Constructing your own home is a long-held dream for many Americans. Due to a limited amount of housing stock on the market, growing numbers of people are turning to home building companies to help build their home. In this context, checking home builder reviews can ensure a seamless and prosperous experience during your construction project.
July 2023 Data confirms that privately‐owned housing units with building permits had an annual rate of 1,442,000. This is 0.1% above the June rate of 1,441,000. These statistics verify an uplift in home building projects.
It is more important than ever to ensure the company you choose is reputable and will create the house you’ve always wanted. With this in mind, PissedConsumer.com has a solid base of more than 300 home builders and nearly 8,000 consumer reviews about home building experiences as of August 2023.
- Homeowners are facing increased costs in building materials and construction labor due to rising inflation. Q2 2023 data highlights a 1.56% increase in construction costs over the previous quarter.
- Hidden costs during the home building process can create an increase in the overall expenses for the entire building project.
- Examining home builder reviews, budgeting and having your finances in place before the building project begins ensures you are ready to avoid construction issues.
Thoroughly researching potential home building companies and their customers’ experiences before you commit will help you make an informed decision. As Maureen McDermut, a realtor with Sotheby’s International-Montecito, states:
Be sure to ask if the builder is licensed and insured, and ask for proof of both, as there are many that will attempt to save money by forgoing the usual licensing processes.
- Home building statistics
- Common construction issues
- How to avoid construction issues
- Protect your home building process
Home Building Is on the Rise
Over the last year there have been changes in the home building market that are squeezing home owner budgets. The latest US home building statistics reveal that
privately‐owned housing starts in July 2023 have a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,452,000, 3.9% above the July 2022 rate of 1,371,000.
It’s notable that recent data suggests the US housing market does not have enough homes for everyone. According to the latest figures, the country could potentially be short of 6 million homes. Industry experts suggest that reduced numbers of house building projects in recent years have contributed to this situation.
Property expert and publisher, L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, says that he believes “an extreme shortage of housing is pressing people into the market” and this is driving US home building numbers upwards.
US homeowners and home builders are dealing with elevated mortgage rates through 2023. Figures published in August demonstrate a near 7% rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgages, which is restricting home owners.
Ty Wilde, an experienced Utah realtor, comments on the home building process:
The only option for home buyers is new home construction. This is why homebuilder confidence has been increasing, despite these higher rates.
With rising demand in the housing market for home building companies, it’s a good time to consider the problems that homeowners may have to navigate, such as construction issues or supply chain friction.
This is where home builder reviews on customer feedback websites can support consumers to discover information about relevant companies. An illustration is a recent complaint that explains issues with home building company Lennar:
Workmanship is lacking everywhere and Lennar representatives are quick to point out that it will not be addressed.
What Are the Most Common Construction Issues?
Consumers often face a variety of construction issues when they contract a home building company. Gregg Cantor, President and CEO Murray Lampert Design, Build Remodel, says that one of the most common problem is:
lack of integration with architectural, structural engineering, interior design and building. This causes field changes, delays and misunderstandings that lead to the escalation of costs.
Finding a trustworthy home builder is high up on the list of consumer priorities. It’s a smart idea to carefully research your potential company and take a look at the competition too. As Lee Calisti, a strategic construction advisor at Real Estate Bees, asserts it is appropriate to
ask financial questions to ensure the builder is financially stable and will not run into problems during the build. How many projects do you have running currently? Is that normal? … No one wants their project to finance incomplete projects for their builder.
Being cautious and safely selecting the best possible choice could help you avoid the following common home building issues.
The painful reality with construction issues is that you can’t always predict if or when they will happen. But being aware of the potential pitfalls can help you plan and prepare for future problems and try to swerve them.
Customers can often face a myriad of house building issues, such as:
- Poor roof installation with loose tiles or leaks into the house.
- Burst pipes that may cause flooding or damp and mold growth.
- Issues with walls and floors being uneven or uninsulated.
- Poorly-fitted windows and doors that let in draughts and lack proper sealants.
The fitting of internal tiles can also be an issue with home building companies. In the Pulte Homes review, one customer has reported a problem they had when they purchased a home in 2023.
During their blue tape walkthrough, the customers noticed 12 hollow and uneven floor tiles and highlighted these to the company. These were replaced, but the customers immediately saw that the new tiles "were uneven, the grout didn't match, and the adjoining tiles were loose."
The customer is still waiting for the problem to be resolved. Such Pulte Homes complaints have rated the company 1.6 out of possible stars.
It’s not only construction concerns that consumers are sharing in online reviews, but they are also reporting problems with post-build services. Home builder complaints may stretch past completion of the home into service areas that can cause consumers a real headache.
Challenges with post-sale service
Customers need to be aware that it may be difficult to obtain post-purchase assistance with some companies, even if they have the right to this service. These difficulties can occur with larger companies as well as smaller ones.
Onedescribes how the customer has struggled for over two years to get their countertops replaced and had to live without their master shower for 6 months. This reviewer found that:
Customer care really doesn't care about the customer. They make you feel as if your request is a bother for them.
Lennar reviews gave the company 1.5 stars* out of 5, with reviewers stating that the company’s refusal to accept responsibility was a major issue.
Issues with construction warranty
Warranty issues also cause concern amongst consumers who contract home building companies. Essentially, construction warranty is supposed to ensure that the home builder will correct any defects or failures in building structure.
Some consumers have commented in home builder reviews that warranties are not honored by their contractor. One consumer in their Dr Horton review refers to their newly bought home as “low-quality.”
Their ceiling leaks every time it rains, but the Dr Horton Division Compliance Manager “always tries to find reasons” to deny their warranty and they have lost money as a result. However, it is not even the worst thing. The reviewer has finalized:
I lost money but I am losing my mental health as well. I won't be buying a D.R. Horton home again.
Construction customer service
You might expect with something as important as a home build, customer service would be responsive and helpful. Not all home building companies are supporting their customers effectively or listening to their concerns.
Modal Living has also experienced negative consumer reviews about product quality and construction customer service. An unhappy consumer recalls in their Modal Living review that when they complained about “substandard building materials,” customer service:
Has been appalling, with no regard for the inconvenience and stress that I have been facing.
How to Avoid Construction Issues
The best way to try and ensure a smooth sail through a home construction project is to keep informed and stay alert to anything that seems unusual or unexpected. If you’re not happy with your build, then keeping evidence of what has happened and clearly communicating with your home building company are vital in problem resolution.
Follow these tips to avoid construction issues.
1. Plan ahead
In the home building process, preparation is fundamental. As we've already mentioned, common construction issues, such as poorly built components and construction warranties, may happen frequently. Besides, potential homeowners may not accurately assess their financial capabilities, leading them to costly mistakes.
However, these hazards can be avoided with thoughtful preparation and expert advice. Lee Calisti is confident that:
…before you commit to building a house, you must adequately research and come to terms with where costs are today…In the last several years, we have seen projects that can easily be 30% to 50% over budget, which knocks most people out of their plans. Hoping it will come in on budget doesn't work.
Maureen McDermut also advises planning ahead for potential delays and leaving budget room for any increases in construction materials. She recommends:
Interview several builders, both national and local to get an idea of what is possible. Create a pros and cons list and think through the decision. Overall, if you are on a tight or fixed deadline to move, then building a home might not be the best option for you.
2. Hire a housing inspector
If you want to ensure the structural integrity and safety of your future home, hiring a housing inspector is one of the essential steps. These specialists assist in identifying potential issues in the home building process that you may overlook. They act as a guarantee that your dream home will be built to the highest standard of quality and craftsmanship. L. A. 'Tony' Kovach states:
The investment can be modest, especially compared to the risk of not having an inspection done. Besides, mortgage companies will routinely want an inspection to protect both the buyer and their own interests.
3. Examine construction reviews
Finding a home builder that will deliver your project on time is a challenge. Consulting home builder reviews through online sites can support your search and help you gain clarity over your final choice. If potential companies have plenty of home builder complaints and negative online reviews, then it’s best to avoid them.
4. Talk through concerns
Effective communication is crucial for avoiding home building issues. It affects the project flow and keeps participants informed of updates, new tasks, and timelines. Ty Wilde advises:
Keep an eye on your home throughout the construction process. Send pictures or videos to the builders agent if you have questions about something you see in your home.
And L. A. 'Tony' Kovach adds:
On small purchases and large, just having frank and ‘professional’ communications will routinely solve the problem. Document everything as if you were going to need it in court. Make notes, take photos, shoot videos. Save it all.
5. Contact the home builders’ association
If you need more information before or during the home building process, you can find lots of advice with the NAHB, the National Association of Home Builders. There are checklists to help if you want to start the process of finding a home builder that’s right for you.
If you do have a negative experience with a home builder company, then there are advisory services to help resolve your home builder issues. It’s essential to know how to protect your rights as a home owner and gather support to solve any problems.
Protect Your Home Building Process
Being proactive and safeguarding your home building experience is key to successful completion. Awareness around new home construction defects is vital when going through a build to ensure issues can be resolved in a timely manner.
Keeping an eye on home building costs and paying attention to your all-important home buying checklist will help your project stay on track. If you do have any home construction complaints, then you may leave a review to help other consumers avoid any home building issues.
*The company ratings on the PissedConsumer website are calculated using a mathematical algorithm that evaluates the information in the company’s profile. The algorithm parameters are: users’ rating, the number of resolved issues, the number of company responses and more. The PissedConsumer algorithm is also subject to change in the future.
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