Home Buying in Jacksonville>Question Details

mv, Home Buyer in Saint Augustine, FL

looking for a new home in Mandarin, Jacksonville, FL.

Asked by mv, Saint Augustine, FL Tue Jun 18, 2013

Are the national track builders like DR Horton, Richmond American better than local builders like Providence, Advantage etc. Looks like every builder cuts costs in something or the other, yet are some preferred over the others. What is the opinion on Providence Homes, 2013? Any information is greatly appreciated.

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Hello MV.

The best way to compare builders is to compare the standard features each builder includes in their homes. Be aware that the standard features each builder offers may vary from one neighborhood to the next. If there are several builders in the same neighborhood you must compare the different builders standard features sheets from the same neighborhood. Some builders will appear to be a better value by reducing the number of standard features in their base plans and then sock it to you at the deign center. KB comes to mind.

I agree with Andrew that whether the builder is local or not does not affect the quality of construction since all of the subcontractors are going to be local anyway. The superintendent is key in ensuring that the subcontractors perform up to standards. You may want to ask how many homes the superintendent is supervising. If he is spread to thin he may not be able to adequately monitor and coordinate the contractors.

"It's in the contract" is the law of the land. Be sure that everything important to you is written into your contract. What the sales rep tells you is meaningless unless it is written in the contract. Very few (if any) site agents have the legal capacity to obligate the builder. The site agent is not the builder and is not the one who signs the contract.

Builders usually pass all closing expenses on to the buyer. They do not divide them up like a buyer and seller normally do in a resale transaction. Many of the builders will offer to cover some or all of the closing expenses if you use their preferred lender. I would recommend using their lender if that is the case. Even if there is a small difference in the rate it would take many years to recover the closing costs in the few dollars less you may pay each month.

I have not had the bad experiences Andrew has had with Providence. They have some beautiful plans and include many standard features some other builders consider upgrades. No builder is perfect. The more involved you are the better the outcome is likely to be. All builders want happy customers and most will work with the buyers to ensure a positive experience.

In summary you want to be as thorough as possible in getting everything clearly spelled out in your contract. no matter what builder you choose. I recommend working with a REALTOR who knows the right questions to ask and how to get you the best possible value from your transaction. If you would like to discuss how I can help please give me a call at (904) 994-0493.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 18, 2013
I have to give credit where credit is due. Lucien's answer says it all!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 19, 2013
Thank you Rosie.
Flag Fri Jul 19, 2013
Thank you so much for your responses, it was very informative. I will get in touch once I am more concrete about my decisions to buy a new home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 20, 2013
Thank you for this very interesting question....not ONLY is there a question of WHICH builder....there is a question of WHICH neighborhood.

We have many FINE builders in the area....ALL of the builders have buyers who believe their builder is the BEST.....and...these SAME builders will have a least one buyer who does not agree with the majority of buyers. Perhaps it like buying a car that turns out to be a "lemon"....or maybe...who knows? REMEMBER...NO home is perfect.....no matter the price....no matter the builder.
Perhaps MORE important is WHERE you will live...WHICH neighborhood is BEST for you and your family? We have worked with just about every builder over the years....and have found that each one really tries to deliver homes that meet or exceed expectations.
Because the builders do not charge the buyers extra...or less....for having or NOT having a real estate agent represent the buyer...you will do well to have an experienced real estate agent assist you with exploring the various communitites AND builders. Having an extra pair of eyes and ears...and the experience ......will serve you considerably! Since it cost you NOTHING...but...will assist you immensely in meeting your GOAL....it makes sense to secure the service of a real estate agent you can TRUST. Your agent will represent you...the builder's agent represents the builder.
YOUR agent will point out the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY ....YOUR agent can suggest changes. additions, many times suggesting ways to save you MONEY....and suggesting simple things that can make your new home better for YOU. Someone who care about YOU is pretty important when taking such an important AND expensive step!
Some neighborhoods...and some builders have various issues of which you need to be aware. YOUR agent can fill you in on any known issues...which may or may not affect your choice...but...of which you should be aware.
Mandarin is a wonderful place to live....My husband and I live here and LOVE it. Hickory, our son, lives at the Beach...and he LOVES it there. Schools are like that too! Parents and students USUALLY really believe their school is the BEST...that is kind of like it is with builders, areas of town, etc.
BOTTOM LINE.....YES....builders have differences...in the way they write contracts, the way they build, the way they price items, in the way they conduct their business. Let an experience real estate agent HELP you....the path to a new home will be less difficult!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 18, 2013
Hi I'm with Watson Realty. Please send me your email address so I can send you send information on these builders. Like the other Realtors who have answered this question we would need to know exactly what you would like in a new home. Mandarin is a wonderful community. Please contact me. Looking forward to hearing from you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 18, 2013
Happy Tuesday, MV!

I am not only in General Real Estate Sales my services are requested to not only assist Builders needing to host their Specs in a community with no Builders Model or represent Models when the Site Manager can not make a shift. Knowing many Builders Portfolios and being a very detailed Realtor that takes your needs as if I were buying and cover all facets to get the most BANG for the BUCK and their with boxing gloves to make sure it's a smooth ride to close & believe me even afterwards! I have references from the Builders/Buyers upon request...They call me "THE DETAILED CLOSER!"

The better news! In my opinion, your serious interest in Mandarin for NEW, is far better timing than early last year with increased rare availability of Land being highly bidded by multiple Builders now being converted into small quaint communities for new owners in Duval County. Double better news, since some of the new communities will be built under 400 homes, they can not inpact a High CDD Fee. There's Savings! The downfall, unless it's not a desire, some will not have the dynamic Clubhouses/Gym/Pool/Ball Courts....But, your closer to so many other options.

So give me JINGLE & we can MINGLE over your options!

Melanie Friesen
904-377-8884 or Text!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 18, 2013
Good Day MV

My name is Doug Casteel. I am an independent broker that works with many builders, as my 26 yrs have concentrated in new home sales. During that time I managed sales for Homes by Rene Dostie and did listing work for Richard and Chris Dostie.
Richard is an outstanding builder so much so that several years ago Toll Brothers a national builder bought his company. His non compete agreement is up and Richard is actively building. His organization is second to none. He has an outstanding in house architect plus a variety of options to customize your dream home.
Should you call the Northeast Florida Builders Association you will be greeted with outstanding recommendations.
You can reach me at 904-463-4264 please give me a call, I can help guide you through what can be a tricky process at times and answer questions you may have. I also have several other builders that you can work with should Richard not have exactly what you want.
I look forward to speaking with you.

Best Regards

Doug Casteel
Broker/ Owner Castle Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 18, 2013
Here is a review I found on Providence Homes from 2011. Its all I could find on the internet. Let me know if you need a broker!!! Personally I don't think there is much of a difference between local or national builders, it just depends on the deal or style you are looking for.

Please stay away from Providence Homes if you want service. Read your contract carefully for little things like paper towel holder etc. Please pay attention to everything on that contract because they seemed to use "It's in your contract" a lot. Have a tape recorder to tape everything when you speak to your sales reps. Please be ready for a lot of hassle for little changes that you would like to make. There is a person in the office with VP of Operations title and he absolutely has to concept of customer service. The upper management did not even respond to our complaint. We have had absolutely horrible experience building house with these guys. Only positive part of the whole experience was our construction super named Rob. I will not recommend this builder to anyone if you want enjoy the experience of new home building. Please stay away from Providence Homes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 18, 2013
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