Local home builders rated in survey of buyers in 2005

September 14, 2006|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Sun Reporter

As the housing market cools, a home builder's reputation for customer satisfaction can win over buyers, representatives of J.D. Power and Associates said yesterday in releasing its 10th annual new-home builder customer satisfaction study.

"For the past several years, builders have been in an order-taking mode, rather than a sales mode," said Paula Sorkin, executive director of the real estate industries practice at J.D. Power. "Builders that can provide a high level of customer satisfaction can differentiate themselves from the competition."

To gauge customer satisfaction in the Baltimore area, J.D. Power sent surveys to all buyers listed in 2005 public records who bought from builders with annual sales of at least 150 homes. In Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard and Talbot counties, 773 buyers responded. They ranked their builders on warranty; home readiness; sales staff; construction manager; quality of workmanship/materials; price/value; physical design elements; design center; recreational facilities and location.

The rankings are closely watched in the home-building industry and used in marketing, said John Kortecamp, executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Maryland.

Lou Baker, president of the Maryland division of Pulte Homes, the study's top-ranked builder in the Baltimore area, said the scores reflect the company's internal surveys.

A spokeswoman for Richmond American, which ranked sixth out of seven builders in the study, said the company had no comment. Gemcraft, which ranked seventh, could not be reached.

Lorraine Mirabella

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