Homebuilders.......My favorite question. Don't let the pretty colors, yards and counter tops in the models fool you. You need to know what is between the walls. Be weary of them all! The home builders in this thread are all average at best and if you do your homework, you'll be much better off. They build in mass and have suspect quality and workmanship. Let me get to some of my gripes.
1. They will charge you a change-fee for any small modification even if it does not affect the timetable or increase the cost.
2. Most of them will not allow you to work with the super. They want you away from him and you will have to work with the salesperson only. Most of these don't know jack.....t about construction methods.
3. They do not take soil samples. Most use post tension slabs. This is the cheapest foundation method and should not be used in the gumbo Texas soils we have around here. Slab problems will occur eventually. You need a pier and beam foundation
4. Perry uses Goodman A/C's made locally here. These are low quality. Most of the time the A/C's are undersized and you will be unhappy with your elec. bills and the comfort of your house. You want a zoned system. Why cool the whole house at night when everyone is asleep in their bedroom? A properly zoned house will save you $$$$$$$
5. They all wire the house with 14 guage wire and 10 amp breakers. You should have 12 gauge wire and 20 amp breakers at least in the garage so you can run compressors and most tools.
6. Most use aluminum frame windows and these are heat conductors. Upgrade to vinyl frame. Most of these clowns were still using single frame windows up until two years ago when the state started to require double-pane.
7. Ask what brand of paint do they use. If they say Monarch, run away. You will be re-painting in a few years (personnel experience) Use Benjamin Moore, Pittsburg (owns Monarch) or Pratt & Lambert
8. Insist on a radiant barrier roof deck. Polar-Ply or Tech Shield. If your builder does not offer it, run away fast. This will keep your attic 20 degrees cooler and keep a heat load off your A/C. It will pay for itself in a few years.
9. Do not let then use foam boards on the sheathing package. Use plywood on the corners, no OSB and black saturated asphalt board in the middle and wrap the house in Tyvek. Foam boards hold mositure and will grow mold!!!! It happened to my parents house.
10. Hire a good inspector to come out and check on things as your house progresses. Most inspectors have a set fee for this and will come out after the pour, frame, plumb, elec, roof, etc. Don't just trust what the builder says. The inspectors work and are paid by YOU!!!!!. They will probably raise some issues with the builder but are much more experienced than the supers. Most supers are kids just out of college in the last few years and are not that experienced.
Just be careful and be aware of what is going into your walls. Most of these builders only build out in the county because their methods would not pass inspection by the cities.
I could go on and on about builders, but I hope you got my point