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The Blame Game: Builder vs. Developer

Who Do You Blame? Everyone knows the builder, but do you know who the developer is in that community?

The Blame Game: Builder or Developer?

If there is a problem with delivery of amenities or if the clubhouse is not yet open, is the builder to blame?

Sometimes yes but often it might be the developer. If the infrastructure is delayed or the utilities are not yet connected, it will delay the builders ability to deliver your home. The success or failure of a new home community is just as much a result of a good developer who cares about his name and reputation as it is the quality of homes built.

What takes so long?

In some areas, the builder and the developer are one and the same. In Delaware that is not the case most of the time. The developer is responsible for getting all the approvals, determining how the community will look and feel, dealing with the utility companies and the state and county agencies and getting the lots ready for the builder or builders. That can take years and several attempts to get approval for a community that all can agree to. Are the streets straight up and down, or do they curve around ponds and wetlands? Are there trees and open areas that are nicely landscaped? That is the developer, not the builder, and the result of county or town ordinances and even State regulations.

Where are the trees?

If we are in Coastal Delaware and this is a new community, most likely it was a cornfield last year. If there are no trees it isnt because they were clear cut. Buyers will pay a premium for a treed lot so it is unlikely a developer will cut down more trees than necessary, even if they were allowed to.

Where is the clubhouse, the pool and other amenities?

When the market was hot and houses were selling quickly, the clubhouse and amenities were often built when the community was brand new. Then the market came to a screeching halt, and in this world, a certain number of homes had to be sold before any amenities could be built. Now in an improving market we have a mix of both. The stronger the builder and developer financially, the more likely the amenities will be built early in the process. For smaller privately-held builders or smaller communities we need to ask the questions before making a purchase decision. As one of my clients said, Kathy, I want to be able to take a swim while I still can! He is already in his 70s but you would never know it by looking at him.

When will it all be complete?

We could talk all day about this one. Why does one community seem to go so quickly while another community seems to go in spurts? It can all depend on the relationship between the builder and the developer. If they are one and the same or at least on the same page, its amazing how quickly a new home community can go from start to completion.

Four Seasons at Silver Maple

One such community is Four Seasons at Silver Maple, a K. Hovnanian community in Middletown, Delaware. The relationship between the land owner/developer and the builder has been a true partnership and it shows. K. Hovnanian had input into the community design and layout and this has been one of the fastest selling communities in Delaware. Sales began in 2012 and already there are approximately 144 houses sold. When complete there will be 299 single family homes in a beautiful park-like setting of 199 acres. The clubhouse, pool and all the amenities will be open by Memorial Day Weekend 2014. Everything surrounding the community is known, permanent and good which means it will remain an attractive residential area for many years to come.

No two communities are the same on almost any level. Some builders have long term relationships with specific developers but there are many different pairings in communities throughout Delaware. We dont have all the answers but we do know the questions to ask.

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