Home Buying in 20148>Question Details

Dairy Dan the…, Home Buyer in Ashburn, VA

Hello Agents out there -- we're moving to VA from NJ -- need advice on relative quality of builders -- Miller & Smith versus Toll Brothers...

Asked by Dairy Dan the Ice Cream Man, Ashburn, VA Thu Jan 3, 2013

we thought we had made a decision and then on advice of SM at one of builders we really checked on M&S -- and are now scared of many complaints about poor quality exterior materials, paint and roofing; lots of leaks and sub-standard workmanship...can you provide any advice & counsel?

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Beth Seifart’s answer
The best advice I can give is exactly what you are doing....Do your research!. Every builder has good qualities and some not so good qualities. Willowsford is one community that has different builders they work with. There is Shenstone which is Toll Brothers and Stone Fox which has Craftmark Homes and the list goes on...

If you can visit the area I would be happy to take you around and you can see the different communities and get a feel for the different builders.

I hope this helps you!

Beth Seifart
Keller Williams Realty - Leesburg, VA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 20, 2013
Such great advice has been given, but I think first and foremost, you have to consider the market we are currently in, "sellers market", and determine that many of these sales people on new home sites are becoming tainted because they don't remember we have just come out of an extremely slow market not too long ago. Don't get me wrong not all new home reps are bad it's just the ones that are leave a bad impression like the last comment below.
Many home builders work with subcontractors and so it is more important who is managing the quality control on the sites and what kind of customer service are you receiving. I would love to share with you many things that have helped me when I am dealing with different builders. Feel free to contact me at; wesellhomes@yahoo.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 15, 2013
Here's my experience with Miller and Smith at Brambleton:

We bought a Miller and Smith TH in Brambleton. First time we went in, we fell for the openness of the layout and the kitchen. We were looking for TH's for over 6 months then and were happy we found one to our liking. BUT little did we know the buying process would be so painful. Everyone is asked to fill out a card with details and it has a field that asks if your have a realtor. Sure enough we did and we put our realtor's name down. No one told us realtor needs to be there in person to introduce us to the sales rep first time. Not knowing that we had made arrangements with the sales rep for meeting to discuss further. And she called me day before to say "no negotiation at M&S. It is a waste of time if you are thinking about it so lets NOT meet tomorrow". And she went on to challenge "Why are you only looking to buy here? All my buyers have not even thought about any others in this area, they just know this property is made for them and if you are not that kind I feel this is not for you". WOW!! That was critically rude!! So no negotiation what so ever, no realtor commission. OUCH!!

At that point it was all bitterness but we had two options. Backup and say goodbye or just ignore the pain and sign the contract for a home we like. Chose the later, it was a good decision, but the bitterness ain't going away soon.

It would be good if management take small steps such as:

1. I would expect you put up a notice in your website that a realtor needs to accompany a prospective buyer. A small note at the entrance of your model home can go unnoticed easily.

2. If not anything, a sales representative should be polite. They are the first person from the M&S that a buyer would meet - talks a lot about the company.

3. Experience of buying should be pleasant. These are homes, buyers are (most probably) going to live in. It CANNOT be a bitter feeling every time they walk in. Home should be sweet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 26, 2013
I had pritty much the same reaction at one location. I went in we were looking for a home, drove by this neighborhood decided to stop this tall bully large lady was very rude ask if i had a realtor? I said yes and she said so you know if the realtor is not here today that he would not get a commission. Wow indeed she continue to argue with me. I left two days later I sign a contract with Richmond American Home.
Flag Wed Jun 5, 2013
I'd be happy to talk to you about Miller & Smith! They are a top notch builder! Contact me at your earliest convenience. Diane King, Keller Williams 703-283-9401
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 23, 2013
We are Mo and Clo, Realtors who specialists in new home construction with decades of experience in quality construction, green technologies and lot selection. We want to be your first stop if you are considering building a new home. We'll assess your needs, determine your budget, find suitable land, develop house plans and introduce you to local builders. Our goal is to take you from confusion to clarity. We'd love to help you out! Check us out at http://www.MoandClo.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 10, 2013
Dear Dan,
Before making a decision between any builder please bring up all these issues with these two builders and request for their waranty coverage.

I have work with Toll Brothers and my buyers ae currently enjoying the dream home without any issues. If you need a reference about toll Brothers I can certainly provide you. Recently I have submitted one contract with Toll Brothers without any issues and my buyer is very happy with the progress of the construction.

I believe M&S is a good builder and will definelty provide a good service. But my advise is to check with buyers who are living in the community and try to get the feedback.

One last thing is don't forget to get the inspection with the outside inspector as they might be able to find some issues those are generally ignored.

If you need any help please feel free to contact me with any Questions.

Good Luck

Ram Dasaradi
Long And Foster Realtors
Work: 703-285-9205,
Cell: 571-265-9432,
Email: ram.dasaradi@lnf.com.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 7, 2013
Hi Dan,

You've got some very good responses below. The most important variable in the equation is the job supervisor. A good supervisor can and will make all the difference in the world in how the home turns out. Regardless of which builder you ultimately select, have a home inspection done. Many buyers think that since it's a new home, they don't need to have a professional home inspection. New homes do have issues just as older homes do. An inspection during the contruction process, and a return visit by the same inspector when the home is complete is highly recommended.

In addition, all the builders will not only correct the items from your walk through inspection, they will typically come back in 60 days and again at the one year point to correct any problems that weren't initially seen. Check out NV homes, they are one of the best ones out there.

Lastly, if you want the help of a ex Jersey boy, feel free to email or call anytime. I've worked with a number of the new home builders in the Ashburn, Brambleton, Broadlands, and South Riding areas.

Good luck to you.
Andy Krumholz
Keller Williams Realty
(703) 599-4755 - cell
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 5, 2013
Hi Dan,

Every builder in the area has it's pros and cons. But some have more cons than others. If I were to list the pros, builders would be thrilled. But if I were to list the cons, they may come at me directly and/or indirectly in various negative ways. So if you would like to get your question answered in detail, give me a call so we can talk offline.

Danilo Bogdanovic
United Real Estate
cell 703.582.6900
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 5, 2013
They are both production builders. Similar price points = similar materials and workmanship. Individuals involved make all the difference in the world. Any contract standards are going to be below your expectations. SO, since you can not contract with the individuals, and you can not change the specs, you must be willing to settle. For the money, production builders offer quite a lot. If quality is what you're looking for - materials, selection, service and workmanship - then building custom is the only way to go.

Having said that, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself even with a production builder. A good agent can walk you through the process and make sure that you have the best possible experience. Generally, we're still stuck with the process and contract, but there is much we can do to improve your experience and the final result.

If you are interested in discussing it further, please feel free to contact me 703-669-3142.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Well, best thing to do is say let's talk. As a displaced Northerner, I can definitely understand that you want to keep it real. Give me a buzz. 703-606-1878 PJ
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Hi Dan,
Firstly, I am so excited for you! Most people relocating to Loudoun County from up north end up being very happy here :) There are many options for great communities and endless amenities. Builder standards in Loudoun County are quite high, and I have had experience working with clients who have been more than satisfied with the local divisions of both Miller Smith and Toll Brothers-especially in luxury communities. I definitely agree with previous agents who have mentioned that price range can serve as a good indicator on the quality of materials being used in construction. The best of luck with your move!!

Vicki M. Benson
Summit Realtors, Inc.
Tel: (703) 447-7680
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Hi Dan,

Most builders in the Ashburn area are good builders and comparable in most aspects of the construction process. The bigger questions you might want to discuss with someone are the actual neighborhoods, the lot availability, neighborhood amenities, and then certainly price for what they include before options are added to the final sales price. The actual construction is very comparable, with a few exceptions. Ryan Homes, Centex, KHOV are a few of those exceptions that, IMO, don't compare well to the likes of Winchester, Miller and Smith, and Pulte. But again, you're likely to get different feedback based on other"s experiences as well.

If I can shed any additional light on any of the above, or on your concerns, questions as you plan your relocation here to Ashburn, please give me a call.

All my best,

Matt Elliott
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Hi Dairy Dan,

I suspect that if you look up any builder, you will find many complaints. I recommend that you instead get building specs from the builders you are interested in and compare objectively. For example, when I had a client looking at new construction townhomes, we would ask each of the builders about the noise transmission rating. So... learn the appropriate builder terms to assess quality of construction, and then ask each of the builders. Also, make sure to get a home inspector that is experienced in pre-drywall inspections. Finally, I would like to add that quality of construction does seem to vary based on the type of community (luxury communities by the same builder have higher standards), and by the speed of construction - if they are on a tight schedule makes a difference as compared to if it's the last street in the community being built, for example.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Hello Dan,

I personally live in a Toll Brothers community located in Ashburn, VA since October of 2011. We are lucky to have a good experience with high quality materials and solid insulation with no major problems with our new home. In addition Toll Brothers is a great community offering free events, free concerts, DJ at the pool with pizza, and free work out classes. I don't want to sound bias however I do enjoy the community. If you need more information on other builders I am happy to help.

Dee Martinez
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
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