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Hello all,

We found this webpage while "googling" for some information about houses in Houston. We come from abroad, and we are interested in buying our first home.

We've been looking some houses for the last couple of days and are now very confused. Yesterday we looked at some homes east of 288, just before beltway 8. The houses are built by KB Homes. They are certainly very affordable.

Today we looked at some houses in the inner loop. Some Perry Homes and Lovett homes in zip code 77003.

We have looked in the internet for information about these three builders, finding very mixed reviews. Some people hate them, some people love them. Any comments on the quality of the houses these three companies build? Taking into account that we cannot afford our own architect, is there any builder you would recommend?

Also, do you think that a house in the inner loop (particularly in zip code 77003) would appreciate faster than a house in the suburbs?

Any tips for first time buyers that come from abroad and don't have a clue about how houses are built here?

We would really appreciate any advice.

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Also, do you think that a house in the inner loop (particularly in zip code 77003) would appreciate faster than a house in the suburbs?

Any tips for first time buyers that come from abroad and don't have a clue about how houses are built here?

We would really appreciate any advice.

so why 77003? what makes it attractive for you?

Houses usually do appreciate more inside the loop.

I personally would stay away from anything with fake stucco. Been hearing more horror stories recently about hairline cracks that lead to big mold problems.

As for quality, the newer homes are of less quality. some builders may put in better appliances than others but most are basically cookie cutter builders

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Interesting......What is the rationale beind this 25% theory?

With regard to appreciation and buying a house, inside the loop is probably the way to go.

not really 25%...i just meant that if you are buying a 200k house at least put down an amount that will make a difference....so if you put 10 k down on a 200k house..that wont do much to the cost...so might as well save your money for furniture...

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1. Rent something in the part of town where you think you want to live. That will let you get a good feel for whether or not its really where you want to live.

2. Have an INDEPENDENT inspector inspect the property multiple times as it is being built. Don't rely on the inspectors of the city or builder.

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2. Have an INDEPENDENT inspector inspect the property multiple times as it is being built. Don't rely on the inspectors of the city or builder.

Very true. some good friends of mine bought 2 Perry Homes in midtown and remodelled one of them once they figured out which one was the better location. after the remodel, they put the other one back on the market. however the inspector said that the roof rafters weren't to code so they couldn't sell it. They spent about 5000 to bring it up to code and then threatened legal action against Perry because Perry sold them a defective product. Perry evidently wrote them a check.

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so why 77003? what makes it attractive for you?

Houses usually do appreciate more inside the loop.

I personally would stay away from anything with fake stucco. Been hearing more horror stories recently about hairline cracks that lead to big mold problems.

Why 77003? Well, you are not going to believe this, but I do not know how to drive (never needed to as public transportation was very good where I lived before). I'm a PhD student at U of H, and I need to use public transportation or ride my bike to go to school. The buses that take me to U of H main campus go through 77003, and also there are some bike lanes (sort of) going down Scott Street.

I don't particularly like the townhomes around the area, but it's pretty much what we can afford at the moment and since we have the big limitation of my lack of driving qualifications, our choice is very limited. But any suggestions of nice places to live in the 200-240 K range, within reasonable distance of U of H, will be really appreciated.

Thanks everyone

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Hello all,

We found this webpage while "googling" for some information about houses in Houston. We come from abroad, and we are interested in buying our first home.

We've been looking some houses for the last couple of days and are now very confused. Yesterday we looked at some homes east of 288, just before beltway 8. The houses are built by KB Homes. They are certainly very affordable.

Today we looked at some houses in the inner loop. Some Perry Homes and Lovett homes in zip code 77003.

We have looked in the internet for information about these three builders, finding very mixed reviews. Some people hate them, some people love them. Any comments on the quality of the houses these three companies build? Taking into account that we cannot afford our own architect, is there any builder you would recommend?

Also, do you think that a house in the inner loop (particularly in zip code 77003) would appreciate faster than a house in the suburbs?

Any tips for first time buyers that come from abroad and don't have a clue about how houses are built here?

We would really appreciate any advice.

Whatever builder you are looking at, do a google search such as "kb homes complaints". That one will shed a lot of light on KB.

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Why 77003? Well, you are not going to believe this, but I do not know how to drive (never needed to as public transportation was very good where I lived before). I'm a PhD student at U of H, and I need to use public transportation or ride my bike to go to school. The buses that take me to U of H main campus go through 77003, and also there are some bike lanes (sort of) going down Scott Street.

I don't particularly like the townhomes around the area, but it's pretty much what we can afford at the moment and since we have the big limitation of my lack of driving qualifications, our choice is very limited. But any suggestions of nice places to live in the 200-240 K range, within reasonable distance of U of H, will be really appreciated.

Thanks everyone

I think that you'd be able to pick up a very nice recently-flipped home in Eastwood that is spacious and nice enough to suit your needs, but that also comes in under budget. Most of them seem to have garage apartments in the back yard, so that becomes advantageous if 1) you need a little extra income and need to rent to another student or 2) you need a lot of extra income and need to rent out the house and live in the garage apartment. These things can happen, you know... But then I tend to be very financially conservative.

Strong civic association, although sometimes a bit provincial. Low crime. Big trees.

It is also a very easy bike ride down Lockwood or Cullen to UH. And the big advantage that Eastwood has over University Oaks, Riverside, etc. is that a Kroger, CVS Pharmacy, Boehmeo's (eclectic coffee bar), and Kawanowan (great thai food) are all within walking distance. The Kroger leaves a little to be desired, but it is at least available, and you'd probably be shopping there anyway if you lived in 77003.

How soon do you envision moving to Houston? I've got a 3,150-square-foot house in Eastwood that I'm slowly turning around. It is on one of the largest and most visible corner lots in the neighborhood. When all is said and done, it will have three bedrooms, a sunroom, and two full baths upstairs, as well as a half bath downstairs, and a master suite built into the first-floor addition. It will be the only 4/3.5 in the neighborhood.

So far, I've just been slowly paying-as-I-go without taking out too much debt. Makes sense for me, since I hold down a day job and really only get to put any meaningful effort into it over the weekends. I'm still looking to replace the roof, after which I'll start on plumbing/electrical, and then the interior buildout. If you're at all interested, let me know. I'd be more than willing to do a turn-key operation, where you just let me know what you want and I build it out at a prearranged price. That'd give me a good reason to take out a home improvment loan and wrap up the project.

Alternatively, the lot is large enough on one side that I've been considering the construction of a single townhome where the garage apartment used to be.

PM me if you're interested or want more information.

Edited by TheNiche
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Why 77003? Well, you are not going to believe this, but I do not know how to drive (never needed to as public transportation was very good where I lived before). I'm a PhD student at U of H, and I need to use public transportation or ride my bike to go to school. The buses that take me to U of H main campus go through 77003, and also there are some bike lanes (sort of) going down Scott Street.

I don't particularly like the townhomes around the area, but it's pretty much what we can afford at the moment and since we have the big limitation of my lack of driving qualifications, our choice is very limited. But any suggestions of nice places to live in the 200-240 K range, within reasonable distance of U of H, will be really appreciated.

Thanks everyone

METRO recently changed the bus routes in the UH area and as a result many students are complaining that they feel less safe. i would check out their website again to make sure the buses are still how you want them.

As a student, i don't you have time for a fixer upper. is that correct?

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Look at some of my homes in 77003. You can see them at www.2percent2buyer.com. 1401, 1403 St Emanuel will be complete maybe late March? 2102 Clay is also late march.

I also have 10 town homes at St Charles and Rusk with some under $250K.

Im small builder that puts a bit more quality "under the hood" than some of the others. We do good truss system, 11/8" floor decking, tech shield roof, exterior plywood sheathing and tankless water heater. I also don't build a ton of houses so if/when you need to sell you wont be competing against a bunch of properties that are just like yours.

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Ask them what is behind the tile in the bathroom. I bet there isn't any tar paper. There is no reason for bathrooms to leak except builders only care what things look like on the outside. What you can't see doesn't matter. I have seen 5 year old homes that were done with hardiplank, cept for the trim boards that is. The trim boards are rotting after only 5 years. So when they tell you they use hardiplank, ask them if they use it on the trim also.

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Ask them what is behind the tile in the bathroom. I bet there isn't any tar paper. There is no reason for bathrooms to leak except builders only care what things look like on the outside. What you can't see doesn't matter. I have seen 5 year old homes that were done with hardiplank, cept for the trim boards that is. The trim boards are rotting after only 5 years. So when they tell you they use hardiplank, ask them if they use it on the trim also.

We like to put hardi backer behind the tile and cualk the seams in the backer for extra protection.

That being said, we are never immune to leaks. I'm dealing with a leak right now that is very perplexing.

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The seams should be taped just like drywall, then for extra protection use redguard. First put up tar paper on the studs and overlap the lip on the bathtub. Then leaks will run into the tub and not the wall. There is no reason water should ever get into the wall. I had my bathroom gutted and redone 10 years ago. They didnt use tarpaper either time, now that I know how it should be done it will be done right. Its a shame to have to rip out all the tile again as it looks pefectly fine. Problem is they put grout in the wall corners, another mistake. Only caulk should be used here as there will always be some movement. Greenrock was used on my walls and it wasn't taped. So without my knowing it moisture has been going back there for years. What you wind up with is wood that looks like Carlsbad Caverns. Things didn't look too bad until I stuck a mirror in the wall so I could see more. These types of leaks don't put out enough water to see a leak on the floor, just enough to slowly rot away your studs. A little extra time put into building it right would make it last a lifetime.

Next time you go look at a new home, check the access panel in the house and see if there is any tarpaper. Grill the homebuilder about construction methods in the bathroom. Maybe one day they will decide to do it right.

post-3103-1170158527.jpg

Below is a good image that shows how the tar paper or other vapor barrier should be installed.

Image of vapor barrier

We like to put hardi backer behind the tile and cualk the seams in the backer for extra protection.

That being said, we are never immune to leaks. I'm dealing with a leak right now that is very perplexing.

Edited by mumbles
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Just took a look at some of your fine looking homes JS. Now I am really upset. Hardibacker instructions clearly say to TAPE the seams and use a vapor barrier. Caulk always fails over time. Next building you make do it correctly and take pictures of it to use in your advertising. Be the first builder to do it right. It seems like such a small amount of extra work for a big pay off over time.

We like to put hardi backer behind the tile and cualk the seams in the backer for extra protection.

That being said, we are never immune to leaks. I'm dealing with a leak right now that is very perplexing.

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I'll check and see if my super is putting a vapor barrier back there. I want to say that during our performance homes seminar we started implementing using the extra tyvek we had in the walls of the showered areas?

tyvek isn't moisture proof. not sure if i would use that.

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Tyveks purpose is to help keep water out yet it still breathes so that it doesn't trap. I would think that it is better at doing the job than tar paper which I see deteriorate in old houses over time?

but if there's no moisture getting through then there's nothing to trap. tyvek is not moisture proof just resistant. i myself have used a membrane that was impervious to water similar to those used on roofs. I just wouldn't think tyvek would be used for this purpose.

Edited by musicman
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I don't know but I think Tyvek would do the job. It was used under my hardiplank. I put a piece over a glass and put water on top of it, it didn't leak through. Some housewraps have tiny holes/perforations in them that is supposed to make them breathe better.

I think one of the most important overlooked points is taping the seams in the hardibacker. If those are taped properly it is going to prevent a lot of moisture getting through in the first place.

but if there's no moisture getting through then there's nothing to trap. tyvek is not moisture proof just resistant. i myself have used a membrane that was impervious to water similar to those used on roofs. I just wouldn't think tyvek would be used for this purpose.
Edited by mumbles
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I don't know but I think Tyvek would do the job. It was used under my hardiplank. I put a piece over a glass and put water on top of it, it didn't leak through. Some housewraps have tiny holes/perforations in them that is supposed to make them breathe better.

For hardiplank it is definitely a good application because the hardiplank itself "sheds" the water and rarely if ever gets wet. most grout isn't sealed properly/maintained which leads to leaks you can't see.

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If builders refuse to seal things up properly, perhaps they could at least use treated wood when framing bathrooms. Schluter makes tile profiles that are used in place of caulking to seal up corners. These have to be put in place when the tiling is done.

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Going back to the original question, a great place to search for a builder's overall reputation is the Better Business Bureau. You can see how many complaints have been filed, and most importantly, how many unresolved complaints. I am a big believer that a home is only as good as the superintendent building it. See if you can met him, and always do an independent inspector. Some are now using infrared technology to see moisture levels in critical areas, like dead valleys and areas above rooflines. New construction has more warranties in place (usually a 1 year through builder and a 10 year structural aside from independent manufacturers warranties).

KB is perceived as a starter home. However, they are introducing new plans in Houston and building move-up homes. I have sold homes to folks that previously lived in a KB and had nothing but good things to say about their experience. However, their reputation in the industry is not favorable. Public company.

Perry Homes builds a HUGE range of product from introductory homes to 8000 sq. ft. estates. They are usually more a a square footage builder ilo included features. Privately held.

Lovett Homes, privately held, smaller builder in town. All I have seen from lovett has been well featured. I almost purchased one in the West Gray area and my inspector reported the home was built well. Some items found (like smoke detector not in the highest ceiling part) but nothing alarming. We didnt agree on price so I didnt buy. I felt they were asking too much.

Hope this helps.

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Wow! Thank you all so much! I have received a lot of helpful information.

I went today witha friend to look at homes in zip codes 77004 and 77023. I really liked some of them, and as some of you mentioned, is easy to get to U of H from any of those places.

I also checked the BBB, and they do have some info about the builders. It seems that Perry is not a member of the BBB, but it does have a decent record according to the Bureau.

Someone asked when are we relocating. I've been living here for 4 months and my family is joining me in April. I've been living in Allen House (two buses to UofH, but good location and great price), but I have to move out because they are going to redevelop the area and build something else here.

About a fixer upper...I don't really know. I'll have to ask my family how would they feel about it, and if we'll have the time to put in the extra effort.

Again, thanks everyone

:D

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Very true. some good friends of mine bought 2 Perry Homes in midtown and remodelled one of them once they figured out which one was the better location. after the remodel, they put the other one back on the market. however the inspector said that the roof rafters weren't to code so they couldn't sell it. They spent about 5000 to bring it up to code and then threatened legal action against Perry because Perry sold them a defective product. Perry evidently wrote them a check.

Regarding Inspectors, my partner and I are buying a house in Inwood Forest and went to www.housecheck.com. George did an AWESOME job with the inspection. He was so great to work with and was so thorough--explained everything to me to where I understood what was going on with the house. Just a FYI

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