How Reputable is the New Home Builder?
People from back east ask me this all the time, but Californians rarely do. And there’s a good reason.
California land has remained in large parcels descended from the old Spanish Ranchos. Back east the land was homesteaded and split amongst the family with each generation. You see our histories are different. The end result is that back east you have many small undeveloped parcels of land, but that is not the norm here.
It takes very deep pockets for someone to develop a large parcel of San Diego land and build houses. Only the best, largest, and most reputable builders can step up to the plate and build here. As a result, we’ve come to expect that our homes are well built. That’s why local home buyers never even ask me who the builder is. It’s just not a big concern to us.
Back east you could have a fly-by-night builder come in and build a few sub-standard houses on a small piece of land, and then disappear. So I understand why someone would be concerned about a situation like that. But here in San Diego our tracts are built by names like Centex, Shea, Kaufman & Broad, Lennar, John Laing, D.R. Horton, Brehm, Continental, Pardee, Barratt, and Ryland.
These companies have built many fine communities here in San Diego, are still building them, and want to continue to do so. The last thing they need is word getting around that they built an inferior product, not to mention a lawsuit. In fact, everyone who I’ve represented in the purchase of a new home had nothing but good things to say about their builder. They were very pleased with how minor problems were corrected immediately, and how they bent over backwards to make sure they were happy with their new home.
Who Represents YOU?
However, there is one beef I have with new home builders, and that is they have a tendency to “gloss over” anything negative about the homes or the location they are selling.
The sales agents in the model home represent the builder and not you, and they will put a positive spin on every negative. Trust me, having a larger backyard does not compensate for being on a busy street. I get to meet with people 5 years later when they want to sell, and I have to tell them they must discount the price in order to sell the home. They tell me the builder told them it was a “premium lot” and they paid extra for it! Yikes!
You should be aware that if you want an agent to represent you in your purchase, that agent needs to accompany you to the sales office the first time you go. It costs you nothing to do this, and gives you another set of eyes to look at what you’re doing. Often a good agent can point out things about the home’s location you might not have considered, especially when you’re looking at nothing but dirt.
So why not have someone in your corner who will tell it like it is? If you’re considering new home construction and you would like me to represent you, then give me a call before you go house shopping, and I’ll go along with you. It costs you nothing and can save you a bundle.
A Word About New Home Prices in San Diego
New home builders frequently advertise their homes in print media and the internet. They use the cheapest, loss leader home in the worst location as the “from” price, and prices go up from there. Sometimes dramatically up. However, they never update the ads or their website, even though the community is still being built 2 years later! So please, be very suspicious of advertised prices for new homes. The best bet is to call the builder and ask what’s currently available.
And by the way, “from the low $500s” means $549,999, not $510K or $520K like you might think. Don’t feel bad, I’ve been fooled by that one myself. And “from the $700s” means one home in the worst location is priced at $699,999.