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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.

Review about: Pulte Homes House Construction.

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Anonymous
#1486043

We have a design center appointment coming up next week so thank you for the heads-up. You're right; if the upgrade cost is too much then the design center won't get out business and I won't even have the standard tile, carpet, etc put in a I'll do it myself or have it done.

I don't want the hassle of even ripping the standard stuff out. Just give it to me bare.

Hoping that MAYBE Pulte has corrected some of these issues and I won't have to go through what you did but now at least I am aware of the issues. Hope by now you have your dream home and this was all just a very bad dream.

Anonymous
to Anonymous #1486322

Thank you for that! Just a word of caution...

they can't sell it to you "bare"... and when we asked, they wouldn't let us in before closing to do our own flooring, etc. Maybe they have changed that now?

I am curious to know how your appointment goes!! Wishing you luck!!

Anonymous
#1483155

We experienced the same situation with our new Del Webb home currently under construction in Rancho Mirage. Went with the base flooring and "vanilla" house.We got prices to remove and replace 2,000 square feet of the base tile flooring & carpeting provided by Del Webb for 1/3rd the cost from the Design Center.After we close escrow, we will have the wood plank style tiles installed throughout the entire house for $15,000.00The design center would have been $40,000.00!

Anonymous
#1476200

I couldn’t have said it better myself! We bought our Pulte home in 2001 in Ca.

The upgrades are a major RIP OFF! We bit the bullet on the flooring, because we needed to move in to vacate our old home in time for the buyer. At the time, we paid around $13,000 for Berber carpeting, laminate floors and for plain old linoleum in the bathrooms, since their standard install was carpet! Talk about a forced choice!

We upgraded on some things, but certainly not all like their $14,000 HVAC system. We went with the *** stock unit, knowing my best bud could upgrade it later, as he had his own company. But, here we are almost 17 years later and still using the stock unit! It’s a York which is considered crap in the industry, but we run it non stop for 5 months out of the year at 70F and it only malfunctioned one time at 5 years.

So we’ve been very lucky!Back to the floors. We paid an extra grand for thicker padding under the lamknare, because we have a slab floor. The day the floors were being installed, it was my birthday and i decided to take off from work. We went by the new house and the floor installers were almost ready to put the trim boards around the laminate, when we noticed the color of the pad was different than we ordered!

We paid the extra grand, yet they were putting in the standard pad!!! I went ballistic on them and called the design center. The director wouldn’t call me back, so I was sure to be there as soon as it opened at 8:30 a.m. I lit into him like lightening.

I told him he had two choices to make this right and refunding us the $1000 difference was not an option! I told him we’d keep the standard padding but not pay for any of the upgraded flooring OR they would have to rip out the laminate and put the right padding in. Of course, they opted for the latter. The installers were so pissed, but they didn’t install the right stuff!

Ironically, because Pulte hadn’t put the rain bonnet on the chimney, as they had promised and wrote it off in the inspection, rain got into the chimney and leaked under a good part of the laminate floor. They kept cutting the tongue off each piece in the middle of the floor and popping in new pieces. I told them that would work because there wasn’t any tongue to fit into the groove of the adjac piece and that they needed to start from the middle when the damaged pieces reached and replace it all back to the wall. They did it their way NINE times, before they listened to me.

Their way didn’t work because there were lines of uneven planks where they had cut the tongues off! I couldn’t believe their stupidity, but it was caused by their lies.

Anonymous
#1453628

Ours is currently being built in Corona Ca. The flooring upgrade that we chose at the design center would have cost $ 24,000.

After some checking we found a better quality product for $ 13,000 installed including removal of existing materials. That's right . The house cannot close without the flooring in place. Fortunately the cost to remove this is minimmal.

This will all have to be done after we get the key. We were told that this is a liability issue.

Anonymous
#1452683

It doesn’t matter what builder you chose when building in a community such as this. They all have design centers and are all overpriced. Either deal with it or use a custom builder on your own private lot.

Anonymous
to Pulte Proud #1506367

We also bought a pulte home in 2008. we experienced same issue, This is an industry wide issue.

we had the same experience with KB homes in 1989. so always go standard and upgrade ourselves at a fraction of the cost.

here's a tip, speak to the subcontractor and work out a deal after closing. We had the painter match our garage door to our trimming.

Anonymous
#1442941

We are going through this same experience and have an understanding that we are BUILDING a dream house that we get to tweak as we can afford.If you come into this thinking you are getting DIY prices and home depot parking lot labor prices you are kidding yourself.Trades cost money. Try to do all of this after market and if you are savy you may save money, but then you are paying for it out of pocket and not in a loan spread over 30 years.Its funny how many trolls are on here using an Anonymous name. Put your name on the comment and stand behind your words or go buy a fixer upper and try to DIY.

Anonymous
#1403805

Romire....we have done our own electrical on new builds and it is a lot cheaper. When building a new home, this should be the perfect time to upgrade for cheap.

The labor is already there, the prep is already done, the transport is already taking place....you should only be paying for the upgraded material. I'm sorry if you don't understand this and I'm sure any rep out there would LOVE to serve someone so gullible.

Because of people like you, these Builders are able to take advantage of everyone, even those who know better. Thank God we got out of our contract and are much happier now!

Anonymous
#1403762

We are going through this now. Pulse is the WORST (in terms of their "design" center"

Anonymous
#1382648

This post is ridiculous. Go build your own house, do all the work, all the research, all the transport and then it will cost you $40 not $175.

You don’t get it. Hate to be the rep trying to please you.

Anonymous
to Romire #1476203

Whiner! You must be a greedy contractor!

Anonymous
#1374971

I believe if we visit their designer center first, most people will choose the basic and find alternative suppliers for floor and paint.

Anonymous
Dallas, Texas, United States #1333649

I really appreciate your article. Thanks for sharing...

I'm looking for to buy a house with Pulte and now I will be consider other option, with other companies just to see if we can get what we want without need to pay someone else to do the job. I'm sure should be another builder willing to do the job.

Once again thank you, I use to read reviews previous to take decisions... And your is a good advise.

Anonymous
to Looking for a Home #1476204

Pulte builds good homes overall. But you need to watch every step! Don’t make the mistake I did and ask to have your garage walls insulated, because the rest of the house is, without getting insulated garage doors,too!

Anonymous
Redmond, Washington, United States #1325482

i just bought a Pulte home in North Bend WA and I must say that if you people do your research before you commit to buying and forking over earnest money you would know that there are basic included things in the house where you can get at asking price .. What you people do is go see the model and assume that everything in the model is going to be included in your home for the asking price without upgrades.

I asked the right questions to the sales agent all in advance and figured I would buy the house at asking price without any upgrades at all and then when I went to the design center I already knew what the upgrades cost (because i got a sheet from the agent) and I knew going into it what I would have to pay extra to customize my home to my liking.

All in All the asking price for my home was 695K and I ended up getting 40K in upgrades .. Of course I paid 50K down for earnest money so that did not enter in the mortgage.

Anonymous
to Jay Tea Avondale, Arizona, United States #1341504

Well our agent wouldn't give us a sheet until we visited the design center and we couldn't visit the design center until we forked over the earnest money. You would think that ceiling fan electric would be basic but it wasn't. The "basic" house only had half hots to plug in lamps.

Anonymous
to Jay Tea #1377168

Jay,

We are looking at the North Bend property too. Did you end up using their mortgage? The selling price + upgrades seems to be a lot of money to put down for a property in North Bend.

TIA!

Anonymous
Riverview, Florida, United States #1323071

Thanks you for your post. I just left the design center just as upset as you obviously were.

I'm ready to back out as well. I'd rather lose a little earnest money than be house poor by getting in over my head. My main issue is that I agreed to a kitchen upgrade in my purchase agreement. It was $3640.

Because I wanted this upgrade I wasn't even allowed to choose standard cabinetry. They insisted that I had to pay an additional $3800-$4200 for higher end cabinets and that didn't even include hardware. The granite was limited to only two choices. If you wanted something other than that the next option was over $700.

I do feel that it is shady business presenting design options after the purchase agreement has been signed. I would never had agreed to anything if I'd known the options were so limited with the alternatives costing an arm and a leg.

Thanks again for your input. Nice to know I'm not the only one

Anonymous
to TyM Avondale, Arizona, United States #1323081

Sorry you had to go through this as we did. Needless to say, we backed out for the same reasons.

When you are building a house, common sense tells us that this is the time to put in what we want and it shouldn't cost so much more. They already have the labor there and that is usually the expensive part.

Of course this seems to be a builder *** bent on ripping people off during the home building process. I wish you luck!

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