When deciding to buy a home from Darling Homes, you probably did what I had done; to search for a review for Darling Homes. I was surprised that I did not find a single review about Darling Homes whether positive or negative. So I have decided to write one based on my experience. Hopefully, you will find it interesting and useful.
Before signing the contract:
I did research and found that Darling Homes has good reputation and did not find anything negative. The price for our house was higher for Darling. However Darling was the only choice in the neighborhood and for the type of plot location we wanted. So we decided to go ahead with them because we got the lot exactly as we wanted. This also allowed us to customize the home, to pick and choose all the options that we wanted etc.
Darling homes would NOT negotiate on the price or lot premium. We were the first one to select the lot (Cul-de-sac, greenbelt and reserve lot with no neighbors on the backside) in the subdivision before opening to general public. I have my real estate license (I strongly suggest that you should get one too if it is worth the cost and effort. It is not that difficult.), so that helped us to select the exact lot we wanted during pre-sale. :) They did offer around $18K towards incentives/design center credit. However, we later found that all their options at design center were over-priced (sometimes more than the retail prices), so we used most of the incentives towards "structural" modifications that would have been difficult/impossible to do at a later date.
There was no model home available for the floor plan we selected, but we took a chance and in the end are very happy with the design that was customized to our needs.
The contracts are clearly one-sided and entirely in favor of Darling Homes.
However, there was not much we could do. They would not change a word, so we had to hold our nose and sign the deal. (More details to be added)
At the Design Center:
Not a good experience. (More details to be added)
I am still not happy that Erin Marlatt at design center would not let us select bigger cook-top and vent even though there was zero price difference in the price list. She said that the price list was incorrect and quoted extra $$ for upgrade AFTER we made the selection. They should have honored the price list shown to us.
Finance option offered by Darling Homes:
Sub-par experience. (More details to be added)
I wouldn't recommend falling into the trap of using their mortgage company from Taylor Morrison. They would have paid for title policy worth $3500, which sounded appealing; but in the end, they tried to make up for it by overcharging the interest rate (1/2 % extra than what I got) & a lot of junk fees. In the end, I came out ahead in spite of paying for my own owner's title policy + Title company fees. Since we decided not to use their title company, they made us pay closing costs for both sides: buyer + builder side.
You have to be diligent and very careful. (More details to be added)
Darling homes did allow for third party inspection. I used him for inspection after pouring of foundation and just before sheetrock was put. Except for very minor issues, we did not find anything major. In fact, I found issues that were missed by inspector. I did not hire inspector before final walk-through. I just bought the textbook they use for inspector's license in Texas and read it cover-to-cover myself and used that knowledge.
I used to visit the site almost every day (my wife was getting REALLY MAD at me for this), but I caught several mistakes just in time. The only day I did not visit was when they did duct-work and installed heating & A/C. I still regret that.
Very unhappy with A/C. I had specifically requested 2 units considering size of house and weather in Texas, however only 1 unit was used; obviously to save costs. Even during construction phase, I was told that it is too late to change. SEER rating is also not what was promised. There are 7 filters in the house, but 4 different sizes. The unit seems to be running ALL the time. Home is NOT AT ALL energy efficient. My electricity bill is HIGHER than my 20-year old Emerald home of same size. VERY UNHAPPY.
Darling would not adjust my real estate commission to reduce home pricing the way it was done by Meritage Homes for my friend.
This is where Darling Home excels. Darling ALWAYS took care of issues no questions asked, no matter the cost. Never said no.
Most of the times, the service was prompt. Only couple of times, the service was sub-par and I know that it was fault of the subcontractor, not Darling Homes. Company that was supposed to fix the wood flooring took almost a month to fix the issue. HomePro who did wiring in media room had not tested that wiring was working for all speakers. They had to come in to fix wiring as one of the speakers was not working. The person who showed up ruptured our "main electric cable" which stopped electricity for half the house. Well, he would not fix it and electric company had to be called in who came after a week. Now we have a joint in main electric cable. Fait accompli. That's all I can say.
For our neighbor, Darling Homes had to rip out tiles 3 times to make it right. But they did it. Other neighbor noticed that his wood flooring was not correct shade. They ripped and replaced wood flooring in entire house. Of course, we do notice project management issues, but Darling Homes fixed the issues without hesitation. In this area, Darling Homes is awesome. They fixed each and every problem we reported. I will rate them as A+
Based on my overall experience, I would not give A or A+ grade to Darling Homes.
Final Grade in my opinion is B- or maybe B if I am generous.