Schumacher Homes - opinions?

March 22, 2011

Many years ago I used to read this forum because my husband and I planned on building upon our move to the Carolinas. However, we ended up buying a house and have been in it for four years. We are now once again entertaining the idea of building a house, and are seriously interested in Schumacher Homes. We toured one of their model homes and love the floorplan (The Sonoma). We think we may be able to start the process of building by Summer 2012.

We will be building in the Charlotte metro area, and I wonder if anyone has experience with the Schumacher offices in the NC/SC area? Or even Schumacher in general? I know there was a thread on here many years ago when we were first looking into building, but I'd love to hear more recent feedback as well as from those who have been in their Schumacher homes for a while now.

Some details: we own 1/2 an acre of land already, and it will require a septic tank system since there is no sewer available. Natural gas is available. The lot is slightly sloped to the back of the property line. We plan on building a crawlspace foundation.

Thanks in advance for any responses!

Comments (185)

  • cpartist

    Remember tabilauren, you do get what you pay for.

  • Jack

    We made the regretful decision and built with Schumacher. I will gladly post pictures and let you decide the quality whenever this project comes to an end. At this point, we wish we would have bought something for less and remodeled it ourselves.

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  • carra

    So you did end up with them, Jack? Sorry about that.

  • thelodges

    Eeeek. Sorry jack. Hate to hear that. What issues have you had? Also where did y’all build?

  • Valerie Peterson

    Hello I'm considering this company, the one out of the Raleigh area in NC. Is there anyone that has any feedback??

  • millworkman

    * Tract.

  • keikee
    Hi everyone,

    The couple next door to us used Schumacher (Charleston, SC). The house has held up well thru the last two storms.

    The only things I know for sure because I was told by the homeowner are;

    The lady of the house said she had workman coming to her door for a solid month after they moved in. There were several electrical issues, one involving exterior lights. Specifically, the ones by the garage and front door(s) & something inside but I don't know what.

    Issues with interior & exterior trim work that I know were upgrades.

    Sloppy painting in some interior spaces.
    I dont know of anything other than those things but I do know the homeowners are detailed people and haven't let any "not up to snuff" workmanship go without being tended to.

    The Schumacher builder has taken care of each issue in a timely manner and though frustrating at times, they seem happy with the home.

    Oh! The layout/floor plan is really inviting. Walk in the front door and its open concept. To the right is a dining table then a nicely curved staircase that seems almost without support but there's a wall between the dining and great room just wide enough to use as a support. The great room has a very tall ceiling and accommodates a wall of windows which over looks the river. The kitchen and pantry to the far right.

    Theres one small bedroom on the main floor which the l.o.t.h turned into a dressing room. Upstairs is the master and 2 more bedrooms.
    That's really all can think of at the moment.
  • keikee
    Tabitha, we worked with "Arnett Construction and Arnett Custom Homes, LLC".
  • Netiemay
    @ Aurelio Bianco
    Did you end up building with them and if so, how is it going/did it go? We are in the area too and considering them... TIA.
  • mrsaudiq5

    We live in Charleston SC. Already signed contract to build with Schumacher..other builders cost way more with less square footage and architectural fees so expensive..also don't wait too long to decide because the prices of Schumacher homes increase after March 31st..wish me luck! Will keep everyone posted

  • Nadyne Stallsmith

    As of right now we are 50% done with our house and can’t say enough about Schumacher Homes. We are building in the Youngstown, Ohio area and the office we went through was in Ravenna, Ohio. Our site manager Is amazing. He has kept us updated on everything that is being done and talks to my husband almost on a daily basis.. They are ahead of schedule and expected to be done by the middle of April. Very pleased so far!

  • corwinswan

    Did Jack ever post pictures?

  • cpartist

    Ever notice the only ones who post positive things are those with only 1 post?

  • mrsaudiq5

    I haven't post in a while because of waiting on underwriters,meeting with builder and discussing site preparation, and designer selection. Please be aware that they will not be specific about what allowances really means and your initial quotes are not bottom line number. Once you have the first two initial meetings you are no longer considered a new customer and not allow to make changes without being charged. They will nickel and dime you.. So make sure you kno everything you want and make sure you read the fine prints and that the quotes will not change. It was very frustrating but I'm in the next phase to hopefully close soon. I still have no idea what the charges for drive way, land clearing etc these are all part of they allowance.. So they chose what they cover and they will not tell you the amount they will or will not cover..I pray all goes well from here on

  • cmbmesa
    My question to you then, is if you weren’t sure what the allowances would cover, why didn’t you cover those expenses yourself instead of letting the builder do it? The lot clearing and driveway installation could have been done out of pocket and the allowance then deducted for your final cost. Then you would have known exactly how much those services would cost rather than an upcharge fee.
  • Roger Dodger

    Sounds similar to what we did. The TK rep told us to go heavy on the allowances (for site work) so that we wouldn't have to pay extra out of pocket when the excavator's bills came in, and we might even get money back if they came in less than we thought. We came out pretty close to break even. I think we were short on septic...$8600 instead of the $7k we allowed because they had to add a pump since the leach field was higher than the tanks. I also didn't allow enough for DPL electricity. I had to pay them out of pocket since they basically r@ped me extending their service up our 600' driveway. That's a whole different story...

  • mrsaudiq5


    Unfortunately we don’t have the option to pay upfront for driveway. They only allow their site workers to do driveway..we can pay out of pocket once we kno the initial cost. We can hire someone for Septic tank and lot clearing but to their approval. Our drive way is close to 600 feet as well so we have to use gravel half way due to cost. Also we finally closed on the house.

  • Christina
    We live in the Akron Canton area in Ohio, we break ground next week with our new Schumacher home. We went way over budget, however, this was all our fault because of the upgrades we chose for forever home. So far there has been no unexpected fees and we have made several changes, as we completely redid the entire inside of the home (Change rooms,changed walls, everything). After reading several negative reviews I was very hesitant but I am very happy that I have chosen Schumacher so far, has been a wonderful experience and have been very patient with me LOL.
  • Christina
    @nydinestallsmith any updates on your building project? Are you happy so far?
  • Christina
    @nadynestallsmith how is your project building coming along? Are you happy so far?
  • amhoneycutt

    To anyone considering building with Schumacher, do not do it! We finished our build and moved in in March 2013. We had so many problems with the contractor and horrible work. They use the cheapest sub contractors possible. It's like it's their first time building a house. Every time we would complain something didn't look right, it was the "close enough" mentality. "Oh, those 30 foot walls up the stairwell are really hard to get sheet rock even on." The sheet rock in the upstairs bonus room looked like a child had done it. They redid part but it is still horrible. We've had water leaks in our master bath window and back french doors. So much that it turned our hardwood floor black from mold. Our dining room floor hardwoods have split where the foundation is totally off. They came back after a year to fix things, and said it was just a hot/cold expansion issue with the floor split. They fixed minor issues like the moldings being uneven on baseboards, and did replace the damaged flooring from aforementioned water leak, but did not actually fix the leak, so it has happened again. Just don't use Schumacher.

  • Christina

    Just an update... we broke ground with Schumacher Homes mid June 2018, Everything is going as expected and I am very happy with them. Our builder is doing a Great job monitoring the subcontractors and is continuously in contact with us. You can follow my Instagram account @

    casa_de_sus_suenos for updates and pics (I post frequently on there). I am having so much fun building this house and would use them again!! :)

  • HomeInTheMountains

    My husband and I have had our first meeting with a Schumacher building rep and are very please so far. He has gone above and beyond in just one week to make changes, provide quotes on two other models we were considering, has gone back and forth with us about different options we were considering, has made changes to the floor plan so that the model we really want fits into our budget and we don't have to compromise on all of the interior options. We have chosen the Willow Creek model and plan to make some interior changes later. We figure we will have the house we want and can do a bit of remodeling later when we can afford it. Thanks to the Schumacher rep, there will be much less of that than there would have been initially, and we appreciate that. We are not in our twenties or thirties and are a bit "older" so this will be the home that we probably and hopefully spend the rest of our lives in. We are very excited, although we are still a bit nervous about this whole process! The Schumacher rep has been very straightforward and honest about every option, every expense, and has provided us with our itemized quote. We have our second meeting this coming Monday to go over some of our decisions and some paperwork. Hopefully we will finalize some things soon. He told us that getting the permits and all of the documentation "things" done typically takes about 90 days and then they'll break ground. From that day, he said they have 6 months to complete the home. That puts at about July 2019. I also would like to add that we have met with numerous other builders in this area and have found that the going rate here is at the least about $200 per sf. We were shocked at that because that has only happened in the past couple of years. We had almost set our minds on a custom builder who told us that he could build us a quality home, but it would have to be no more than 1100 sf and there was no way we could have a second floor. I thought my dream was a thing of the past. We had pretty much been told the same thing by every other builder. With Schumacher, our total cost for everything puts our home at about $136 per sf, which is $21 per sf over the post "per sf price" to cover upgrades, grading, excavation, and the "safety net". Does everyone get charged the same $3000 for a safety net? Is that too personal? I had just never heard of that. Ok, just wanted to put in my 2 cents and say that so far, we are very very pleased with the way we've been treated. I'll keep you all updated.

  • Denita

    @Sandy Burleson, please check your contract for delivery dates. The builder's rep can verbally promise a date of "6 months to complete the home" but that doesn't over ride the written agreement you have with the builder. In every production builder contract I have seen (many), the written delivery time is up to 2 years and not six months. I mention this so you aren't caught unaware. A verbal statement by the builder doesn't change the written contract - no matter what is said. To change dates or anything in the contract, you would have to have an addendum to the contract signed by the parties.

    As to the "safety net" specified: what type of contract do you have with your builder? Are there allowances? If so, this is where the additional costs are coming from over and above the stated contract price. Is the safety net also an allowance? Sounds like it.

  • carra

    It's a red flag when anyone can offer a price significantly lower than everyone else in the area...

  • millworkman

    The flag becomes even redder when they start quoting by the sq ft...............................

  • Barbara Woolmington

    Be afraid, be very afraid. My wife and I went through a similar experience with Schumacher, where the sales rep was absolutely wonderful and we went through the entire design process and ready to sign the contract, but when I reviewed it and tried to discuss my concerns with them, I was told that there were absolutely no changes allowed, even small ones to clarify that what the sales rep promised me in the sales office was true, when the contract said the exact opposite. I'm a very experienced contract negotiator who worked in the shopping center industry for over 30 years before retiring and moving to Asheville. I can honestly say that it was the absolute worst one-sided contract that I have ever seen in 40+ years of business. If you sign it, you have basically signed a one sided contract that completely protects the builder and has zero protection for the client. Despite what you are promised, they can change the "guaranteed price" for almost any reason, they have no obligation to ever deliver the house to you except for a very small penalty that applies if the house is over 6 months late, but it could be several years late for the same small penalty. It's a "Trust Me" contract that basically says, despite whatever you were promised, including the guaranteed price, nothing that was promised by the sales rep will be honored because the contract negates everything you were promised or led to believe you would get.

    If you had this contract reviewed by an attorney, not one of them would allow you to sign it, because it's that bad. Remember the old adage, "if it's too good to be true, it probably is", because it absolutely applies here. Schumacher has a very slick business model, with the beautiful model home (that in no way reflects what you will get, because everything you like about the model is an "extra".) very friendly and trusting sales people who promise that everything will come out perfectly (on time construction and at the fixed price) but the fine print in the non-negotiable contract says basically that they will do what they can to get you a house built close to what was promised, but that there are no guarantees about price, quality, timing or anything else. They keep the quoted price down by the tried & true "Bait & switch" concept. My conclusion was that in a construction market where there are a lot of unemployed contractors, no demand for housing and material prices are soft, you might get the basic house you were promised but with the lowest possible quality workmanship. In the housing market we now have here in Asheville, you will get whatever they end up getting from the contractors who can't get contracts elsewhere, whenever they happen to get it finished. The contract is so bad that once the buyer discovers what a pickle they got themselves into, they can only cancel by agreeing to pay Schumacher "100% of the profits that they would have made if they built the house" which is completely undefined and would lead to a lawsuit, unless you agreed to pay them whatever they demanded. Even the refundable deposit is non-refundable according to the contract. Because my business involved reviewing and approving potential retail tenants business plans, I have always been interested a companies "business model" works. Schumacher's business model is to promise everything, work with you to design your dream home until you are so deeply invested in the process that you can't back out, then get you to sign a contract that guarantees nothing and gives them an iron clad contract that guarantees them a profit no matter how badly the job goes. It's a Win-Lose business model that relies on unsophisticated home buyers hoping to get a house built for less than market (something for nothing) and signing a contract that gives them no rights whatsoever. Once the buyer hired an attorney, they would be told that they signed away all their rights and that there is nothing that could be done except to walk away from a partially built home and pay Schumacher 100% of whatever "potential profits" they demanded and then start over with another builder. As good as the low price per sq. ft. sounds, remember that there is no free lunch. I learned a long time ago the difference between the cheapest bid and the best bid. Don't be fooled or you will live to regret it.

  • carra

    CW - we had the same experience with the Asheville Schumacher. My husband also negotiates contracts for a living and that was when we decided to walk away.... just a few days before we were to sign the contract.

  • Christina
    I just have to say, I think if you go into a situation overly paranoid snd looking for fault you’ll get what you expect. My husband and I are good honest people and we sat down and talked with the manager and our sales rep before signing our contract. There has been no unexpected fees or surprise costs at this point. There has been a few little bumps in the road as expected with any contractor, but they have stepped up this far and have fixed those things to our expectations and what we wanted or were expecting in our home. At this point I am still very happy I chose Schumacher and am very pleased with the quality of the home (As I said if it wasn’t to my quality standard ...it was fixed to my quality standard). I will definitely keep you all updated as we continue through our building journey with Schumacher homes, but I just don’t see a disappointing outcome. I think they are a wonderful building team!
  • ulisdone

    People should also keep in mind that it is the details inside the walls, roof, and foundation that determine how a house will "live". You may be only paying $150 per sq ft in the Asheville market, but if the structure has not been detailed correctly with proper connections, sealing, and insulation you will be paying much more every month in heating and cooling. And utilities are going to keep rising...

  • HomeInTheMountains

    Wow! Lots of input to think about for sure and I truly appreciate it all. At this point we’re very excited but not “locked in” because we are still waiting on some ideas from someone else. He’s just really slow so we thought we’d at least have a “plan b” in case he didn’t come through ! He’s also very busy and Schumacher saw us right away. Is it customary to hire an attorney to go over the contract before you sign? I mean would that be something that would be advisable?

  • DLM2000-GW

    Is it customary to hire an attorney to go over the contract before you sign? I mean would that be something that would be advisable?

    You're entering into one of, if not THE most expensive transaction you will ever have in your life with a complicated, multi-page contract. Why would you NOT have an attorney go over it? Who else is going to look out for your interests? Whether it's Schumacher or any other builder, the cost of legal advice on the front end is money well spent.

  • Nadyne Stallsmith

    @Christina. Sorry I didn't update.

    @Christina Sorry I never finished posting. House was complete in the middle of May. 108 days they took to build. Couldn't be happier with our home! Suggestions: 1. during final walk through and before inspect everything. We found some minor items that needed fixed. For example: a nick in the cabinet, hole on an inside closet door, a grab between the beams and ceiling. Mark those items down on the contract. They had no problem fixing the items we listed prior to signing the house over. 2. Our final grade for the yard was not a final grade as we were expecting. You will need to hire a contractor/excavator to finish the job. 3. When you can, hire your own contractors to do the extras like cement work for the driveway or the excavator to do the rough grade (much cheaper). 3. Paint - FYI you may want to upgrade on the paint. I didn't realize they would use a flat finish and didn't think about it when picking out my paint colors. very hard to clean when marks are left on the walls. All in all, even through the base price is cheap and the upgrades are what gets you, it was still cheaper a sf than going with a local contractor and I now have a custom house that I love.

  • HomeInTheMountains

    All of you are providing such good advice and info. Like I said, this will be the first building experience for both my husband and myself and we are, needless to say, a little "nervous" about it!! Just trying to have our ducks in a row (so to speak).

    Can anyone talk more about their experience with the "upgrade" choices experience? If you want to make choices for, say, flooring that they do not provide; do you just tell them what you want, provide them with the information, and find your own person to install it? Or do you provide them with the information and wait on them to tell you how much THEY will charge to install it? I'm just not quite clear on all of that. Also, has anyone had white appliances with white cabinets and found that there was any issue with there being a difference in the whites? I think we'll go with stainless steel, but if that's one "extra" expense I could go without, I would prefer white over black in a white cabinet kitchen I think. Just wondered about this. And.....do any of the rest of you lose sleep, just lying there in your bed thinking about color palettes and rug patterns and such?!!! LOL!!

    I'm sure you know what I mean! I have always dreamed of having a mint green (not neon mint, just a very subtle, old fashioned) kitchen with white cabinets, brick floors, and white cabinets like my grandmother had. And open floor plan would allow me to make the kitchen/dining area a large "eat-in kitchen" style that I am dreaming of. BUT....an open floor plan like that would also present an issue with color. I just can't imagine having a mint green living room/great room. Transitioning from the kitchen area to the great room area doesn't seem to be an option as far as changing colors so, I'm trying to come to a happy medium. I have seen (on Pinterest and on Houzz of course) some pretty pictures with green cabinets and white walls; but just don't know about a life with mint green cabinets either. So, back to the drawing board as they say! Again, thank you ALL for being so helpful and honest.

  • Tony Laush
    1. Schumacher Homes-RUN AWAY, RUN FAR AND FAST from this builder (Greensburgh PA) Signed a contact with Schumacher in December 2016 and not finished as promised or at bid costs. Build on my lot in noth Pittsburgh and finally moved in this July, 2018. Mortgage converted to conventional from construction loan 6 months prior to being able to move in. 6 months in delays due to contractors and GM not knowing local building and township codes. Schumacher GM never on site and monitoring build and contractors didn't have correct plans or updated change orders-nightmare. Numerous foundation/home layout

    changes and a landslide was caused (right side of picture) by careless contractors, costing an additional $70,000 above original bid (additional excavation, foundation modifications, much steeper grade from original plans and engineering surveys and additional drawings). Still really rough grade left, landscape needs done at my expense (we knew this, but not expecting property to be left in such rough condition). We had to add additional property drainage and all new gravel was needed ($8,000)(they burried original gravel cleaning up landslide) and no 10x20 cement patio installed as promised at the basement walkout, and it is almost 2 yesrs since signing the contract. Excuses and more excuses and no call backs from subs or Schumacher. Home construction is OK, nothing like in the showroom or model. Original bid $380,000, on my lot and final costs $450,000 and we are far from done. Has anyone had success in suing this company? Call me for details (Tony 828-832-6897).

  • HomeInTheMountains

    So....(I changed my user i.d. but I'm the most recent person who was asking for input about Schumacher I think). My husband and I took the Purchase Agreement to an attorney who specializes in RE contracts and such and after thoroughly reading through it, and our agreement with our credit union, he said that we have a solid and safe agreement that is pretty standard for contractors, etc. He did not find anything to be concerned about nor anything that "raised his eyebrows" as he put it and advised us to proceed. This made me feel SO much better after having read all of the various comments on experiences people have had (not necessarily in our area, but all over). We then went around and got some references on the builder who Schumacher has assigned to build our home and got nothing but wonderful comments about his professionalism, skill, knowledge, punctuality, integrity, and honesty. I was concerned about all of the "nickel and dime-ing" comments and I am aware of quite a bit of that; but specifically about the window trim, that does happen to be included in our home. As a part of the Purchase Agreement, All window trim, including window sills are included at no extra charge and then painted to owner's specifications. I'm not sure if this is on a house by house basis, but it is included on our house. There was not nearly as much grading needed on our property as they allowed for on the Purchase Agreement, so they have already noted that on our agreement and in the information to our credit union. (We were VERY happy not to have to pay as much as we thought!! That was a nice surprise!) They were able to Take 2' off of one side of the house, and enlarge the laundry room, and readjust the location of the island in the kitchen so that my kitchen/dining area is now more of the "eat-in kitchen" I wanted. The decrease in cost that taking 2' off one side of the house (which meant about 70'sf total out of the house) saved us enough money so that we got the wood floors we wanted and a few other things that were more important to us than that 70'sf. There is just the two of us and while space is nice, our hardwood stairs, new furniture, beautiful front porch and especially beautiful laundry room is way more meaningful to us. So...we still have a long way to go and I will keep you all posted and I will be completely honest along the way. So far we are very happy and looking forward to the rest of this adventure!!

  • Christina
    @homeinthemountains ...
    Who Is your sales person in Asheville? Congratulations on your dream home! Do you have an account on Instagram? You can follow me at Casa_de_sus_suenos
  • HomeInTheMountains

    We have our "pre-construction" meeting in two days. I'm a little nervous. Have been doing a lot of "back and forth" up til now but have been following attorney's advice about what to stand strong on and what to negotiate on and what to be more flexible on. I've never had to advocate for myself (and my husband of course) so strongly as this before (as a consumer) and although it is very comforting to have a well known attorney advising us; it is still so out of my comfort zone to have to be doing things like this! Does not feel like me at all!! But hopefully, the outcome will be worth it. My husband's temper is just not conducive to something like this, so we decided it would be better for me to be the "mediator/negotiator" LOL!! Casa_de_sus_suenos I do have an Instagram account and have been checking yours out! Beautiful home! I know you must be so proud. In 2 days we will know for sure and if we have to lose that deposit, which I've heard some people do, then so be it. But, at this point, I'm feeling pretty good about things. Will keep you all updated. Have a great night.

  • Christina
    What is your IG user name? Reach out and send me a message. This is a big decision and it is very scary! We went through the same emotions.
  • Christina
    @homeinthemountains... I think some people lose their deposit depending on how far they were in the process prior to canceling their contract, if you had prints made etc. which I think is completely fair. We had two pre-con meetings, which I highly suggest, especially if you made a lot of changes to your design.
  • HomeInTheMountains

    Thank you Christina I can agree with that. Also, does anyone have any input about stair spindles/balusters? Has everyone been told you have to pay extra to have the balusters or you get the drywall "half-wall" ? Because the spindles are a significant increase in cost over the drywall "half-wall" and that half-wall just doesn't look good in the spot where it will be in the house we're considering..

  • carra

    Nickle and diming.... as has been noted in many posts before about this builder. That's why we ran away...

  • Christina
    We upgraded to the spindles, I Have seen pictures of the half wall and it looks beautiful as well.
  • HomeInTheMountains

    When I looked at some pictures of the other home models with the half wall, they really did look nice, but .... at our preconstruction meeting today, we saved money on a lot of other items, so...I went with the spindles. Feeling good. We walked out with a happy, positive feeling and with our final cost, amazingly enough, lower than we expected - with the upgrades we thought we wouldn't be able to get. Things are looking good. The meeting was verrrrrry long though. We went through everything thoroughly!!!

  • HomeInTheMountains

    OK, so I guess I'll start a new series of posts now. I SO appreciate all of your input, ideas, and support. With a broken heart, we finally had to throw in the towel the other day and give up our dream of building on this property that my husband loves so much. Apparently Schumacher was no aware of the zoning laws in this county. Neither was a lender. SO, when it came down to getting our survey that was needed to split our property into two deeds (instead of the one that it was previously); we did not meet the square footage guidelines that zoning requires for building in the county. If we don't split the deed, we meet the area requirement, but our lender will not loan money to someone if they have 2 addresses on the same deed. So, either way, we were doomed. We tried other lenders; we tried our attorney; it just wasn't going to work in any way. There was nothing we could do; not legally nor ethically anyway and we are ethical people so we just couldn't imagine being any other way.

    But all is not lost and the whole "one door shuts and another door opens" thing is really true because we are closing on a beautiful home with 3.5 acres a little further up in the mountains with a beautiful view on 2/22!!!! And, it is not on the property that my husband loves so much; but he is very happy and excited anyway because it is about 600sf more house not including the full finished basement (can you say "man cave") and a $38,000 lower cut in our budget (and that ALWAYS makes him smile!!) Anyway, I did not want to leave this without saying how much I appreciate you all so very much. Life is all about changes and adapting to those changes right? That's exactly what we're doing now: adapting to these changes and being grateful for what we have.

  • pamela tope

    I am having a GREAT experience with Schumacher. My advice to those that have asked me about building with Schumacher (or any builder for that matter...this is my fourth and hopefully final build in my life):

    1. You will know very clearly what all of the home construction features will cost you. This takes a lot longer than I ever imagined, frustrating at times, but in the end I found the detailed itemization very comforting and did not receive this from any of the other three builders we sought bids from. Some people on this thread call this itemization "nickel and diming", however I found it to be very clear and easy to understand. I also realize that they are a business and this itemization is their way of ensuring a fair price for their product. Contributors on this thread say "you get what you pay for". Of course you do!!! That's why there is an itemization of what you are getting, and if you want to upgrade, you pay for it. I do not believe that overpaying for something guarantees better quality. Do your research and stay involved. I am a "Type A" personality and thrive on the detail. If an upgrade was not in my budget, I didn't do it (unfortunately I couldn't do 100% metal roof). The base price is a VERY VERY basic home; certainly lovely and comfortable and an amazing price! They will clearly delineate all the finishes and selections in the base price very clearly. If you want upgraded finishes and features, plan to budget an additional 40-60-80% ABOVE the published online price depending on your style. We did stone counter tops everywhere, board and batten, metal accents on porch roofs, upgraded to black windows, added a slate covered porch, added a basement, true divided lite front doors, Marsh custom cabinets (included a custom paint color in master), custom master bath, solid wood floors, coffers in two areas, Rohl faucets, Waterstone faucets, cast iron tub, electrical outlets in the base molding (highly recommend this!), etc...

    2. You have the backing of a large firm. This can be a pro and a con, but I have found it more advantageous to have a builder with lots of experience building houses, and a large drafting/engineering/architectural/building team with lots of experience. It seems to me that Schumacher has a tight cost accounting system that allows them to be very cost effective, and able to call on their vendors to "get things done". However, sometimes the bureaucracy and amount of time to get an answer on something is longer than I would like.

    3. "Allowance Items". This is no different with any building contract. Allowance items are a nerve racking line item. I had to fire my original builder (NOT Schumacher) for a $37,000 overage on grading with no prior communication or notice!!! Get as many items in the contract as firm bids as possible. This will require work, reasearch and time on your part...but that's true for any builder. Some items are just not able to be firm bids and no builder will do so, i.e. grading, digging well. In these cases one should be able to expect clear communication of the costs BEFORE your money is committed. My personal builder with Schumacher is excellent with this. That being said, do your homework for the options and upgrades and features and allowances you desire. Schumacher was very good about taking my requested upgrades and providing fair firm bids. For instance, I have my heart set on Birch Barnwood solid wood flooring from Whickam. Because I already knew the cost of the flooring, I was comfortable with their bid which of course added the cost of installation. Don't get me wrong, it's a ton of money but it wasn't any more than any other builder would be charging. I had the benefit of pricing for many items from the builder I had to fire. Schumcher was very fair and in many cases less for the same product specified.

    4. Stay on top of the project, and be a kind person!!!! There are many things that aren't a big deal to fix if they are caught early. We have had several. I believe that if you aren't finding anything, you are missing something! No one and nothing is perfect! Going in with this mindset has helped me remain cool and calm and focussed on preventing major potential problems down the road. Some changes were simply preferences on my part. Some were serious changes that needed to be addressed. Some items were just "wrong" or "missed in drafting". They could have played hardball and said certain items weren't in the contract, but instead I found them to be very amenable if they were simple changes AT THE RIGHT TIME, and very fair if major changes. Don't expect "freebies" or upgrades, but if the location of the framing for a door needs to be changed to be more centered, if you "catch" it while the framers are still there, AND YOU HAVE BEEN A KIND PERSON, you are likely to find them happy to help. We've had innumerable micro changes that would have never been able to be changed down the road without major expense! I treat the tradesmen with respect, getting to know them, and provide simple things like sodas and an area to relax on their breaks. It goes a long way. Be on the same team, not adversarial. I am enjoying the journey for sure.

    I'll stop there...I am happy to discuss further with anyone interested.

    "Superior Wall" basement

    Board and Batten on front of garage...love my upgraded black windows!!!

    View from the mountain road of house

    House underway in February

  • DLM2000-GW

    Thanks for giving your experience and sharing the other side of the story. They wouldn't be able to stay in business if every customer was disappointed! You have far more home building experience than most people and that can only work in your favor since you know the drill. And no doubt, being a 'kind person' goes miles in your favor. Congratulations on a smooth process so far and hoping it continues for you. It's a beautiful setting for what will be a lovely house. Looks like you have the dream of a staging/storage area to work with, too!

  • corwinswan

    "They wouldn't be able to stay in business if every customer was disappointed."

    Somehow Walmart has figured how to.

  • carra

    The itemization isn't what I refer to as 'nickel and diming'. The issue is that their base home is so bare bones that you need to make sure you think of every. little. thing. you want to add BEFORE you sign the contract. Discover later that you didn't even think about window trim (because that's standard on most homes, even tract builds - but not Schumacher) and it's going to cost you a lot more than you anticipated.

  • pamela tope

    Oh yes, now I see what you mean Carra! I would definitely agree with your advice to have every single detail and everything you want outlined before you sign a contract, regardless of the builder you choose. This is most likely the largest contract a person will ever sign in their private life. Schumacher was very forthcoming with me regarding the extra costs and level of upgrades viewed in the model, as well as additional upgrades available. Understanding and outlining the total true cost is an investment in time and a lot of effort for sure, but that's not unique to building with Schumacher. I needed/wanted to go through all the details and specifications with all the builders we had bids with in order to get apples/apples comparisons of the true total cost to build with each builder.

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