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Home Builder reviews in Palatine

  • F
    Jade Development Inc
    Ended up parting ways with Company for a variety of reasons. Did not use a contract with wording required according to state laws. Permits were never pulled. Used subcontractors who were working with Jade for the first time. Subcontractors were not paid for all work completed and advised Jade Development was not available for questions and did not know current building codes. Hardwood floors not installed properly based on information from 3 other contractors I've called in to fix. When remodeling the bathrooms subcontractors were told not to update any pipes behind the wall when exposed as I wouldn't see it. Subcontractors were also used to remodel owners condo and were asked to complete that project delaying completion of my work.
    - Sandra L.
  • F
    Builders Service and Glass
    FRAUD - THEFT BY DECEPTION - STOLE $4,000 - NO RETURNED CALLS I entered into contract with Jared Spears, owner of BUILDER SERVICES located at 1613 High View Ave | Suite B in McHenery, Illinois; 1-708-699-4527 for a construction job. After Jerard Spears AKA: BUILDER SERVICES received my check deposit of $4,000, he cashed the check, stole my funds and I never heard from him again after several attempts.
    - Aaron R.
  • F
    Evolutionary Home Builders
    My wife and I put our house up for sale in spring, 2014, in hopes of moving closer to her work in Palatine, IL (she is a school teacher, I am a stay at home dad for our daughter). Faced with a decision as to where to live, we decided to build a new home. After reading up on the options available, we concluded we wanted to build as ?green? as possible, and building to the Passive House standard seemed like a worthwhile goal.
    Even before purchasing a lot, we put down, in September, 2014, at Brandon?s request, $30,000 for a Design-Build Professional Services Agreement (PSA). At that time he assured us a Passive House was possible at $200-205/ sq. ft. for a single-story home under 2,000 sq. ft., and with a full 9? basement included (the total dependent on the level of finishes and any extras).
    The PSA outlined a prospective budget for our 1600 sq. ft structure as follows:
    $325,000-350,000 Cost to construct house
    $20,000-30,000 Cost to construct garage
    $30,000 Cost of Design-Build Professional Services Agreement
    $375,000-410,000 Total Cost
    The timeline we were given included 90 days to design and 6-8 months to build. We assumed (incorrectly as it turned out) that this meant there was a good chance we could move into our new home by the end of 2015, or the early part of 2016 if hiccups occurred during the build process.
    After many delays, we were finally presented with hard budget numbers in late November, 2015. In that meeting, without any warning, we were given the following price to construct: $470,000.00. This seemed high, I assumed it must include the $30,000 PSA payment, and that I must be misunderstanding something. It was only while driving home, as my wife patiently explained to me that the $470,000 number did not include the $30,000 (therefore the total build would be $500,000), that I realized we could not afford to move forward with EHB. Also worth noting: the $470,000 included nothing for contingencies or potential escalation costs.
    In addition, during this budget meeting we requested a hard copy of the numbers to take with us. We were told no, we could not have it, that these numbers were only preliminary, and that a hard copy would only be made available to us after signing an official Build Contract (we were presented with various numbers in an Excel spreadsheet format, which proved more confusing than helpful --- particularly since Patrick, their architect, kept scrolling up and down, never allowing us to see the columns of numbers in their entirety).
    In our subsequent email exchanges, a phone call with Brandon, and a face-to-face sit down with Brandon, the claim was made repeatedly that the budget numbers contained intellectual property. Even if true, which seems doubtful, why was our $30,000 insufficient proof of our commitment to build with EHB? How could we make informed decisions without all of the budget numbers in front of us?
    In addition, the numbers presented to us were even worse than they initially appeared because Brandon had removed substantial value by changing a 9? basement to an 8? basement, removing a window from the basement (leaving us with only one), and by converting the concrete driveway to an asphalt driveway. In effect, the $500,000 number should have really been $515-525,000 if the 9? basement, the second basement window, and the concrete driveway had been left in (these items had previously been in the drawings and had always been understood to be included based on email exchanges). The point is not that we had our hearts set on a concrete driveway, for example, rather it is how Brandon and his team manipulated the numbers to make them look less bad than they really were --- it felt like they were trying to be devious.
    Overall, then, the budgeting process struck us as fundamentally dishonest. When pressed repeatedly as to why the build budget was so different from the numbers outlined in the PSA, Brandon only offered a vague explanation, noting ?additional Passive House components were necessary?--- what these were, or why they were necessary, was never explained.
    In our final meeting (the face-to-face sit down), Brandon did finally admit the energy modeling in the PHPP software showed a significant penalty for a single-story structure with a full basement. Since they sell themselves as experts in this field, and they had never done a single-story home before, and they had nearly a year to research potential issues with this type of structure, why were we only now --- over a year into the design process --- finding out about it? No one, at any time, suggested we needed to convert our single-story structure into a two-story structure if we intended to hit the budget numbers as laid out in the PSA.
    Our take away impression was that they felt we would accept virtually any number given to us since we were so far along in the process and they already had our $30,000. That, in effect, we could not walk away, and that we would just accept the inflated price and move forward with the build. 
    Based on the PSA (which is all we ever had to go on), the budget we were expecting should have looked something like this:
    $325,000-350,000 Original 40?x40? 1600 sq. ft. structure
    $13,500-14,500 Extra 66 sq. ft. in 49?x34? structure, total 1666 sq. ft.
    $20,000-25,000 Extra for water, sewer hook-up issue; 2-retaining walls
    $20,000-30,000 Construct garage
    $30,000 Design-Build Professional Services Agreement
    $408,500-449,500 Total Cost
    We are not the ?nightmare? client who wants to add additional square footage and additional high end finishes and then balks when the cost goes up. Note, too, that the numbers to build range from just over $203/ sq. ft. - $218.75/ sq. ft., so we were willing, even at the time of signing the PSA, to end up at nearly $220/ sq. ft. instead of the $205 Brandon initially quoted. Nevertheless, their budget came in at an astounding $249/ sq. ft.
    At that point, in December, 2015, we reached out to several of Brandon?s prior clients to see what their experience had been like (admittedly, we should have done this before handing over our $30,000). It was revealing, and quite depressing. Not one of them would feel comfortable recommending Brandon and EHB to family or friends without serious reservations. Most flat out said they would not recommend Brandon or EHB under any circumstances.
    In fact, in our discussions, several common themes developed that were congruent with our own experience:
    1. Poor communication skills: They fail to listen, so requests have to be repeated, or else they are implemented incorrectly.
    2. Budget numbers cannot be trusted: We heard repeatedly from separate clients that, whatever you are told, add 25% to get an accurate idea of real costs (whether in the PSA or the harder numbers of an actual Build Budget).
    3. The design capabilities of EHB are mediocre at best: Every client we spoke with urged us to seek outside design help, both in the form of an architect and for any interior design work.
    4. Don?t be fooled by the hype: Brandon is very good at marketing his projects, and he has enjoyed a lot of free advertising by having his homes covered in local media outlets, and on the internet more broadly. The message we received from his clients: there is a wide gulf between surface (how EHB present themselves) and substance (what the design-build process is really like).
    5. EHB builds a solid wall assembly: Every client was happy with the quality of their structure, but they were equally unhappy with how this was achieved --- for reasons outlined above.
    Our conclusion: EHB is a conventional builder who can put up a better wall assembly. In every other way, however, EHB fulfills the stereotype of the average homebuilder: over promises, under delivers, is sloppy with budget numbers (incompetent? engages in fraud?), and plays fast and loose with their clients? life savings.
    I should also note, after the initial email and phone call letting EHB know we could not move forward, Brandon, during our final sit down, explained how he was able to reduce the budget to $409,000 by getting donated materials from manufacturers and by seeking lower numbers from their subcontractors. In other words, they were prepared to charge us $500,000, but now they could build the same house for nearly $100,000 less with no drop off in quality --- either in materials or craftsmanship? Furthermore, based on what their previous clients had told us, we had every reason to believe the $409,000 would climb back up to $500,000 as they clawed the money back with inevitable ?unforeseen? expenses throughout the build process.
    Since deciding not to move forward with Brandon and EHB, we have been told there will be no partial refund of our $30,000, and that we cannot use the drawings (our lawyer has explained to us why this latter claim is unfounded). The PSA even claims we cannot build on our own lot with another builder for two years.
    We were not looking for a full refund, we understand some real work has been done, but we do feel a partial refund of $15,000 is in order since we are not moving forward because of the actions of EHB --- in other words, due to no fault of our own. The fact remains, if the budget numbers had been accurate and fair, we would have proceeded to build with EHB.
    Nevertheless, there is no reason why you should take our word for any of this. In fact, learn from our mistake and --- prior to signing or doing anything ---  please reach out to their former clients as listed on their website and in the many articles published about their projects. In addition, I have the PSA that my wife and I signed, a year and a half of email exchanges between myself and Brandon, along with the construction drawings, in order to substantiate my claims (all of which I am happy to share if anyone is interested).
    - Anita L.
  • C
    CK Custom Builders
    slow and  takes off in the middle of the day  to leave the work to inexperienced help  does not come back to correct all the problems     1st inline to get the money and then forgets about you
    - james h.
  • A
    Working with Brad has been great!  Although building a custom home is expensive and overwhelming at times, Brad has done a great job.  He has helped us manage our costs and is very cautious about "spending our money".  He's always in touch and very responsive.  Through the process, he's gotten to know my husband and me and our temperaments, so he asks us different questions now that he knows will be important to us, that may not be important to everyone.  Although Brad is friendly and personable with us, he is very professional and no-nonsense with the subs that he works with.  Brad has also been the interface with the Village for inspection and permits as well as the neighbors when there are concerns.  Everyone has been happy with his managing of these aspects as well.  It is clear that Brad works to build a home that he is proud of through and through and we really have enjoyed our experience because of him!
    - Stephanie G.
  • F
    R Lusiak Construction Company

    Demolision went well and took three weeks. 
    Reconstruction did not go well. There were long periods of absence from our job site and we later learned he was working on other odd jobs at the same time. Sometimes it seemed like he was gone more  than he was on site. He did not oversee the subcontractors he hired thus this lead to many problems both in work and costs.
    Lusiak  and his associate would remove personal items from the property, removed all the copper wiring and piping from the property and pocketed the salvage money. 
    He used a lot of reclaimed, smoke damaged, non sealed wood in the reconstruction process. Would not buy perfered replacement materials, in fact sending homeowner to do so.  What materials he did buy, many were poor quality and he did not use proper equipment to install bamboo floor, which he refuses  to supply warrenty for. Used watered down paint and refused to buy the paint homeowner wanted.
    Babysat his young grandson on job site many times, which homeown was very concerned about.
    Hired sub contractors to complete jobs he did not want  to do, but did not get approval for the costs and did not finish paying them.   Which lead to 1 lein and 1 threat of lein, thus homeowner paid for the services to cure the problem.  In fact at least one sub (Plummer) told him he would not work for insurance amounts but was still given the go ahead for open billing. 
    Took 7 months to reconstruct to a 90% completion, then walked off the job not completing the contracted services. At the end of the relationship, submitted a bill for $93,000. over the agreed amount to do the job for.  Would not even discuss the outragious bill with homeowner.  Then put a lein on the property to secure his payment. Which has lead to a lengthly lawsuite, 50+thousand dollars in legal fees for home owner and the possible loss of propery.  

    There are many other deals to this horrible ongoing experience. I have given only and overwiew.
    - Cynthia D.
  • A
    DESIGNfirst Builders LLC
    We had a good experice with DesignFirst in regards to what we wanted to accomplish and that was talk through what might be feasible for future remodeling in our new home.  They we very open, honest and courteous.   

    - Patrick M.
  • A
    Salman Builders
    Very well! I would use them again, and would highly recommend them.
    - Joyce P.
  • A
    Albano Builders Inc
    - jim s.
  • A
    - DAVID W.
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Home Builders in Palatine

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