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pineda

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great link pineda. thanks.

this is just the tip of the iceberg. these mass developers, driven by cheap/easy financing and over eager buyers, are making a bundle. the new "slums of tomorrow" will be further downtrodden by the mass amount of foreclosures caused by unethical financing practices (due in no small part to the salespeople who are encouraging false information on credit applications).

this industry is ripe to be reigned in. hello, next big scandal.

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I recently visited a KB development for the first time ever two weeks ago when I drove up to have dinner with an exboyfriend at his house in the spring. I was less than impressed with the house and the neighborhood. The house itself was very basic and there were some obvious signs of cheap construction. The lots were tiny with houses only a few feet from each other -- probably no more than six to eight feet between houses in some cases. And ugly -- these were some of the worst looking houses I've ever seen anywhere. I know he was looking for a house in the low 100s but still, there have got to be better built houses and better designed neighborhoods than this disaster he bought into out there in that price range. It really did look like a future slum in the making.

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KB Homes do indeed suck. I remember biking past a few of these in my old subdivision (they had a new section) and the construction was very shoddy, and the designs are VERY lacking. I took a tour of the model homes once, and the interiors are plain and cheap- most places that would have trim pieces in other homes were simply sheetrocked over (window sills, etc).

I'm really getting sick of these ultra cheap homes. The neighborhoods where these are built usually turn ghetto after a few short years.

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I recently visited a KB development for the first time ever two weeks ago when I drove up to have dinner with an exboyfriend at his house in the spring. I was less than impressed with the house and the neighborhood. The house itself was very basic and there were some obvious signs of cheap construction. The lots were tiny with houses only a few feet from each other -- probably no more than six to eight feet between houses in some cases. And ugly -- these were some of the worst looking houses I've ever seen anywhere. I know he was looking for a house in the low 100s but still, there have got to be better built houses and better designed neighborhoods than this disaster he bought into out there in that price range. It really did look like a future slum in the making.

Of course this is just my opinion, but I don't know why people insist on having a brand new home that is crap when they could buy an older home in a stable neighborhood and fix it up. Its one thing when you can afford to custom build a new home to your own specifications, but if you buy a first home like that brand new, chances are good that you will not see much appreciation and if you have to/want to move within 5 years you can count on a loss.

One of the other tricks to watch for in these new developments is they sucker people in with a low note based on previous taxes, (taxes based on a vacant lot before the house was built!). Then when the taxes hit for a house actually being there, the note skyrockets.

I know some older neighborhoods have their problems or drawbacks, but they offer so much more in the way of construction, character, etc. than these cookie-cutter places.

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"Of course this is just my opinion, but I don't know why people insist on having a brand new home that is crap when they could buy an older home in a stable neighborhood and fix it up."

(quote, rps324)

i can think of two reasons right off. first, many people have been brainwashed that they need to "escape" the city and move away from crime, the schools and other ills of society. they do not consider the fact that buying an older home would be investing themselves into the neighborhood, school and community as well as investing their money into the property. second, new home developments employ hard-core sales, marketing and p/r personnel to agressively move their homes, just like car dealerships move cars.

they have financing options lined up, even crazy ones like "pay only interest and lower your payments". they also urge prospective buyers to take on as much mortgage as they can qualify for instead of reminding them they may need to reserve some of their monthly income for repairs or any number of life's unexpected surprises. many buyers that fall for this "special" financing never look into goverment subsidized programs, many which are especially designed for community redevelopment. sometimes this is because buyers are turned off by the requirement to attend educational homebuying seminars, even though the classes explore every source of available funding while explaining the mortgage process.

about the shoddy construction, just consider how these homes are thrown together instead of being property built. instead of employing true craftsmen many of these companies drive over a truck of day laborers which keeps their costs down and profits up. and texas has some kind of crazy law that prevents buyers of new homes from holding the builders responsible when things start breaking down, even if it's just a year later. buyer beware!

debmartin

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"Of course this is just my opinion, but I don't know why people insist on having a brand new home that is crap when they could buy an older home in a stable neighborhood and fix it up."

(quote, rps324)

i can think of two reasons right off.  first, many people have been brainwashed that they need to "escape" the city and move away from crime, the schools and other ills of society.  they do not consider the fact that buying an older home would be investing  themselves into the neighborhood, school and community as well as investing their money into the property.  second, new home developments employ hard-core sales, marketing and p/r personnel to agressively move their homes, just like car dealerships move cars.

they have financing options lined up, even crazy ones like "pay only interest and lower your payments". they also urge prospective buyers to take on as much mortgage as they can qualify for instead of reminding them they may need to reserve some of their monthly income for repairs or any number of life's unexpected surprises.  many buyers that fall for this "special" financing never look into goverment subsidized programs, many which are especially designed for community redevelopment.  sometimes this is because buyers are turned off by the requirement to attend educational homebuying seminars, even though the classes explore every source of available funding while explaining the mortgage process.

about the shoddy construction, just consider how these homes are thrown together instead of being property built.  instead of employing true craftsmen many of these companies drive over a truck of day laborers which keeps their costs down and profits up.  and texas has some kind of crazy law that prevents buyers of new homes from holding the builders responsible when things start breaking down, even if it's just a year later.  buyer beware!

debmartin

I do understand your points, but these are very broad statements. There are many good builders out there and people who love their newly built homes. These people also invest themselves in communities like Pearland, Sugar Land, Conroe, Tomball, etc. They go to church there. They meet their kids' teachers. They vote in Brazoria, Ft. Bend or Montgomery County elections.

Not everyone is a victim. People should be responsible enough to know their own limits when buying a home. If they are foolish, they have themselves to blame, not a builder. Do your research, budgeting and comparison shopping...just as you would with an older home.

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I did fall victim to the sprawl bug. I was living in a "luxury" apartment at Bissonnet and Buffalo Bayou paying $1300 a month and I really wanted to get into a home. I wanted to live in that area but the lot values were going crazy. Nothing under 300k in the west u area. I drove around some and my (ex) wife was keen on suburbs, while I was hesitant, I mean I had 4 years of architecture experience and about 8 years of working construction, I didnt care for what I saw. But she grew up in Sugarland and she felt very comfortable out in Pearland. (I think it was very similar to the sugarland she knew growing up)

The builder was Gehan. They did ok I guess. Although I had to have them move a window from my master closet to the master bath because the messed up the framing. They also made one of the stair banisters longer than the other and never fixed it after I bitched dozens of times. But we did alot better than most of our neighbors that had used Royce as their builders. Everyone got screwed in my neighborhood when december rolled around. Seven out of ten of their workers left for their extended xmas vacations down south. Work on my house about froze from December to about February.

I'm glad to be out of that whole situation and will never replicate. I didnt hate it out there but I could have done so much better to stay in the city.

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I did fall victim to the sprawl bug. I was living in a "luxury" apartment at Bissonnet and Buffalo Bayou paying $1300 a month and I really wanted to get into a home. I wanted to live in that area but the lot values were going crazy. Nothing under 300k in the west u area.

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I also heard good things about Emerald. They just werent building in our area and not in our price range.

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There are many bad ones out there. I consider Gehan to be one of them. I don't know enough about Royce to judge them. Most good new neighborhoods in Pearland carry real prices of $220K+ for 2200 square feet and above. These homes generally are advertised with starting prices of $150s-190s before upgrades and options. When a builder like Lennar, for instance, says "everything's included" at say, $150,000, it should register somethinng with you. Why are they able to sell for $70,000 less? The neighborhood, construction...something's gotta suffer.

Some really good builders I've found, whose customer service goes above and beyond the rest are:

Newmark

Coventry

Ashton Woods

Imperial

Emerald

I've experienced service after the sale for each of these brands. These builders get paid based on customer satisfaction surveys. Beyond that, my experience has been that, with these guys -- and I'm sure there are others -- they take great pride in delivering a great product.

For the record -- I am no longer doing real estate, so I have no interest in these companies or possible conflicts. I should disclose, however, that I am in advertising and have done work on the Emerald Homes account. My opinions of them are based on my real estate experience, however.

I think one could also add Trendmaker, David Weekely and David Powers. What about Perry Homes? Are they good or bad?

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Perry bad!

I was thinking about Weekly and Powers as well. I'd stick them just underneath Emerald.

Hehe, I can't believe I'm rating these guys... someone slap me....

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Perry bad!

I was thinking about Weekly and Powers as well. I'd stick them just underneath Emerald.

Hehe, I can't believe I'm rating these guys... someone slap me....

KB is now actually building homes in the part of florida that i will be moving to. :angry:

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My rankings:

David Powers

Newmark

MHI (includes Coventry&Plantation, as well as the lower end Pioneer)

Weekley (very good customer service, along with quality)

Trendmaker

Some of the lesser known better buildings include J Patrick and Maplewood. Both sell well built homes , with great designs (unless you are on the lower ends of their spectrums) and the prices are not too low, nor are they overly expensive.

Oh, Emerald is great, but the homes built by parent company, DR Horton, are not that great.(those in the low end, that is)

Perry is good, but....a bit..BLAND!

Royce..err....

Gehan is ok.

Kimball Hill: they have a FEW decent homes, but MOST of their offerings are crap box KB style homes.

Beazer: Ok, except for their cheap designs

Lennar/Village: great, but once again, lower priced offerings are typical subpar offerings. Village Builders makes great designs, and they are quite expensive (300,000+ for a one story, 3 BR)

Ashton Woods is good, too.

Hammonds: ok, but watch out for cheap design in some product lines. Same with legacy.

Pulte: essentially, the same as KB. They suck.

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The Dead Zone

Houston buries its Inner Loop past under bright new shiny Perry Homes town houses

BY JOSH HARKINSON

article - http://www.houstonpress.com/issues/current/feature.html

"The problem with the town houses [in Houston] is not that they're all the same; the issue is that they're the same miserable, low-quality design."

"Debbie Rylander recently bought a new $275,000 Perry house in Waterside Estates in Fort Bend County only to learn nine months later that the home's underbelly was sagging. She spent nearly $50,000 documenting the problems, and engineers told her it would cost at least another $50,000 to fix them. Her neighbor's house has similar problems. She says Perry refuses to make the necessary repairs.

"I could not recommend Perry to my worst enemy," she says.

Other problems with Perry houses are more serious. In 1991, David and Jan Salmons bought a Perry house in Clear Lake and moved in with their baby. They quickly discovered profuse roof leaks. Perry Homes eventually rebuilt the chimney and the leaks stopped, but the moisture caused toxic black mold to form inside the house. Jan developed aseptic meningitis, and the couple feared for the health of their family. They couldn't move, because nobody would buy the property.

"It took a long time to get Perry to acknowledge they had a problem and they had screwed the thing up," says attorney Jerry Gunn, who won a settlement for the family in mediation. "And then they just ignored the rest of the problems in terms of the health of the child."

Inspectors say most problems with tract-home construction result from spotty oversight. Boutique home builders, such as Builders West, usually tell superintendents to police contractors at no more than two projects simultaneously. Bob Hooker, a Builders West superintendent, says another local builder gave him ten times that workload. "With the drive time and just walking in and out of 20 doors," he says, "nobody gives you the time" to do the job."

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about the shoddy construction, just consider how these homes are thrown together instead of being property built.  instead of employing true craftsmen many of these companies drive over a truck of day laborers which keeps their costs down and profits up. 

This is a late reply but I want to put in my "two cents worth..."

You hit the nail on the head Deb - but "shoddy construction" isn't limited to these 90K+ homes. I'm sure that high-end builders, like Kickerillo for example, also cut corners. I'm not terribly impressed with his homes as I've seen first-hand one constructed in Lakes of Parkway. 500K+ Villa and they didn't put an electrical outlet in the kitchen for the fridge, among numerous other problems. No telling what trash is in between the walls of this home, too, as the construction site was outrageously dirty and trashy the whole time. Believe me, Mr. Kickerillo uses "day labor" (off Gessner) just as much as KB does... The excess profit funded his new home in Malibu. I'd much rather update an older home that is more likely to have been better built. ;)

nkob44

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So what specifically do 'boutique builders' do that all of the mass-market builders do not?

Better materials, techniques, designs, more oversight to catch screw ups, more anal retentive oversight to catch small screwups, and of course, charge more.

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Better materials, techniques, designs, more oversight to catch screw ups, more anal retentive oversight to catch small screwups, and of course, charge more.

Any suggestions for good home builders for single family homes ranging in the low 100Ks to 200Ks?

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Can I ask why you bumped a four-year-old topic?

Because I was researching good builders in houston. I thought it was good practice to do a search rather than starting a new thread on a topic that might have been previously discussed?

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I'm a little confused by your price range. Low 100s isn't going to find you much, but if you are going into the low 200s then you have quite a bit more flexibility.

One example: I bought a new Ashton Woods home last year in the low 200s, and I'm very happy with it.

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Any suggestions for good home builders for single family homes ranging in the low 100Ks to 200Ks?

I would say Trendmaker is the best of the mass produced homes, but that's not saying much.

And to stay on topic, the thread title is still relevant.

KB Homes still sucks.

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I'm a little confused by your price range. Low 100s isn't going to find you much, but if you are going into the low 200s then you have quite a bit more flexibility.

One example: I bought a new Ashton Woods home last year in the low 200s, and I'm very happy with it.

Hate to say it, but there isn't a lot of difference in the way new homes are constructed regardless of the price range. The same construction crews can work on different priced homes. I've seen 300k+ houses built by big home builders that are sloppy and cheap. If you are going to have one built, be sure to get an independent inspector and visit it yourself frequently while it's under construction.

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I'm a little confused by your price range. Low 100s isn't going to find you much, but if you are going into the low 200s then you have quite a bit more flexibility.

One example: I bought a new Ashton Woods home last year in the low 200s, and I'm very happy with it.

Ideally, I will like to stay around $150K, because with property taxes and insurance, that will probably come to about $1,500 per month. Low 200s is doable, but I'm a huge saver and would prefer not to spend that much on a mortgage.

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Ideally, I will like to stay around $150K, because with property taxes and insurance, that will probably come to about $1,500 per month.

using standard numbers for all the variables (and 3.5% down for an FHA loan), your payment would be more more in the $1200-1300 range.

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Any suggestions for good home builders for single family homes ranging in the low 100Ks to 200Ks?

We've had no problems with Lennar- very attentive to warranty claims (no matter how well your house is built you'll find something that requires a warranty claim that first year). After almost one year in the house I have no problem recommending Lennar to anybody.

Whatever builder you decide to go with, in addition to the pre-move-in inspection(s) don't forget to have another inspection done a couple of weeks before the 1 year portion of the (1-2-10) new home warranty expires.

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It looks like the kbsucks site is mia. For the people looking for 100-200k range new houses. I would look for older houses. Not only is appreciation better but although older the quality of those houses seems higher. I often hear people say they want a post 1990 house because they dont want to deal with repairs. Then they go buy a new house but are constantly dealing with builder problems.

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And the site is blocked from web.archive.org with robots.txt, so we can't see what it used to be like.

Shame on the webmaster for doing that.

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i repared more KB homes than any other after Hurricane IKE, pulte was a distant second

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