Online new home builder reviews can be quite informative. Unfortunately we find that some new home builder reviews lack that ring of truth, while others have too small a sample to count. Should you take all new home builder reviews seriously or with a grain of salt? Each review must be carefully weighed, and other reviews collected. In the end it becomes highly subjective. While we highly recommend that you research all the home builders in your area, there are definitely limits to each source of information. Be sure to do an extensive web search and have physical sources as well. Online research can be useful, but do not rely on internet reviews alone. The best advice is to research on line, and also go out into the community to inquire about home builders in order to gain a balanced perspective.
New Home Builder Reviews: Numerically Rated Reviews filled out by all Buyers at Closing
Some of the most famous review companies have convinced the top ten national home builders to hand out satisfaction questionnaires at closings. J. D. Powers is a leader in home building reviews and uses this method. While it does provide a random sample, there are obvious problems with this technique. For one thing, the builder will see the review, and that same builder will be responsible for upholding their warranty. Second these people have yet to even spend the night in their new homes. How do they know if they are satisfied with the home? Any new home looks good on a casual walk through. Another downside is the fact they only rate the top ten builders in the country. Not everyone wants to use a chain store style builder.
So how do we know these people even bought a house? They could be the contractor’s relatives, or their competitors. Further, most of these surveys lack enough responses to create valid scientific data. It takes a large sample to weed out bias. It seems that in reviewing home builders, either people love their house or they are furious. Invariably out of random samples of voluntary reviews, you find someone who rates every aspect of their home builder as excellent. Another review will give the lowest marks in most but not all categories for the same builder. What can we make of this?
This is useful, but not as useful as it seems. First of all Businesses pay for accreditation by the BBB and judging from some of the builders who are accredited, accreditation alone means little. The number of complaints can be interesting, but some of the lowest J.D. Powers rated builders had no complaints on the BBB website.
I find these forum style rants to be the most informative. At least we see real people, describing their problems. These stories are describing situations that it would be hard to just invent for fun. The emotions certainly sound real, and there are actually sites that are focused on a single builder, as well as sites that feature all builders. It is important to read these sites, even if you don’t know the builders, because they give you an idea of what can go wrong. They also help you recognize red flags when you interview builders. But also keep in mind that these could be “one-offs” or “malicious” in nature. So again, it’s important to do complete research and not rely on what a couple of people say.
These are at best screened, and at worst they are the work of paid content writers. Promotional site reviews are very little better, and it is best to ignore them. They do not qualify as either recommendations or reviews.
In my opinion complaints sites give a more accurate picture than new home builder reviews, and numerically scored questionnaire results. If you are considering a small local builder it is unlikely that you will find a lot of reviews, or complaints on line about them anyway. What you will find is their website, and some pictures and floor plans which will probably provide useful but not critical information. By using online search results, research within the community, and information from the builders, compared with what you have read about other builders, you should get a clear picture of each builder. One of the best information sources is local business professionals in related fields, including Realtors, loan officers, real estate attorneys, and subcontractors. New home builder reviews might be a good place to start your research on builders, but it will be necessary to look a lot deeper.