Each of these builders is capable of building a very good home, but that doesn't mean that every house built will be of the quality you may want. Much comes down to the crew & supervisor reviewing their work. I did a pre-dry wall home inspection with one of my clients last night for a home built by another builder with a good reputation. The home inspector still found issues, as you will in almost any home. But what often times separates one builder from another is how they handle the issues that arise. They will all do post purchase walk throughs with and fix items that pop up after your purchase (typically at the 90 day and 1 yr date post purchase). I would recommend that you ask a couple of homeowners what their experience has been with your builder finalists, and ask about their customer experience.
Regardless of which builder you select, I recommend that you use a buyer agent in your purchase (it doesn't cost you a penny) and spend the money on a home inspection. Do both a pre-dry wall inspection, and then a final inspection with a licensed home inspector. They'll see things that you'll miss, I guarantee it.
If I can answer any other questions for you, please feel free to contact me.
Good luck with your purchase,
Andy Krumholz, ABR, GRI, CDPE
Keller WIlliams Realty
(703) 599- 4755
First, I think that, by far, the best quality production home builder in the whole region is Stanley Martin. Note that they also have a fine custom home division, so they do teardowns in closer-in areas where Toll Brothers, Pulte, and Winchester do not operate.
Second, the exception to this rule depends to a great extent on the site supervisor hired by the particular builder. This, in particular, and subcontractor relations in general, is where Stanley Martin excels. I have seen all three of these builders make screw-ups in whole subdivisions. Toll Brothers and Stanley Martin tend to use higher quality materials than the others, and Toll Brothers has responded better to complaints. That being said, I would still prefer a Stanley Martin home over the others.
If you like, I can put you in touch with Stanley Martin and show you some of their homes. Just call me at 703-967-7162 or E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I bought a new Toll Bros home in 1997. Quality was very poor. This "luxury home" had a post in the middle of a two car garage and used paperboard sheathing in place of plywood or wafer board. I moved out after 12 years, hopefully just in time to avoid major maintenance issues.
Just my two bits
Also for you to remember it costs you nothing to use a quality Realtor to purchase your new home however, it can cost you plenty not to. I have sold product built by each of these builders during my 20+ year tenure and can tell you each of them has some positives as well as some negatives. If I can help you please let me know.
Erik J. Weisskopf, ABR,CDPE,CRS,GRI
I will reinforce the importance of having a buyers agent.
As a matter of preference, I used like Pulte over Toll I have a client now that worked for Pulte for 10 years as construction manager and super.... I know how they work and what drives them which is customer service, which is why they have been ranked so highly with JD Power and Assoc for so many years. (An award that must be earned, and can not be bought) They've merged with Centex and some things have changed and some employees have divided loyalties and I am not sure how that is playing itself out, it was rocky for a while and affecting customers.
My husband worked for Toll for 8 years and I have dealt with them on land purchases and my dad has built for them. My dad is a high end carpenter and they don't hire him to build the houses, only the models and visitor centers, etc. South Riding is well known... dad did all the common buildings there and won lots of awards for them because Toll likes to give themselves awards or have their friends give them awards...and their contractors benefit too! So, I know what drives Toll, too - arrogance and crazy people at the top. I have seen major, major mistakes. Even so, I do think they build a quality home and I own a lot of stock in that company so if you buy from that that is good for me!
Winchester I know from reputation and clients that have purchased homes from them... and they have a strong reputation, but I couldn't give you as much first hand or inside info about them.
I work the Dulles area regularly and if I can help you, please don't hestitate to get into contact with me... 703.669.3142 or email@example.com - Keller Williams has been ranked #1 by JD Power and Associates 2 years in a row for buyer agency! That's me! Hope to hear from you soon. :D