I have used their service from Dec 28th, 2015 to May 25th, 2016 for a master bedroom addition and complete house remodeling (kitchen, existing bathroom, existing bed rooms and living room)
I first know of My Home Builders from Yelps. They have about 25 reviews and all of them are positive. I called to make an appointment. The owner came to my house a few days later. He asked very detail questions. For example, I say I want to paint the interior of the house, he then asks me how many colors that I plan to paint, does the paint job include the ceiling, doors, baseboard trims etc. Some I haven’t thought in my initial plan.
I have received a quote with detail description for the jobs with a total bidding amount. It also includes a payment plan. You might have difficulty to compare the bidding with My Home Builders’ if you make some small changes in between the bidding. Because quote from My Home Builders does not itemize with a price list, say, each interior door (32”X 80”) will cost you $XXX. It also make it hard to answer the questions when I show off the final remodeling results to my friends. They ask how much is the kitchen when all I have is the estimate for the wholesome projects.
Even with the detail description on the jobs, a lot of them are redundant to the regular customers. (They are probably important to the architects or engineers). For example, do I really care about stating putting stud 16” apart to make a wall? Probably not. That is the reason I hire the professional to do the jobs. As a customer, I am more interested in what is included and what is not up front. For example, the quote mentions of installing 4’ x 6’ double panel slide vinyl windows. What it does not say is the brand of the windows. I have 7 windows installed during the whole remodeling projects. I ended up with two brands (Milgard and Jeld-Wen), three different panel locks (leveler, push buttons, clamps). If overall consistency is what you are looking for, you may want to ask more details on each tasks before you sign the contract.
There are basically two kinds of contractors. A handyman/business owner who is also working the jobs on site (he may have his helpers or getting day-labors from Home Depot), or a central office that guides its teams or subcontractors. My Home Builders, Inc belongs to later. I don’t verify if the crews from My Home Builders are subcontractors but I do saw some crew members drive trucks with other company’s logo. However, when I ask more tasks on the site and offering additional payment upfront, they are still asking me to pay directly to the office. Regardless if there is subcontractor or not, the craftsmanship is outstanding.
One thing deal with central office style is that every job instruction has to come from the office. Even if you are on the job site and want to make some demands/modifications, the crews will very politely decline and ask you to call the office to get the request approved, which may be frustrating sometimes as the project manager may be out of reach when you needed the most.
The company loves to have permits from top executives to the bottom crews. They do respect my decision not to submit permit application on one of the tasks.
There are some tasks that they don’t do and instead, I will get a referral. I have tried three from their recommendation: Low voltage wiring, HVAC and shower glass doors. Some are good, some are not so great. Some are good bargain, some are overpriced. Overall, you still need to look out for a good deal by reaching out.
This is probably their weakest link. Because this is an office in central control, every communication has to pass from the project manager, to the foreman, to the crew team leader, and finally to the workers. I have some incidents that they are doing the jobs wrong. For examples, I have completely rearranged the kitchen sink/stove locations. But when the plumber came, he simply replaced the existing pipes because he didn’t receive the correct kitchen layout plan. Fortunately, a few phone calls/txts correct the issues. But it was a stressful situation.
One of the best strength of My Home Builders. Crews work 6 days a week (exclude holidays) once I signed the contract. Sometimes, I will have 6~7 members working on different tasks on the same day. Considering that they have 12 projects (or 12 job sites) when I sign mine, this is very impressive. For comparison, there is another home remodeling project in my neighborhood with similar scale (master bedroom addition, complete kitchen/whole house remodeling). It started two months before I started mine. As for now, almost two months after My Home Builders finished my project, it still hasn’t completed.
Depending on the urgency of the requests, or questions, the responding time can be immediately, or a few days later either by phone, txt or email from the project manager. In addition, the receptionist is always there to take my phone calls and take notes. Interestingly, the voice mail on the project manager’s cell phone is full when I tried to leave a message. I choose txt and email anyway.
One of the most uncontrollable expenses is the hidden cost associated with the extra requests during the contract. Because without competition, the constructor can ask whatever the price they want. As for My Home Builders, the price stays reasonable. I had asked adding more tasks during the remodeling: Tank-less water heater, ceiling wall re-enforcement and electric panel relocation. These three increase the budget up to $16.6 K which is about 11% over the estimate.
One of the good strength that My Home Builders have is that they don’t charge on small requests. For example, if you sign up an electric project and want to add, say one more electric outlet, change ceiling fan etc., during the process, most likely they will agree to do it without additional cost. However, they will not do Ikea assembling, just in case if you have some PAX closet system purchase like me and want to get it installed.
The project manager will inform me about payment depending on the progress. The payment plan is not on fixed installments. Rather, it depends on when a specific task has been started/completed. The payment amount varies as well. At the end of last payment, which is listed as passing final inspection, I receive a complementary fruit basket as a token of appreciation.
As the office like my design, a professional photographer is hired to take the final pictures. A complete walk-through follows a few days later. I was suggested to write a review, which I am glad to do so.
In my opinion, DIY probably is the best thing you can do because you can control every step on the projects and all will be done precisely according to your plans… if you know the codes, handy enough and have the time. Besides DIY, My Home Builders come very close. There are some small projects may be more suitable for DIY, but for big projects like complete home remodeling or room addition, I will give my recommendation. The final craftsmanship is outstanding. The quality/price index are excellent (they are not cheap but reasonable).