Click to see lists of registered builders in the state of Texas.

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Below are three of the nine major factors that drive homebuyer satisfaction.

For detailed ranking information, view the Houston press release.
Home Builders - Houston Quality of Workmanship
& Materials
& Value
ASHTON WOODS (over rated & serious management problems) 
BEAZER (over rated ed.)
BRIGHTON (average)
COVENTRY (MHI) (very under rated ed. Nice work)
DAVID POWERS (average)
EMERALD (a very favorite)
GEHAN (average)
KB HOME (very overrated cheap production housing)
LENNAR (good reports)
MORRISON (good reports)
NEWMARK (good reports)
PERRY (very over rated and very questionable top level management.)
PIONEER (MHI) (good reports)
PLANTATION (MHI) (good reports)
PULTE (They have been slipping on quality)  
TRENDMAKER (a top favorite)
US HOME (watch out)
VILLAGE BUILDERS (good reports)
  Among the best.  
  Does not really stand out.
  Better than most.  
  The rest.
Click the link below for more builders and results.

2002 New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction Study: Awardees

Award Recipient
Highest in Customer Satisfaction With New Home Builders in Houston Pulte Home Corporation
Top 3 in Customer Satisfaction With New Home Builders in Houston David Weekley Homes (Tied with Newmark)
Top 3 in Customer Satisfaction With New Home Builders in Houston Newmark Homes (Tied with David Weekley)
Top 3 in Customer Satisfaction With New Home Builders in Houston Trendmaker Homes
  Note: J.D. Power Consumer Center ratings do not include all information used to determine J.D. Power and Associates awards, and may be based on different criteria.

Sept. 27, 2003, 7:41PM

Three builders named best in area

Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

Pulte Homes, David Weekley Homes and Morrison Homes ranked atop a buyer satisfaction survey of the Houston-area market by J.D. Power and Associates.

The survey ranked the builders on customer service, home readiness, sales staff, home design, the quality of workmanship and materials, and other characteristics.

Marketing firm J.D. Power received over 5,300 responses from people who bought homes recently in Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Galveston and Brazoria counties. Only builders that sold 150 or more homes in 2002 were included in the survey.

A number of the large home-building companies that ranked highly perform "proactive" warranty calls. Instead of waiting for homeowners to phone in complaints, these builders call at regular intervals to make sure everything is working right.

Pulte performs proactive warranty calls and provides training to encourage employees to improve the quality of its homes, Pulte spokesman Sean Patrick said.

Pulte insists that its workers be timely and keep appointments when making warranty calls, and it requires workers to wear clean booties over their shoes when entering customers' home, Patrick said.

Pulte scored 134 points in the Houston-area customer satisfaction survey. The average score in the Houston area was 107 points. The national average is 109 points. Weekley's and Morrison's Houston divisions both scored 121.

At the other end of the spectrum, D.R. Horton and Parkside Homes were at the bottom of the satisfaction survey, with 84 points.

"It's a real shock to me," Parkside's president, Mark Kaufman, said. "That's a complete surprise."

Parkside, which has an average home sales price of $108,000, has received good marks in other surveys of its customers, Kaufman said.

Parkside also received a Best in American Living award in 1999 from the National Association of Home Builders and Professional Builder magazine, Kaufman said.

The operations of D.R. Horton in Houston have been reorganized recently, said Brian Binash of Emerald Homes, the Houston-based firm that is part of the D.R. Horton corporation. The builder will make efforts to ensure that its Houston customers are more satisfied, Binash said.

"We are going to do everything we can to make sure the quality D.R. Horton is known for is exhibited in our future homes," Binash said.

Although 84 was at the bottom for the Houston area, it could have been much worse. In some of the 21 cities in the J.D. Power survey, builders' scores were less than 70.

The J.D. Power survey is not just about the quality of homes. It also measures how builders treat customers, such as how they respond to complaints. Customer service and how thoroughly a house is fine-tuned when the buyer moves in are both extremely important in scoring well in the J.D. Power survey.

Some builders are weak in responding to complaints, even though the houses they build may be of good quality, said housing analyst Mike Inselmann of Metrostudy.

In general, maintaining quality on an open home-construction site is much more difficult than creating products in a factory, Inselmann said.

Rainy days throw off schedules, and damp conditions can damage building materials, Inselmann said. In short, a construction site is not a pristine laboratory.

In Houston, a common problem with new homes is drainage, which is a challenge because of the city's flat terrain, said Jay McManus, vice president of sales for Ryland Homes.

"If there is one thing every builder in town could improve on, it's drainage of the yards," McManus said.

Ted Nelson of Terrabrook, a developer of master-planned communities, said he has seen a lot of improvement in the home-building business over the years. Universities offer training in construction, and many builders are coming out of school with a broad base of knowledge, Nelson said. Building materials have improved in recent years, he said, and inspections are more stringent.

"I've been in the business 30 years, and the level of quality with homes today is significantly more than it was 30 years ago -- or even 20 or 10 years ago," Nelson said.

April 4, 2002, 3:06PM
Year's housing trends transcend price and location

Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle

Finding the right home at the right price can be difficult. Sometimes it is more art than science. Sometimes locating that great house is more luck than the result of an in-depth, methodical study.

And to make matters more complicated, the realty market is always changing. New builders come to town. New subdivisions are opened. Neighborhoods that were once considered dogs are rediscovered and given new life by urban pioneers. Home prices can rise sharply.

Houses are essentially about living, though, not about money. So setting aside price-tag issues, here are some trends and highlights in the Houston-area realty market that you might want to consider when searching for your next home.

� The best up-and-coming neighborhood to watch -- Shady Acres. Located just northwest of the Heights, the old Shady Acres neighborhood is seeing a surge of home construction. Many of the new homes are period-style architecture with front porches, fenced front yards and Hardiplank siding. Perry Homes, a prolific Inner Loop builder, has just started working in Shady Acres. Perry could accelerate the evolution of the neighborhood.

� The most unusual new housing -- The Mews in Kingwood. It's a new gated community of English cottages with a lot of asymmetrical gable roofs set in a Cotswold-style. Oversized chimneys and entry towers are situated at the front of the homes, which have stucco and stone exteriors. The Mews has several two-bedroom models because the developer expects to attract empty-nester couples.

� The most interesting neighborhood transformation -- St. George Place. Developer Robert Silvers purchased a significant portion of the old rundown homes in Lamar Terrace in 1989. The neighborhood, off Richmond Avenue just west of the Galleria, is now covered with new homes worth more than $300,000 each. Given Silvers' tenacity in pushing through this project, it seems fitting that a short street there has been named Silvers Lane.

� The best new community monument -- Shadow Creek Ranch. Drive south on Texas 288 and you cannot miss the entry monument at this 3,000-acre project. It has water fountains and huge lettering cemented into a long, red-brick structure atop a grassy berm. To cap off the monument, the developer flies three huge flags, the Texas flag, the city of Pearland flag and Old Glory.

� The next condo trend -- Conversion of Inner Loop apartment projects into condominiums. The Gables City Plaza apartment complex, on Old Spanish Trail just south of the Texas Medical Center, will be converted to condos by an Atlanta developer. Another apartment project on Shepherd Drive recently was converted into the Renaissance at River Oaks. The converted condos offer lower-cost Inner Loop residences.

� The recurring trend -- The destruction of old houses to make way for new ones. This has been going on for years in places like West University Place and Bellaire. The tear-down trend also has spread to neighborhoods such as Briargrove, which is west of Fountainview Drive. It seems odd to hear that the tear-down trend has spread to outer suburbs, such as The Woodlands. But a few tear-downs have occurred there and more will be done as that suburban community continues to mature.

� The hottest Farm-to-Market Road -- FM 1464 in Fort Bend County. Hundreds of new homes are sprouting on this two-lane road, just north of Sugar Land and New Territory. The construction is occurring in communities such as Orchard Lakes, Chelsea Harbor, Stratford Park, Eaglewood and others. FM 1464 also has a significant assemblage of golf with the Shadow Hawk, Old Orchard and Houstonian golf courses.

� The most diligent home builder -- David Powers. Since forming his company in 1994, Powers has made it a habit to join all of his customers at the title company while the home buyers sign the final purchasing documents. He personally explains the home warranty and tries to make sure the buyers are satisfied. David Powers Homes sold more than 250 houses last year, keeping the builder hopping. Not surprisingly, Powers gets about half of his new customers from referrals from his previous buyers.

� Best home builders -- Houston's Stephen K. Hann. He was recently named "America's Best Builder" in the small-builder category by the National Association of Home Builders and Builder Magazine. In a recent Houston home-buyer satisfaction survey by J.D. Power & Associates, Newmark Homes and Trendmaker Homes came out tied for first. Other home builders with high rankings in the J.D. Power survey included Pulte, Norwood, Perry, David Powers, Emerald, David Weekley and Morrison Homes.

� The most elevated new dwellings -- High-rise residential towers. Several new high-rise rental towers are coming on the market. The Museum Tower will be opening soon on Montrose Boulevard. Also, Simmons Vedder & Co. is building a 33-story apartment tower at 3333 Allen Parkway. And Hanover Co. is developing another 33-story rental tower in the Uptown area. In the Galleria area, the "three-M" condo projects are under development: the Manhattan, the Montebello and the Mark. These, along with several other condo towers under construction, are solidifying Houston as a high-rise market.

�The newest places to live -- Several major master-planned communities are going to be opening shortly in the Houston area. The 2,800-acre Riverstone is getting started in Fort Bend County, just south of First Colony. The 3,300-acre Shadow Creek Ranch and the 1,000-acre Savannah will be players in Brazoria County. Eagle Springs and Fall Creek are awakening the northeast side. And Seven Meadows is opening this year on the west side of town near the Grand Parkway.

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