Best Home Builders and Developers
Home Improvement Contributing Editor
Updated on 02/28/2018
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.
Compare Reviews for Top Home Builders and Developers
Read 756 Reviews
Clayton builds homes in all sizes, ranging from tiny homes to homes over 2,000 square feet. Home prices range from under $30,000 to over $200,000. Their ENERGY STAR certified modular homes help homeowners keep costs down.
Read 533 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 825 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.
|DR Horton Homes|
Read 632 Reviews
DR Horton Homes was founded by Donald R. Horton in 1979. The company started building homes in the Dallas area, and today, it provides services in Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Minnesota and North Carolina.
Read 117 Reviews
Offering Life Tested (TM) homes in more than 25 states, Pulte Homes combines innovative design with functionality. The company was founded in 1950, and it is headquartered in the Buckhead section of Atlanta, Georgia.
Read 154 Reviews
Lennar Homes has been one of the most popular home building companies in the United States since its establishment in 1954. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, the company builds a variety of home types in cities across the country.
Read 161 Reviews
Ryan Homes is a home building company that was founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1948. The company specializes in building suburban, active-adult, and resort communities in several Eastern and Midwestern states.
Read 233 Reviews
Meritage Homes builds in nine states, offering energy-efficient living spaces across the country. Building 100 percent Energy Star certified homes, the firm's designs can save home owners up to 50 percent on annual utility costs.
|K Hovnanian Builders|
Read 149 Reviews
Established in 1959, K Hovnanian Builders is a company that offers home building services across the United States. The company was founded by Kevork S. Hovnanian, and it offers homes in a wide range of styles.
Read 110 Reviews
Toll Brothers has been at the forefront of luxury home and community design since 1967. The firm's multiple Builder of the Year awards show that its reputation for excellence is well-deserved, giving buyers peace of mind.
What to consider when you hire a builder
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.
Types of home builders and developers
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 uses home builders and developers?
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.
Expert reviews for home builders and developers
KB Home offers customized homes and specializes in allowing buyers to control most aspects of the design process.
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.
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 specializes in affordable, quality-built modular and manufactured homes. It offers floor plans for a wide variety of home sizes and styles, from tiny homes to 4 bedroom houses. Their homes are all designed and manufactured in the United States.
Woodside Homes has been providing custom-built homes since 1977. It offers services to homebuyers in the Western United States.
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.
Compare Reviews for Top Home Builders and Developers
Read 57 Reviews
With homes and communities in 16 locations nationwide, M/I Homes offers more than 30 years of experience and has worked with nearly 90,000 homeowners. The firm prioritizes customer service as a corporate philosophy.
Read 147 Reviews
Richmond American Homes has been a new home builder for almost 40 years. The firm works in a few selected states across the country and specializes in building new single-family homes, even for people working on a short timeline.
|Palm Harbor Homes|
Read 86 Reviews
Palm Harbor Homes builds on homeowner lots using manufactured, modular or mobile homes. The firm has locations nationwide with display options set up, so home buyers can walk through potential layouts before buying.
Read 155 Reviews
Maronda Homes opened in 1972 as a family-owned business and has built thousands of new homes in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The firm focuses on building quality, cost-effective homes to save clients money.
Read 199 Reviews
Beazer Homes is one of the biggest home building companies in the United States. Beazer operates in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
|Dan Ryan Builders|
Read 16 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 30 Reviews
Paramount Builders offers energy-efficient updates such as replacement windows, vinyl siding, roofing and doors. With 23 years of experience, the firm is an industry leader in exterior remodeling, giving every home curb appeal.
Read 47 Reviews
Serving the entire southeastern United States, Adams Homes has been streamlining the home buying process since 1991. As one of the largest private home builders in the country, the firm gives its customers added buying power.
Read 146 Reviews
Fleetwood Homes has been building single-family houses since 1950 and has worked with almost 1.5 million customers. The firm designs floor plans and sources the best affordable materials possible for its unique designs.
Read 162 Reviews
Centex Homes is a home building company headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Centex is a subsidiary of the larger home building company Pulte Group, Inc., and specializes in building single-family homes and townhomes.
|Southern Energy Homes|
Read 35 Reviews
Southern Energy Homes is a maker of single and multisection manufactured homes. The company was founded in Addison, Alabama, in 1982, and has since built more than 100,000 manufactured homes in southern states.
Read 47 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 29 Reviews
Skyline Corporation specializes in building manufactured and modular homes in many styles. Their modular homes range in size from around 600 square feet to over 2,000 square feet. All their homes come with a 15-month warranty.
Read 65 Reviews
Woodside Homes builds homes in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Utah and has worked with more than 40,000 satisfied customers. The firm has been in the home design and construction business for almost 40 years.
Read 13 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.
|Lindal Cedar Homes|
Read 24 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 7 Reviews
Miracle Homes has been designing homes since 1990 and is based in Wisconsin. The firm focuses on building homes with innovative and unique designs that maximize space, creating homes that are beautiful as well as functional.
|Highland Homes||Read Reviews|
Highland Homes serves locations throughout Florida with addresses ready for move-in and customized construction. Every home is warrantied to give buyers confidence, and the firm's list of preferred lenders streamlines purchasing.
Read 5 Reviews
With more than 20,000 design and home options to choose from, Blu Homes offers almost endless customization options to new home buyers. Starting home prices range from $195,000 to $545,000. Garage prices start at $65,000.
|Perry Homes||Read Reviews|
Offering more than 100 customizable designs, Perry Homes is a top choice for those looking to build in the Houston or San Antonio area. Through live and Internet consultations, home buyers shop with convenience and confidence.
Read 10 Reviews
Offering luxury townhomes in Greensboro, Burlington and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Keystone Homes has several affordable planned communities. Many of the homes are move-in ready while others are still in the building phase.
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 16 Reviews
Pardee Homes is a full-service real estate company. It offers help finding listed properties, lining up financing, and designing one-of-a-king homes that are built to customer specifications in California and Nevada.
|Icon Legacy Custom Modular Homes|
Read 6 Reviews
Icon Legacy designs 1-5 bedroom modular homes that can be customized with features to suit your lifestyle. Choose from six styles like ranch, chalet, cape cod, raised ranch and two-story.