Houzz Logo Print

Which builder should I choose?

Jay S
4 years ago
last modified: 4 years ago

I'm going through a bit of dilemma to finalize builder for the new house. We started with 5 builders and didn't take much time to come down to two builders we found comfortable and have good recommendations around the town. These are not big developers, but individual builders specialized in custom stick-build. They are both giving the close estimate for the house with all the upgrades we want. We sat with both of them 2-3 times and discussed the building process, timelines, housing specifications, upgrades, etc. in detail. We are willing to pay a few grants more, but needs to get the right choice. Below are the key things.

1. Builder one. Long time in business. He build condos, houses, and other properties around the town for last 50 years. Yes, he is old now but got all subs lined up to do his job. We visited one of the condos he did recently and it looks nice.

  • He is giving somewhat decent allowance for fixtures- plumbing (7,000), lighting (4,500), cabinets and counter tops (22,000) and flooring (24,000). The above amounts are for material only. Installation is included separate in the estimate.
  • Garage will not be drywalled in his default contract.

2. Builder 2. In business for 25 years, build houses, we haven't seen anything. Seems knowledgeable and proactively communicating.

  • His allowances are really really low. Plumbing (4,000), lighting (2000), cabinets and counter tops (14,000) and flooring (15,000). We are planning for hardwood and the house is ~2500 sqft. We mentioned to him that we cant get anything decent on the above allowances. He is saying that he will work with the lumber company as he got long term relationship with them to get good discounts and will get a good job done with good quality cabinets within that amount. But, somehow I am unable to buy it.
  • Garage will be drywalled and painted in his default contract

This is the major difference between them. Other major areas such as roofing, sitework, electrical, plubing, all seems pretty close. Both are providing nice interior trims of same quality, windows and doors from same company, LP smart siding, radiant heating, etc.

Other than allowances seem really low, builder two is fine. I already got a list of plumbing and electrical fixtures we would like to buy and it's coming as 8600 and 4800 respectively. Kitchen and counter top calculation is coming close to 20,000 and flooring is 22000.

For builder no. 1, I have to do 2-3 K out of pocket to get what I would like to buy and for builder 2 it's going to be 10-12 K out of pocket.

Should I take a decision just based on the allowance amount? Could you guys please jump in and let me know your experience with allowances and whether I should make a decision solely based on this?


Comments (34)

    Hoppy Design & Build
    Average rating: 5 out of 5 stars9 Reviews
    Northern VA Award-Winning Deck ,Patio, & Landscape Design Build Firm