floor plans.

They may do tract homes as well, but not where we purchased in Brier Creek.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:37 AM
Location: Raleigh, NC
12,475 posts, read 32,246,306 times
Reputation: 9450
If "I" were going to spend $600,000 for a home, I'd definitely go with one of the custom builders.

What I find is that they go above and beyond the building code and their upgrades are impressive.

By the way, for those that say our city inspectors don't do their jobs...I recently sold a custom built home in Heritage. City inspector noted that the interior staircase bottom steps were off l/8 INCH and had the builder re-do them. Honestly, I had walked up and down those stairs and I can USUALLY tell if steps are off but I couldn't tell and even after the builder pointed them out, neither I nor my buyers could tell!

No offense, JKgourmet, but I'm not a big fan of Toll Bros and I would not pay $600,000 for one of their homes. The reason being is that I consider them mostly tract builders (had a client who wanted a few changes and they wouldn't budge, including using site finished hardwood instead of engineered hardwood). They charge triple for things like garage door openers, etc. If I were paying $250,000 to $350,000, I'd be ok with Toll as long as I got a discount on their options. But, that is just MY opinion.

To the OP, for your price range, I'd want custom...tile, REAL hardwood, etc.

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