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Thread: Excel Homes - Opinions?

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    Default Excel Homes - Opinions?

    My wife and I are considering purchasing a spec home from Excel Homes, and I was wondering if anybody has any experience with them as a builder and feels like sharing?

    Their website really talks them up, they brag about being moisture smart, their houses having high R-value insulation and 2x6 exterior walls and other things that sound really good.

    We went and looked at 4 or 5 of their spec homes yesterday as well as several other builders, and despite the homes being on slightly smaller yards than we would like we are pretty happy with what we have seen.

    Now, in my defense, when you are looking at this many houses lots of minor details get missed, so I was hoping that some of you on here may feel like sharing your experiences. In the interest of sharing, here are our opinions so far:

    Broadview / Pacesetter: Everything feels and looks cheap. When you look over the stairs, or cabinet work everything is just slightly out, touchups are poorly done on the baseboards and walls, a couple of the homes we were in had the sinks removed from all the bathrooms (i.e. they were installed, then removed) maybe from being installed wrong / having other issues?

    Jayman: The floors creaked in brand new houses, the great rooms on the main floor were too dark (one potlight all the way at the end), the cabinet design in the kitchen was designed to fill space, not for usability, and the washer/dryer were in the basement

    Excel: Some of the shingles were not correctly installed, or had nails left sticking up out of them, the carpet seams were somewhat visible, tile work was slightly uneven

    Of course, I am mentioning everything I found wrong with the houses, but that doesn't mean everything else is perfect. We didn't have a lot of time in each house so these are just quick first impressions.
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    I think the jdpower review has them right near the bottom if I'm not mistaken.

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    We bought an Excel Spec home in Okotoks about 2.5 years ago. Overall, things have been pretty good.

    Here goes...

    It's a starter home, so they're not too many options. We like that there is carpet in the living room, i can't stand the full hardwood homes these days, but that was our preference.

    No major complaints or issues. On your walkthrough, take note fo every thing that bothers you and don't let them off the hook until they fix it.

    Things that bother me:

    - The TV nook above the fireplace has no power oulets or cable connections. I guess it was an option they didn't go for. very annoying now that I am looking at moving the TV up there. I'm going to have to wire some power and cable, or live with having cords dangling down over the mantle.

    - They used Maple with a clear stain throughout the home, which I like. But I noticed on walkthrough that there was several places they missed, i.e. a section on the bannister, part of the Mantle and a couple others.

    - The dishwasher is terrible, the Jet-Dry disperssant system doesnt' work. We've lived with terrible hard water marks for a while now and have just switched to the detergent that includes the jet dry. We don't want to pay for a guy to come out and fix it.

    - Basement layout and rough-ins are in terrible locations and not well thought-out. Developing my basment is going to be tough. They put the mechanical literally in the middle of the basement. I guess theat would have saved them costs in running ducts and stuff. But it prevents efficient use of the basement area when developing. That, and they crammed in the toilet and shower rough-ins in the smae tiny corner. I'll have to jack-hammer the floor and move the toilet. Again, not life altering, but very annoying and adding expense and time on my side.

    - The basement floor was very poorly done. I noticed this on a pre-walkthrough visit. They fixed it and it looks fine now. What out for that.

    - The brick on the front of my porch has fallen off numerous times and in numerous places. They came back twice to fix it, and it still fell off. I've stopped bothering to try and get them to fix it. I think they originally did it in the cold...so the original cement never really took. That, or they're using crappy cement that doen't hold very well.

    - In the basement, they ran a ton of ductwork and hoses an pipes below the joists which could have been embedded in the joists or put through the webbing. Again, not a life changer, but now I'll either have to move it myself or have added dropped celings throughout the basement.

    - There is a carpet joint in our living room that was not done very well. I had them come back several times to try and fix it and it's never really been done that well. That might be what bugs me the most. They were not able to fix it. It's not very noticable, and I am very anal with things like this, so I'm learning to live with it.

    Like I said, overall they are pretty good. Overall build quality is acceptable, and when I was persistent with them in requiring them to fix something, they eventually came back and did it. This is a starter home, and I used to be in the Home Building industry, so I feel I came into it with realistic expectations. There will be problems, the builder will almost always fix them, and sometimes they need a couple weeks to schedule it in. Get to know your Area Manager and Warranty Rep. Be polite, but firm. Demand they fix what they said they would fix and allow them some time to get it scheduled in. That was my approach and we are happy.

    Overall I give my Excel Spec home 8.5/10, we like our house and are happy with the purchase. I would buy from Excel again, but not in the Starter home range (I hope to move into a bigger home next time). Now if only Okotoks can do something about all the hippies, crappy drivers, terrible snow removal and superfluous Green initiatives, things would be good. It helps now that the Costco is open.

    PM me if you have any questions. I'm happy to share my experiences.
    Last edited by freshprince1; 09-21-2010 at 07:54 AM.
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    Default Re: Excel Homes - Opinions?

    Originally posted by Zero102
    Excel: Some of the shingles were not correctly installed, or had nails left sticking up out of them, the carpet seams were somewhat visible, tile work was slightly uneven
    Dead on with the Carpet issues. They did not do a very good job on the carpet. Tile work itself is great, but note that they do not seal the grout per their spec. So get your own sealant and apply it as soon as you move in. We did not do this and some of it the grout has worn away - not a major issue though.
    freshprince
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    My family and I took possession of our Excel homes built home about 4-5 months ago. The biggest thing I noticed is the paint job is not very good. Overall it looks nice but when you really look closely at it you can see some imperfections as in un-even painting in some areas for example around the windows, and the border around the room underneath along where the walls join the ceiling. They did do some touch-ups but I still think they could of done a better job as I personally did a better job painting my previous house basement and Iím no professional whereas these guys are supposed to be.

    Next onto the driveway. I was pretty much the first one on the block however last one to get cement poured. When they did pour it, the crew that showed up actually started the job when it was not just raining a little bit but POURING hard outside. The end result was very poor as you obviously cant pour cement in the rain. In the end I ended up getting a free upgrade to an exposed aggregate concrete driveway. This turned out very nice btw!

    Everything else is great. I dont have any issues with the carpet as it has sno visible seems, the hardwood and tiling has also been nicely installed.

    Our salesperson Lisa Baron however was very pleasant to deal with and made the whole process fun. She even went out of her way to personally come to our house to get paper work signed as it was needed.

    In the end I guess you canít really just blame one home builder over the other as most of the construction crewís work with various builders. Itís a hit and miss situation however on your walk through make sure you look over each and every single thing. Even perhaps take a buddy with you in case you miss something.

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    [i]
    The TV nook above the fireplace has no power oulets or cable connections. I guess it was an option they didn't go for. very annoying now that I am looking at moving the TV up there. I'm going to have to wire some power and cable, or live with having cords dangling down over the mantle.
    [/B]
    For me they put in a vac-flo type similar empty tube which I can use to feed any types of cables to the back of the tv. The tube is placed right next to my cable tv and power outlet in my family room. Which is perfect.

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    bottom of the barrel trades, as is Trico, Cardel & lately Jayman...

    Why I say this... well subjectively I have friends who crib, frame and are finishers who've subcontracted or lost jobs to crews who have underbid them.
    Jayman did this less than a year ago, where they posted ads in the Herald and Sun for assorted Trades... and had asked their current subcontractors to take either a 25% cut or leave.

    I built with Baywest, I have a cardel & Jaymen bulding around me, and I can tell you that there is a quality difference immediately. For instances, my exterior studs are 16 on center, and theirs are 24.. Thats case they're using 2x8 now I belive, as is mine, but that allows for further spacing and cost savings.

    My friend built a 2100 sqft home w/ Excel in Silverado, and though the exterior archietcture is quite nice there, as established by the developer, the rest of the home is garbage. First off, they have terrible interior selections/options and nickle & dime worse than I've ever seen... (I've built 2 homes) Next, is the poor finishing work all around.
    Painting I can forgive, but even during the framing there were alot of deffencies that our buddies had to point out, which then had to be corrected. My friends went there every other day and had a routine checklist for the site super. SO I could only imaging how nonchalant they would be with the structure of a spec-home they're trying to move in less than 4 months it takes them to assemble.

    Objectively... look @ JD Power & Associates

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    They seem to get a pretty bad review on JD Power & Associates, but their results seem a bit strange when it comes to other builders:

    They give Nuvista a 5/5, even though the houses of theirs I visited were much worse than the Excel homes I visited. They also give Jayman a reasonably good grade despite several glaring issues in the houses of theirs I visited.

    Unfortunately this may reduce to something as simple as this:
    You can get good homes from bad home builders, and bad homes from good home builders.


    I think our plan of action will be to re-visit our favorite houses and bring as many picky people with us as we can manage. I suppose if they correct everything we are unhappy with before we buy the place then we won't have to fight with them about warranty repairs later.

    We are looking at homes in the $400k range, no duplexes, so they are still somewhat in the low end of what they offer, and as mentioned above, buying a completed spec home gives you no input or inspection ability during the building process.
    Originally posted by Vagabond142
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    My sister built with them and has had nothing but issues, and dealing with them is a fight everytime.

    -Paint/drywall was terrible, walls not square etc.

    -Two car garage doesn't fit a second car due to the position of the stairs, they don't care.

    -About to pour the driveway for the third time due to issues, and it was a fight for them to repour it each time.

    -Mice in the house.

    -Leaking windows first rainstorm.

    -Mis-quotes during the purchase stage that she was expected to cover.

    -Carpet laid over an open vent hole, she almost fell through the hole

    That is all I can think of at the time, but in general she was VERY disappointed.
    Last edited by 2002civic; 09-21-2010 at 01:55 PM.

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    Point taken on the walls being / not being square, I will bring my framers square up with me for the second visit. We have lots of square cornered things that we will be putting in the corners of rooms and that would be a huge issue.

    The house has been finished for a few weeks now and it has been raining when we visited it, no water leakage issues were noted or any animal droppings. Also things I didn't think of and will check closer for, but I think it is in the clear on those 2.

    Thanks for all the feedback so far!
    Originally posted by Vagabond142
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    I work for a bit bank, quite closely to retail processing (a major one here in Alberta )

    Its not busy.... full stop

    My buddy works as a cribber for two builders... he's not busy

    Last I checked with my realtor buddy there is an amazing amount of home sitting stagnent in the landed home and move-up market.

    I've seen spec's sitting around from Jayman in Auburn bay around me... w/ a for-sale sign for quite a while

    I'm sure you can neogiate a very very good price for a spec right now.

    Or, there are plenty of options out there... very nice 2k sqft relatively new homes going for the mid to high 3's now... with a full yard/deck and structural warranty still

    5100 listings last checked on the MLS I belive, but the MLX could have a few more.

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    Most of the spec homes are priced "firm", but one of the homes we were looking at just dropped $10k recently. Doesn't sound terribly firm to me

    Auburn Bay is a bit far for us, we'd prefer to be in the north end of the city, but if it means 2000 square feet from a good builder for under $400k we may consider the south too.

    My wife has convinced me to look at a few more slightly older houses (mid 90's - current) before we pull the trigger on the home in question. Never hurts to take one last look around.
    Originally posted by Vagabond142
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    My sister built with excel.
    Their possession date is in about 2 weeks.

    They built in sage hill.

    Overall, they're pretty happy with them. They were happy with the price and service so far. All the upgrades they were looking at other houses, this place already had. The only thing that I found kind of expensive is they wanted an extra $1500 for a man door in their garage.

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    Bumping an old thread! Looking around to have our new house built (and hopefully, the one we'll stay in for a long time). My wife and I have chosen to move to Mahogany and there are only a few builders in there. We were hoping to build either with Jayman or Excel homes. I have been in the Jayman showhomes and it seems they have the latest technology in terms of home building. They are (at least I think) are known for being more expensive than other builders. We will be going to Excel showhomes next. Anyone have any experience with either of these home builders? At least, lately and especially in Mahogany.

    Thanks everyone!
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    Quote Originally Posted by jampack View Post
    Bumping an old thread! Looking around to have our new house built (and hopefully, the one we'll stay in for a long time). My wife and I have chosen to move to Mahogany and there are only a few builders in there. We were hoping to build either with Jayman or Excel homes. I have been in the Jayman showhomes and it seems they have the latest technology in terms of home building. They are (at least I think) are known for being more expensive than other builders. We will be going to Excel showhomes next. Anyone have any experience with either of these home builders? At least, lately and especially in Mahogany.

    Thanks everyone!
    The guy working at the Excell show homes in Mahogany was a total d-bag when we went in there about a year ago... so much so that we walked out mid conversation without even going into the actual show homes.

    We asked about triple garage options or tandems and he laughed. Asked how much we could spend (that was the first question he had for us) and that nothing was available like that for under $1m and we weren't spending $1m, right?

    Fuck that guy. Excell doesn't build $1m estate homes so not sure why he was so far up his own ass.

    We built in a different community with Cedarglen Homes and the process has been awesome so far, we got our triple (ended up being massive) for nowhere near Mr.Excell-Dbag prices.

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