Builder heads local quality, satisfaction lists

In terms of buyers pleased with their builder, Centex Homes ranked first in the Charleston area once again for national new-home contractors, according to a noted market researcher.

Centex was at the top in customer satisfaction for a fourth straight year, says 2009 studies by J.D Power and Associates on New-Home Builder Customer Satisfaction and New-Home Quality. The Texas-based company placed was first in new-home quality for the third consecutive time.

“The tough new-home market has created a fiercely competitive environment in which only the strongest companies have survived,” says Paula Sonkin, vice president of the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates. “Fortunately for buyers, this has resulted in notable improvements in customer satisfaction with home builders and new-home quality overall.”

Centex performs “particularly well” in the Charleston market in builder’s warranty-customer service staff, location and recreational facilities provided by the builder, according to J.D. Power. Following Centex Homes in order were Ryland Homes and Beazer Homes. Ryland scores best in construction manager, workmanship-materials and home readiness; and Beazer excels in builder’s sales staff, builder’s design center and price-value factors. Customer satisfaction rose as a whole in the Charleston area from 2008.

In the new-home quality category, Centex beat out Beazer and Ryland respectively. Home quality improved in the Charleston market from 2008.

The most reported problems were nail pops-exposed nails, landscaping issues and cabinet quality and finish.

J.D. Power’s studies also find that the median customer-reported home size in the Charleston market has decreased in 2009 to 2,007 square feet, down from 2,200 square feet in 2008.

“Mindful of current economic conditions, home builders are making an effort to build smaller, more affordable homes,” Sonkin says.

To be included in the studies, Charleston-area builders must have closed 150 or more homes in the market in 2008. The new homes are located in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.

Greystar, Operation Home mend houses

A charitable group and one of the largest apartment managers in the country have joined up to repair homes for the impoverished.

Dozens of people teamed Wednesday to launch “Operation Home: Greystar Blitz.”

The efforts by Greystar Real Estate Partners and Operation Home resulted in critical repairs and renovations being made to a half-dozen homes over a two-day period. More than 50 Greystar employees and volunteers repaired and renovated the houses in Awendaw, Huger, James Island, McClellanville and Mount Pleasant.

The work included fixing roofs, building wheelchair ramps, installing new kitchens, rebuilding foundations and reinforcing flooring. The homes will be

more hospitable and safer to live in for the low-income residents.

According to Operation Home, 2,300 homes in Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston counties lack complete kitchen or plumbing facilities.

“There is a tremendous need for the entire community to help nonprofits carry out their work,” says Anna Hamilton, executive director of Operation Home. “Greystar is showing real leadership on how businesses can get involved by organizing its team members to help relieve some of the worst housing conditions in our area.”

“Operation Home is a well-managed local organization focused on addressing a serious issue here in the Lowcountry,” says Wes Fuller, executive director of investments for Greystar. “We realized that Greystar’s housing expertise and Charleston-based team members could make a significant and immediate positive impact on a number of families.”

Operation Home, founded in 1997, helps low-income residents remain in their homes through increased safety and accessibility. Operation Home focuses on the people who need assistance the most: children, people with disabilities and older adults. The organization has made more than $1 million in repairs and modifications in the past 12 years.

Founded in 1993, Greystar Real Estate Partners specializes in multifamily management, development and investment throughout the country. Headquartered in Charleston, Greystar manages 150,000 units in more than 75 markets.

Realtor broadens staff

In keeping with its trend this year of new hires, Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate has added three agents recently.

They are Richard Albritton, Amy Nienstedt and Lesa Patton.

Albritton can be reached at (843) 530-9961 or via e-mail at ralbritton.pscre@gmail.com.

Nienstedt is available at (843) 425-9353 or anienstedt.pscre@gmail.com.

Patton can be reached at (843) 870-2455 or lpatton.pscre@gmail.com.

Summerville-based Prudential Southern Coast Real Estate serves Dorchester, Berkeley and Charleston counties.