My KB Home Buying Experience in SF Bay Area

KB Home, Built to Order!
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I purchased a new townhome built by KB Home back in 2011 in the SF Bay Area. I was a first time homebuyer and was not familiar with various home amenities. I was only adamant that the floorplan be functional. Growing up, my parents owned a single family home that had all the standards rooms: bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, family room, dining room, and living room. What I never understood was the purpose of room rarely used, such as the dining room and living room. With this experience, I wanted a home with more or less one big room, which could be arrange to any need. The townhomes in Sunnyvale by KB Home had just the floorplan I imagined. And then began the purchase process. Below are listed the pros and cons of the process:

  1. KB Home's slogan is "Built to Order", and general Pro to the whole process was the abundance of upgrade options which are displayed in their Home Studio in San Ramon. Unfortunately, the first Con was selecting too many upgrades would increase the appraised value of the house (thereby increasing not only the price of the home, but also the yearly property tax). A second Con here is the sales office at the site of construction does not have the price of upgrades. You see the price of upgrades only after agreeing to purchase the home with a non-refundable deposit.
  2. A huge Pro in my KB Home buying experience was the sales office at the construction site offered to bring homeowners to the construction site at various milestones (such as the pouring of the concrete, setting the frame, etc). Being my first home, this was a valuable opportunity to better understand my future home.
  3. Another Pro was the process in taking ownership of the home. Working with KB Home's preferred lender, Bank of America, was straightforward and easy to understand. After signing and initially page after page, I had my keys and was in my new home.
  4. All of the major appliances worked, and the structure and build of the home was (in my opinion) good quality. There were odds and ends that did not work, which they fixed. This is another Pro.. Examples from my home are power outlet faceplate missing, power outlet not working, and a noisy bathroom fan. They came over immediately had resolved those issues.
  5. The biggest construction issue I had was some of the wooden floor panels were not aligned correctly, revealing gaps in the flooring. KB Home had me contact the floor vendor (which I thought was pointless). The floor vendor tried to blame me for water damage (inside the hallway closet). It was beginning to become a headache, but KB Home came in and took over. Offered to fix the problem and they would resolve the issue with the flooring company. I wish they had done that from the start, but they did ultimately take ownership, which I consider a Pro.
  6. After 2 years, my extended family noticed the width of my garage door was smaller than my neighbors! He compared it by counting the squares (garage door design) and notice the end units had one more square (going horizontally) compared to the inside units. Because the home was purchased before construction began, this was something I did not notice. I do feel a bit cheated of KB Home, and list this as a Con.
  7. Another Con of purchasing a home before construction is I am unable to get a feel for the unit. The community is built right off the train tracks. During the sales process, they explain that because Sunnyvale has rails raised over the rails, the trains do not honk their horns. Therefore, I should only be expected to hear the noise of the train as it passes by. I was fine with that. What they didn't verbally disclose was the freight trains in the evening that are heavy enough to rattle the house! This in my opinion is a shady salesman tactic.

Like any new process, there are sure to be pros and cons that should be evaluated. I do feel KB Home put their best foot forward in customer service, but there are areas that can be improved. In a later article, I'll describe my experience living in my new KB Home townhouse.

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