What happened to the homebuilding industry?

Dan

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#21
I didn't watch all the videos. Were any well-known national builders involved?

There's a strong "local first" and "out-of-town developers are evil" sentiment around my neck of the woods. I'm wondering if local mom-and-pop builders really do put out a better product than Pulte, D.R. Horton, Toll Brothers, etc.
 

ColoGI

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#22
... I'm wondering if local mom-and-pop builders really do put out a better product than Pulte, D.R. Horton, Toll Brothers, etc.
Way back when as a young lad, I was a landscaper for residential subdivisions, and a few years after that sold floor covering in new construction, mostly spec and custom homes. Those experiences taught me that if you want a well-constructed home, you must avoid production subdivisions.

.02
 

The One

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#23
Hmmm

Way back when as a young lad, I was a landscaper for residential subdivisions, and a few years after that sold floor covering in new construction, mostly spec and custom homes. Those experiences taught me that if you want a well-constructed home, you must avoid production subdivisions.

.02
If the building department isn't on the take and totally corrupt, production homes are built (core structures) to the same code as mom and pop places. I visited the first home I ever owned in Thornton, Colorado a couple years ago (DR Horton built starter homes) and the neighborhood looked very nice. Largely due to the extensive landscaping and added trees that are now near maturity. The building layouts and alternating models looked good. What didn't look good was the paint and siding conditions, roof and fence conditions (cedar wood). In reality, every single home needed a new paint job before the end of five years and my visit was ten years after that.
 
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#24
I didn't watch all the videos. Were any well-known national builders involved?
Taylor Morrison.

If the building department isn't on the take and totally corrupt, production homes are built (core structures) to the same code as mom and pop places. I visited the first home I ever owned in Thornton, Colorado a couple years ago (DR Horton built starter homes) and the neighborhood looked very nice. Largely due to the extensive landscaping and added trees that are now near maturity. The building layouts and alternating models looked good. What didn't look good was the paint and siding conditions, roof and fence conditions (cedar wood). In reality, every single home needed a new paint job before the end of five years and my visit was ten years after that.
Building officials don't even need to be corrupt. You'll get the same result if they aren't doing their jobs.

I don't even know where to start with this situation in Florida where the builders can inspect their own homes. That's just bananaland to me.
 

ColoGI

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#25
If the building department isn't on the take and totally corrupt, production homes are built (core structures) to the same code as mom and pop places. I visited the first home I ever owned in Thornton, Colorado a couple years ago (DR Horton built starter homes) and the neighborhood looked very nice. Largely due to the extensive landscaping and added trees that are now near maturity. The building layouts and alternating models looked good. ...
Let's just say there are several towns around here (not sure about Thornton any more) that are...what is the term..."business friendly". I get a significant percentage of my GI work telling folks how to fix things that weren't inspected and were just slapped in the ground. Pretty standard IME in three states.
 

Suburb Repairman

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#26
I didn't watch all the videos. Were any well-known national builders involved?

There's a strong "local first" and "out-of-town developers are evil" sentiment around my neck of the woods. I'm wondering if local mom-and-pop builders really do put out a better product than Pulte, D.R. Horton, Toll Brothers, etc.
I'm not a big fan of production builders, but at least the ones around here do a fairly good quality finish out. They all meet the same building codes, so in my experience the differentiating factor tends to be the final fit & finish. On that, the mom & pop almost always does better.

That being said, in my experience it is the local mom & pop custom builder that tries to circumvent processes and building codes most often, often attempting to use political connections to do so. Production builders around here are focused on efficiency and getting into pissing matches with the City hurts their efficiency. We have the occasional production general contractor that we have to wack with a tack hammer, but otherwise it is fairly smooth sailing.

Not all production builders are created equal. We have a lot of regional mid-size production builders. Those tend to have the best of both worlds.
 

dvdneal

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#27
I think part of it goes to the buyer. You have to inspect your own house during construction and demand quality. Mine was a Pulte house in Phoenix. I checked on it daily and ended up telling the foreman to replace studs that were wracked or overhanging the bottom plate, fix electrical and plumbing holes (they drilled to close to the side), etc. It didn't take long for him to start doing this right (not that it was horrible). By the time we got the the finish inspection there wasn't much for them to fix and he had tagged most of the problems for me before I pointed them out. I think it also helped that I would bring a case of beer once a week for whoever was on site.
 

The One

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#28
Yes

I'm not a big fan of production builders, but at least the ones around here do a fairly good quality finish out. They all meet the same building codes, so in my experience the differentiating factor tends to be the final fit & finish. On that, the mom & pop almost always does better.

That being said, in my experience it is the local mom & pop custom builder that tries to circumvent processes and building codes most often, often attempting to use political connections to do so. Production builders around here are focused on efficiency and getting into pissing matches with the City hurts their efficiency. We have the occasional production general contractor that we have to wack with a tack hammer, but otherwise it is fairly smooth sailing.

Not all production builders are created equal. We have a lot of regional mid-size production builders. Those tend to have the best of both worlds.
Good points.....production builders seek consistency in the application of regulations, in order to better predict costs associated with building and to schedule financing.
Mom and pops need to seek any advantage they can by cutting corners to save TIME in relationship to lending costs. Mom and Pop have more flexibility to create a better finish. Like allowing the customer to pick out fixtures based on a budget and not forcing stock finishes on the customer simply because the production builder got a sweet deal from Vinnie on crappy light fixtures and third rate carpet.
 
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#29
According to builders a serious lack of skilled labor is holding back housing deliveries across the country:

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/17/homebuilders-take-a-beating-from-lack-of-labor.html

I find it surprising that labor shortages are a problem now, considering how slow things have been in construction since the mid-2000s. Then again, skilled workers are retiring and the younger generations probably aren't going into construction like they once were. Our society has convinced all these kids they need to go to college when in reality a good number of them would be far better off learning a trade. In any event, the labor issue is huge when it comes to issues of housing production and quality.
 

Suburb Repairman

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#30
According to builders a serious lack of skilled labor is holding back housing deliveries across the country:

http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/17/homebuilders-take-a-beating-from-lack-of-labor.html

I find it surprising that labor shortages are a problem now, considering how slow things have been in construction since the mid-2000s. Then again, skilled workers are retiring and the younger generations probably aren't going into construction like they once were. Our society has convinced all these kids they need to go to college when in reality a good number of them would be far better off learning a trade. In any event, the labor issue is huge when it comes to issues of housing production and quality.
The shortage isn't just retirements and fewer new folks entering trades... it is unexpected competition. A lot of the skilled labor from the homebuilding industry, at least in Texas, has shifted to oilfield work. An electrician can easily earn double with oil field clients. Plumbers especially have been hard hit on this due to fracking demand for plumbers. It is generally considered the number 1 problem for builders in Texas these days (usually "damn commie planners" is number 1).
 
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