There are many sites on line that feature home builder review ratings, or give homeowners the opportunity to comment on their home builder. Naturally there are a lot of complaints on these sites, as home owners who are unhappy with their homes seek to warn others. There are many websites devoted to some of the most notorious home builders.
It is important to search for information about all the home builders and contractors you are considering. Search exhaustively for all the information you can find. On line reviews are a great source of information about builders.
When reading reviews it is important to read with a critical eye. Some reviews may be self-promotional advertising, written by paid writers or company employees. Even on forums it’s just part of damage control for employees to interrupt bashing sessions of their company with a glowing review.
Negative reviews are usually heart felt enough that you know without a doubt these people are really angry. Read what they say carefully though. It is possible that the home builder wasn’t the one at fault. Check out these stories as much as possible if the home is in your area. Online information is a good resource but it does not replace the rest of the research process. Talk to people in your area who are in building related fields. Ask Realtors, home loan officers, subcontractors and building inspectors to recommend a few contractors each.
Sometimes even good builders get a few complaints. When reading complaints look for information on how the matter was resolved. If the matter was resolved in a timely and acceptable fashion, then maybe the contractor just made an honest mistake and fixed it. Consider the nature of the complaint as well. It is important to be fair when considering these complaints. There is one huge red flag to avoid. If the owner was forced into some kind of mediation, and had signed an arbitration clause, find another builder and cross that one off the list. Never ever sign an arbitration clause, or use a builder who would ask you to sign one.
J. D. Power is by far the largest rating institution. However they only seem to review forty or fifty of the largest nationwide builders, even though they review by area. They do not bother reviewing the locally based home builders. While it is true that the largest mega builders in the U.S. do account for an unprecedented percentage of homes built in recent years, there are still a good many local builders who do not ever get mentioned by J. D. Power even though they are exceptionally skilled, and deliver an excellent home.
Another interesting fact is that many of these top companies include a J. D. Powers rating form in with the paperwork of closing the home. Rating a home before the clients move in is about like rating your Christmas presents before opening any packages. Also, closing really isn’t a good time to tick off your builder by giving him a bad rating.
There are a few other sites and organizations that rate home builders and contractors, but they vary considerably in participation. The sad fact is that very few people give reviews or ratings on their homes, unless they are really angry or really pleased. Most home buyers never write a review or rate their builders.
Internet reviews are usually based on actual experiences after moving into a house. Online reviews are usually written after problems occur. Forums about home builders are also an excellent source of information. Home builder reviews and ratings and various web search results are an excellent way to start your home builder research, but these are just the beginning. You may, after reading reviews, decide to cross a few builders off your list, but in order to really evaluate builders you will need to speak with people within your community and look at actual homes built by each builder. Home builder review ratings are only the beginning of your search for a great builder.