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Home Builder reviews in Stockdale

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  • Note: This review was cut down from 24K characters and 4200 words to meet the Angle?s List 10K character limit. This shortened review leaves out a lot.
    This review covers an 17 month duration and 13 months of actual construction time. The owner, Jonathan Niemietz, bought out Heines Homes, with whom we had originally met. Our contract was under Double K Homes. We started this process in October 2011. Work was started on February 9, 2012. Our contact allowed for 6 months of construction time, which meant that the house should have been complete in August 2012. The house was not complete enough to start the closing process until October 2013, and the punch list still has still not been completed, as of April 1, 2013. There were many major problems and an almost daily list of small problems. Most of the problems were a result of negligent site management.
    The owner's brother, Josh, was mis-handling our site management for the first 11 months. He was replaced with another manager, Bobby Oliva, on January 1, 2013. Bobby seems to be plenty qualified.
    My biggest management problem, at this point, is with the owner, Jonathan. He denied the problems throughout construction and chose to prioritize his brother's version of events over the customer's. Jonathan has yet to apologize for the delays and errors, although Bobby has apologized profusely. I appreciate Bobby's sympathies, but the owner should be making every effort possible to right the many wrongs. Josh and Jonathan were both guilty of communication lapses and a complete lack of attention to detail. The process unfolded like a tract home construction site, even though it was a custom home. The subs seemed completely unaware of our custom selections and there was virtually no site management by Double K.
    After several months, and several major errors, we demanded weekly meetings with the site manager, after being told that they normally only met with the owners a couple times during construction. We were on site every single day, for an average of two hours a day, and we updated the site manger and owner when there were errors or concerns, via text, phone message and/or email. However, we almost never received any written confirmation of our concerns. More often than not, our concerns went ignored by Josh, until we called Jonathan. Then we would suddenly get a response from Josh, but the actual problem was not addressed, or addressed much too late, causing additional problems. I begged to sign documents giving my approval for various selections, but was almost always blown off and was told it wasn't necessary. Even though I have extensive email records and daily log notes, there is almost no record that they acknowledged any problems, as they went out of their way to avoid written confirmation of my concerns.
    In October 2012, we had our first, of three, final inspections, which cited many things. Two bathroom windows needed to be replaced with tempered glass. I was told last Fall that the glass was ordered, but had been delayed by Hurricane Sandy. In December I was told the glass was in, but was waiting for installation. In February, I was advised that the glass was never ordered, and in March it was finally installed. Similarly, our metal roof was installed without any venting, so the inspector required a ridge venting system to be installed. I was told for months that the parts had arrived, but that the installers were coming "next week". In January, I was doing a site check and found worked drilling holes for ventilation in the roof. Concerned, I notified Bobby, who stopped further drilling. Yet again, the parts were never ordered. The ridge venting was finally installed in February 2013. This mis-management and flat out lying has been typical throughout the construction.
    Despite meeting with the electrician prior to the foundation pour and signing off on the location of our electrical floor plugs, they were both misplaced by several feet, which placed one set in the entry hall, rather than in the living room. More than a year later, the repaired area has still not been diamond polished to match the rest of our concrete flooring.
    One kitchen counter was designed to be a peninsula, and was shown as such on the floor plan and the 3D renderings, but it was framed as a supporting wall for the 2nd story. A room entry door was framed 3 feet to the left of where the floor plans showed, causing half of the doorway to be blocked by the fridge. It took three tries before it was corrected.
    Another problem was with our stone for the exterior if the house. We selected a custom stone for the exterior wainscoting, and we paid an extra $6,500 for the upgraded stone. However, what was installed was a completely different color from what we approved.
    We also had a multitude of smaller errors and managerial problems. We were never provided with a schedule or deadlines for selections, as was required by contract. I begged for finish selection deadlines from the day we signed, and yet, for most decisions and selections that had to be made, I was given only a few days, or maybe a week's notice, if I was lucky. This was the case for our lighting fixtures and our tile and upstairs flooring selections. I was given less than a week's notice for both of these very major decisions
    The lighting installation was awful, and we had major problems with the installers losing parts and blaming me, only to find the "lost" parts were exactly where I said they were, with the rest of the delivered order. Several "lost" parts, that caused delays, were blamed on me. I actually went dumpster diving at the jobsite and found a bunch of the "lost" items in the on site dumpster, still in the package.
    During construction, we were told multiple times that we would be told when the water needed to be piped over from our well to the house. We were given one week?s notice, yet again, to meet a ridiculous deadline. We made it happen, bringing the water line to the house. The plumber connected the water and it was turned on. Several pipes burst and we found major leaks in about 10 places throughout the house. Holes were cut in a dozen places in drywall, rock and stucco, trying to find the leaks. We were told that they were all corrected and the water was turned back on. But two more leaks were found. More rock and drywall was pulled down, and the leaks were fixed. No water was turned on until after the house was basically finished. In fact, the leaks were being fixed in October 2012, when our inspector was onsite for the final inspection.
    Our floorplans and 3D renderings included a full set of cabinet designs and layouts. And yet, when the cabinets were installed, every set was different that the floor plans. Rather than correcting all of the cabinets, we had to negotiate with Josh to fix roughly half.
    The owner should been doing whatever it takes to fix this debacle. Had he handled the blame game differently, this review would be much different. But the owner, who is ultimately responsible for his business' success or failure, made excuses for the last year and blamed my husband and I for our custom choices, rather than recognizing that his brother was not an able site manager. He ignored the red flags we told him about and believed his brother's version, without meeting with us and seeing the problems himself. Even now, after his brother has been replaced, we have not heard any response or apology from him. This complete lack of customer service is the largest reason these problems even occurred. Had the owner investigated our claims, he could have corrected the management problems and errors months earlier. Instead, he created a situation where the customers became increasingly frustrated and disappointed, and even more problems, errors and delays occurred.
    Had my husband and I not been at the job site every single day, I question how many of these problems would have been missed. I suspect all of them, since I was never told or notified by Josh of any problems. My husband and I notified Josh of all of these problems, not the other way around. That by itself is a clear demonstration of the clear lack of site supervision by Double K. Bobby found several problems himself, and addressed them to me. Several had been previously discussed with Josh, but had never been documented by Double K. At least Bobby is out there most weeks checking on progress and reviewing the work, without me demanding meetings.
    We had a ton of litter (both construction debris, like concrete chunks, and food litter, like beer cans and food wrappers) and it has not been cleaned up to this day. After a year of TONS of trash blowing around, it has now blown all over our neighbor's property, which has been a major sore spot with them, understandably. A huge pile of concrete is still in our front yard.
    These delays, caused us to be 8 months behind schedule. It has affected us and has caused innumerable inconveniences and problems in our personal lives and at work. The trickle down problems have been never ending. And, we have been left paying construction interest, bills for utilities that have been active for 6+ months, and lawyer bills, after we had to hire legal counsel to make progress with the construction and closing. We have wasted at least $25,000 in these completely unnecessary expenditures, which has caused all kinds of financial stress.
    We are now beyond the 20 days allowed after closing to finish the punch list, and only two repairs have been made. As a customer, I would have hoped that the owner would have moved mountains to finish everything before we moved, in an effort to make up for all of these other problems. But instead, the excuses continue.
    Thankfully, this experience is winding down. I don't wish an experience like this on anyone, and I hope this review helps someone avoid this builder.


    - Bonnie L.
  • We initially contacted Heines Homes to build a custom rural home. During the time we made contact the company, it was bought out by the contractor we were meeting with and is now named "Double K Homes". I will review our (horrible) experience under the Double K Homes name, as our contact is under that name. Heines Homes is no longer in business, as it was bought out by Double K Homes. The staff and sub contractors are largely the same. Please read my Double K Homes review.
    - Bonnie L.
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