We are currently in the process of building our new home in Hamilton Heights in Chandler, Arizona. This is a time when we are dreaming of our new home and also very anxious about spending hard earned money on a new house. I am writing today, because at first, we were very excited about the prospect of our new home, until we had our experience at the Design Center. We originally thought we were the only ones disappointed and frustrated with our experience, but upon meeting several other soon-to-be neighbors at Hamilton Heights, we discovered that almost everyone had the same bad experience. This is when we decided we had to contact you.
When we first arrived at the design center we were excited to see what we could create for our new home. From cabinets and carpet to paint, speakers and faucets, the possibilities were endless. We began picking out cabinets and moved on to flooring. This is when we discovered that there were only three choices of “standard” tile and six choices of “standard” carpet. All of which was white, dirty white or even dirtier white. In order to find something that was even halfway decent for a $400,000 + home we had to move several grades up. I am not talking lush, designer stuff; I am talking for stuff that came in my first apartment. So we began looking at the choices presented to us in this range. We picked out stuff that would “do for now,” and then Suzie came back to us with a price. Over $20,000 for flooring? Upgrading when you are building a house shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. The company already has to put something in the house, so labor is already there and there isn’t any demolition that needs to happen. You should just have to pay for an upgrade in the material, which should be minimal. This was definitely not the case. Just this one tiny experience had us wanting to back out of the contract. We wrote down and took pictures of the products we had chosen and looked them up from RETAIL stores when we got home. To have someone come in after closing on our house and put the SAME EXACT flooring in would only cost us $9000! This is also paying for labor and demolition! So we called back and told her to “put whatever comes with the house” in because we weren’t going to pay them to do it and put it on our 30 year mortgage. Then it comes to other options for our house. We weren’t told options about paint (honestly with the scam with the flooring we would rather do it ourselves), our neighbors weren’t given options for fireplaces or paint. They also had an issue with the flooring. They started calculating the price per square foot and found a huge discrepancy between what they were being charged for the tile in the dining room versus what they were being charged per square foot in the living room. It was the SAME tile. When Suzie was faced with this she told them “well I am not perfect.” Yet she had boasted that she had been working for Pulte Design Center for “23 years.” I don’t believe she changed the discrepancy. After this exchange with our neighbors, they are thinking about paying the $250 change request and not having Pulte put their flooring in either but to do it themselves.
Now comes this issue with fans. We just wanted simple pre-wiring for ceiling fans. Shouldn’t cost much, since my dad works for an electric wholesaler and says that a builder can put them in for less than $40 a piece, retail, with labor. So why in the world is Pulte charging $175 per pre-wire?? Mind you, this isn’t even with a fan! So after discussing our options, because by this point we were ready to back out of the whole deal (and yes, lose the earnest money), we decided to upgrade the things we couldn’t do ourselves later on, or the ‘few’ things that were actually at market value. After meeting with the design center staff, we are very leery of the workmanship and “market value” of the actual Pulte construction. We have been in close contact with the Construction Manager, Paul and are keeping a watchful eye on everything. So far, the construction seems to be heads above what we encountered at the Design Center.
In conclusion, we did NOT have Pulte do the carpet, tile, faucets, bathroom upgrades, counter upgrades, ceiling fans, hardware, sinks, blinds, toilet, bathtub or shower upgrades that we had originally wanted to do. (Look at the money lost there and we are just ONE home!) Who knows what other upgrades were available to us but not relayed to us. We will take our hard earned money to make this home fantastic, while giving the design center as little as possible. This should have been a fun and exciting experience. Not one full of frustration and feeling like we were being ripped off. Then to find out, it wasn’t just us! If we had visited the design center before signing an agreement, you can bet we would have chosen to move elsewhere and gone with a different builder. Lets hope this is not indicative of what we can expect throughout our entire experience with Pulte. And you can believe, that we are relaying this story to EVERYONE we know! As you know, the housing market is growing, something needs to change at your design center or you will be losing out on the extra revenue of the upgrades and alienating your customers. Word of mouth spreads quickly and in this age of digital communications, you can bet that word will get around.
Product or Service Mentioned: Pulte Homes House Construction.
Location: Phoenix, Arizona