Compare Reviews for Home Builders
Finding a home that meets all your needs can be nearly impossible, prompting many home owners to build their own homes. Building a home is a lengthy, complicated and expensive process that requires a homebuilder service. Good homebuilders will:
- Be an established professional in your area
- Have a good working relationship with local inspectors, subcontractors and building material suppliers.
- Have a history of reliable, clear goals and deadlines
- Be likable and trustworthy, keeping in clear communication with the homeowner.
Top 10 Best Rated Home Builders and Developers
|Read 143 Reviews|
Headquartered in The Woodlands, Texas, LGI Homes has been building housing developments in the Southwestern United States since 2002. They expanded their business in 2013 and began building in the Southeastern United States.
|Read 676 Reviews|
KB Home was founded in 1957 and has helped more than 550,000 families and individuals build their dream homes. The firm is a recognized leader in energy- and water-efficient building and has been honored by Energy Star.
|Read 180 Reviews|
A specialist in manufactured and modular homes, Clayton Homes was founded in 1956. Today, Clayton builds homes across the United States, and the company has relationships with more than 1,000 authorized dealers.
|Read 5 Reviews|
With more than 2,300 designs to choose from, Blu Homes offers almost endless customization options to new home buyers. Combined with a 40-week time frame to move in, the company offers home buyers a smooth purchase process.
|Read 10 Reviews|
Operating in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, Dan Ryan Builders offers more than 25 years of experience. The company also holds a spot on the Builder Top 100 list.
|Read 23 Reviews|
Lindal Cedar Homes has a 60-year history of designing and building cedar homes that are completely natural. The company works closely with prospective clients to build homes that clearly reflect their passions and priorities.
|Read 6 Reviews|
Icon Legacy Custom Modular Homes is a modular home builder from Pennsylvania that has been in business since 2007. The firm does home design and building in locations throughout New England and the Eastern United States.
|Read 22 Reviews|
Gemcraft Homes offers discounted pricing on property developments in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. With pricing that ranges from average to luxury, the company's options include quick move-ins.
|Read 43 Reviews|
Brookfield Residential is a leading land developer and home builder in North America. Established in 2011, the company develops properties in Canada, Denver, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Austin, and Northern and Southern California.
|Read 11 Reviews|
Topsider Homes has been building homes and additions since 1968 and has worked on more than 10,000 homes. The company is based in Clemmons, North Carolina, and builds hurricane-resistant houses up and down the Atlantic coastline.
Home Improvement Contributing Editor
Joseph Truini is a home improvement expert who writes extensively about do-it-yourself home remodeling and repair, woodworking projects and tools and techniques. His work has appeared in several national magazines, including This Old House, Popular Mechanics, Country Living, Woman’s Day, and Today’s Homeowner.
What features matter most?
Many homebuilders offer a wide variety of energy-saving features that can save you money each month on your utility bills, while protecting the environment.
- Energy-efficient windows: Homes can be built with enhanced insulated-glass windows that do a better job of keeping homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer while still admitting plenty of natural sunlight.
- Solar paneling: Some homebuilders can install solar panels for a more energy-efficient way to produce hot water and electricity.
- Natural gas vs electric: Homes can be built that run on natural gas or propane rather than depending on electricity to power appliances, water heaters or heating systems.
Some homebuilders allow you to customize your home in many different ways, including number of rooms, floor layout, paint colors, countertop and flooring options, siding type and color, style of cabinetry, and choice of plumbing fixtures, to name a few.
- Work from consumers' plans: You can bring your own home-building plans to the builder rather than choosing from a book of existing plans.
- Room specifications: Homeowners can specify the number of rooms they want, the size of the rooms, and special features of each room, such as crown molding, wainscoting, ceiling fans, and window size and placement.
- Number of floors: Consumers can specify how large the house is to be, including how many floors and what rooms to include on each floor. They may also be able to specify whether they want a basement or attic.
Most homebuilders offer warranties on the homes they build at little or no cost to you.
- Repair warranties: These warranties allow homebuyers to get free repairs on structural damage, whether that damage is minor or major.
- Replacement warranties: If something related to the building of the home causes the home to become unsuitable for living and cannot be repaired easily, the homebuilder may build a replacement home at no additional cost.
- System repairs: There may be warranties on the installation of electrical wiring, plumbing pipes, furnace, gas lines and other mechanical systems.
Inspected and approved
Prior to move in, the home must pass inspection to certify that it is built safely and meets local or state standards.
- Inspections throughout the process: Some homebuilders allow consumers to visit the site as the home is being built to view progress and inspect already-completed parts of the home. Be sure to schedule any visits ahead of time with the builder; active jobsites can be dangerous places.
- State inspections: The homebuilder may provide the services of a certified inspector, licensed by the state, to look at the home and determine its safety. The town’s building department will schedule routine inspections throughout the construction process to ensure the home is being built to code.
- Pre-move in repairs: The consumer can request repairs after inspection and before move-in to make the home safer.
Options for upgrades
Homebuilders may offer standard features with the ability to pay extra to upgrade the home.
- Energy efficiency: Solar panels, triple-pane windows, or other energy-saving upgrades may cost extra and can be installed at the homeowner's request.
- Adding outlets to more rooms: The homebuilder can upgrade the electrical system by adding extra outlets in bathrooms, bedrooms, home offices and other areas where you need more electricity.
- Extra garages and rooms: Prior to the start of construction, most builders are amenable to altering the existing blueprint if you’d like to add another room, enlarge an existing room, or build a garage. Be sure to get all changes in writing with detailed information about cost, size and materials.
Most homebuilders offer model homes for potential buyers to tour prior to signing a contract to build their home. Model homes give buyers a chance to see the quality, style and fixtures they can expect in their own home.
- Different sizes and features: Many builders offer model homes of different sizes and architectural styles with upgraded features so potential homebuyers can get an idea of the builder's work. However, be aware that model homes are often loaded with fixtures and finishes that aren’t included in the base price. For example, the model might have granite counters, tiled foyer, whirlpool tub and backyard deck, which might all cost extra. When touring a model home, be sure to ask which features are upgrades and which ones are included in the base price.
- Duplicate orders: If consumers see a model home they really like, they can order an exact replica to be built on their lot.
- Get an idea of lot size: The lot size is as important to some consumers as the house size; touring model homes can help users decide how big a yard they want to have as well as how big a home they want to have. However, be sure to ask if the model-home lot is the same size as your home’s lot.
What are different types of home builders?
Certified green builders
Certified green builders are trained to build homes in a way that saves energy and protects the environment. These builders often use sustainable materials and install energy-efficient windows, solar panels and heating and cooling systems.
Urban designers focus on creating homes for people who live in cities and other thickly settled neighborhoods with small building lots. The homes are designed to accommodate a large number of people and to reduce traffic around the building site.
Remodelers upgrade existing homes to meet homeowners' specifications, whether that means adding extra rooms, renovating existing rooms or making the home more energy efficient.
Many homebuilders are local business people who contribute to property values, as well as to their community by providing well-paying jobs and buying from local suppliers. Most builders also give back through local charities.
Who's it for?
People on a budget
People on a budget often find it cheaper to build their own home than to try to buy a pre-existing home, especially if they already own a piece of land.
People with special needs
People with health, learning or behavioral disabilities may have to custom-build a home to accommodate their special needs.
Those who are part of the green movement often find it easier to build a new energy-efficient home rather than trying to upgrade an existing home.
Highly independent people
Those who have the desire, finances and ability may choose to custom-build the exact size and style of home they want, instead of hunting for an existing home that is perfect for them.
What does the expert have to say?
KB Home offers customized homes and specializes in allowing buyers to control most aspects of the design process.
- Built-to-order services: Users can specify exactly what they want their home to look like during the ordering process, right down to the cabinet door knobs.
- Available in many areas: Currently, KB Home builds homes in the District of Columbia and seven states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Texas.
- Personal design consultation demystifies the custom-build process: Consumers discuss their preferences and get pricing information to build a designer home that meets their budgetary requirements.
- Models can be seen on a walk-in basis: Prospective buyers can drop into the KB Design Studio nearest them to view options whenever it's convenient; an appointment is only needed when they are ready to buy.
- Home customization can be rolled into mortgages: Most of the building costs are covered by the buyer’s mortgage after purchase.
- Best for: KB Homes is best for people who are on a budget, but still want to customize their home; people with special needs and requirements, highly independent people and environmentalists.
LGI Homes has been building new home communities since 2002. Their goal is to provide the Southwestern and Southeastern United States with homes of great value and great prices. It also employs a team of home buying professionals to help new homebuyers through the process of buying a house. Customers can choose from multiple, modern floor plans and customization options.
- Home finder: LGI’s home finder feature lets visitors select a state, city and LGI development within each city to view available homes and floorplans. Each available home has an estimated monthly cost and visitors can call for a quote on new floorplans.
- LGI warranty: LGI offers a 10-year, structural warranty and a one-year warranty on most other components on their homes. Homeowners can submit a warranty service request online by logging into their site and filling out a request form.
- Active adult: LGI’s Active Adult communities are built around and within close proximity to a city's main features. Active Adult communities are nearby entertainment and sporting venues, airports, colleges and universities as well as golf courses, hiking and biking trails and tennis courts.
- Energy efficiency: LGI focuses on energy efficient homes, especially homes located in the hottest part of the United States. By using reliable products from insulation to heating and cooling systems, and energy efficient appliances, LGI Homes can reduce energy bills by up to 30 percent.
- Realtors: LGI Homes has built relationships with real estate professionals that know their floorplans and communities well, and can connect customers to one of their realtors based on the region they are interested in. Realtors can also keep interested buyers updated on promotions and special offers through email updates.
- Best for: interested homebuyers in the Southeastern and Southwestern United States.
D.R. Horton Homes is a family-owned construction business that started building homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area more than 35 years ago. It’s now the largest homebuilder in the United States.
George Beazer, the founder of Beazer Homes, began building homes in England during the late-1690s. The company continued to grow over the centuries and in 1986, it moved to the U.S. to begin building custom homes. The company builds in 13 states: Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Meritage has built over 90,000 homes since its inception in 1985. All of its homes are Energy Star compliant. Meritage currently builds in nine states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. The company has been named Texas Builder of the Year five times.
Fleetwood Homes has been building custom homes since 1950. It's one of the largest manufactured homebuilders in the United States.
Richmond American grew out of a local Denver operation and became a homebuilder that has built over 175,000 structures in nine states.
Clayton Homes was founded in 1956 and specializes in affordable, quality-built modular and manufactured homes. It offers floor plans for a wide variety of home sizes and styles.
Woodside Homes has been providing custom-built homes since 1977. It offers services to homebuyers in the Western United States.
Blu Homes focuses on using technology to build high-end, contemporary-style modular homes. It's a fairly new company, having launched in 2008, and is headquartered in Northern California.
In business since 1967, Perry Homes is one of the largest homebuilders in Texas. It offers customized, affordable homes in the Austin, Houston and San Antonio areas.
Dan Ryan Builders is a privately owned, locally focused homebuilder that operates on the East Coast of the United States. It has been building homes for 25 years. Dan Ryan builds homes in six states: Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
Highland Homes has been building custom homes in communities throughout Southwest, Central and North Central Florida for more than two decades. The family-owned company has dozens of home plans from which homeowners can choose, along with additional options to customize their homes.
Information in this guide is general in nature and is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal, health, investment or tax advice. ConsumerAffairs.com makes no representation as to the accuracy of the information provided and assumes no liability for any damages or loss arising from its use.