Terrible customer service, don't follow blue prints, empty promises, often misleading, wastes customer's time, doesn't follow through, often late, doesn't follow up. We might as well have managed the project ourselves.
Like any company they have procedures, but they do not explain these procedures to their customers. E.g. We were hurried through the design center, so that our designer could make it to a Christmas party early. We had only one selection of everything, including our color palette, which she had recommended, but we were very unsure about. They were then on Christmas break. After they had returned from Christmas break, we once again expressed we were very uncertain about the color palette. We had a week long email discussion and it was only after a week, that we were told that two weeks had already went by, so we would have to pay $500 to make any changes. We expressed that we were unable to contact them, because they were on Christmas break. Apparently, if we had made more then one selection at the time of our meeting then we would have been able to make a choice later. But because we had only made one selection, that was the color of the house. We then asked by our designer did not inform us that this was the policy of Sabal Homes. They did not answer.
They do not follow blue prints. There were many mistakes in the building of our house, because no one followed the blueprints. They just assumed they knew how we designed the house. Even though everything was documented properly, they messed things up. Sabal does not provide you with a possession date until the last month, so each mistake they make and find later, increases the amount of time that it takes to build the house. We chose to make them aware of their errors during our walk-throughs and it was like pulling teeth. To this day, there are still things that were done incorrectly, like the placement of our water tank, furnace, and sump pump.
They abuse the definition of seasonal work. Sabal states that some work cannot be done on the home because it is classified as seasonal work. An example of this would be laying sod in the winter. However, they abuse this and drag their heels. We took possession in the summer, and now one year later, there is still work that is not completed, like the correct painting of the house exterior in the front, and final grade so that we can use our backyard. Last year for 3 weeks, we did not even have any stairs into our house in the front or back while they poured the concrete steps in the front after possession. Our family members and ourselves had to walk through the dirt and we had to pull them up on to the deck. I'm sure this is a violation of a code.
Builders have a one year warranty, where they are responsible for correcting any issues with the home. We book trades days to have trades people come in and do the repairs. Their workers often forget things or show up late. Even though we booked a special day off of work to have this done, this now means that we have to book another day off, but of course it's at least 2 weeks or more away because they need time to rebook. Sometimes 2 months if they don't have the correct part.
Once you take possession of your house, Sabal had us deal with the contractors sometimes. Where the contractor would contact us and ask us questions about specific building decisions, that we had nothing to do with. Most of the time, in this situation, Sabal would also not have an answer, because the person responsible for the decision would not be available, for various reasons; vacation; left company; won't answer the phone.
They make promises and don't keep them. An example of this would be one of the promises that they made during the initial meetings, before we signed with them. One promise they made was that two homes next to each other would not be allowed to have two windows facing each other. This was to ensure that our privacy would not be a problem. Our home and the home next to us are both Sabal Homes. And our master bathroom window has a clear view into one bedroom and the upstairs bathroom of the next house. When we asked Sabal to deal with this, they replied it shouldn't be an issue and then said just put up blinds. We asked them to pay for the blinds, and they responded by saying no. We then asked for a reason they had broken their promise. No response.
In addition, our dinning room window has a clear view of the neighbor's front door. So when the neighbor is at her door, she can see into our dinning room and the entire living room on the other side of the house. Why Sabal did not think this would be an issue is confusing. We brought this up with Sabal and stated we felt this was an issue caused by Sabal because of the placement of the neighbor's house being pushed so far back. Since the house could not be moved, we asked that they install a fence for that part or for trees. Sabal's answer again was no. We asked for the reasoning, and no response.
We were misled as well. When we finally started having our final grading done, we were told it would take 2 weeks to be done and approved by the city. It took 3 weeks, not a big deal. But then it failed. We asked again when this would be done. We were told another 2 weeks. At 3 weeks of nothing happening, we asked for an update. At 4 weeks we asked for an update. At 5 weeks and 6 weeks we asked for an update. At 6 weeks were told the grading was already repaired and that the city inspector was late. We were waiting on the city inspector. The entire time we were told to not touch the back yard. After two months of the final grading being first done, weeds had started to grow. We expressed to Sabal that we were concerned the final grading would fail because the inspector would not be able to see the ground because of the weeds. We were told it would not be a problem. At that point we called the city to confirm this. The city told us that yes the lot would fail because of the weeds and also told us that there had never been another request to inspect our final grade after the initial fail. So, we were not waiting on the inspector, the city was not behind. Sabal was behind. We called and complained and asked why we were told a misled, and the Sabal representative changed the subject and said they would get the landscapers out there right away. HOWEVER, they would not take care of the weeds. That was the homeowner’s responsibility. This was the first time we had heard this, every other time we were told don't do anything, because you might disturb the group. Two months of weeks and we were left to deal with it. If we had been told before, we would have sprayed them. This is incredibly frustrating and they didn't even offer an apology.
After one of our first issues with the builder, we had spoken to the Sabal area supervisor and he sided with his employee. As we were doing our research we went to another area of the city to a Sabal show home with some friends. As our friends spoke to the Sabal representative, they explained that they wanted to avoid some of the issues that we were having should they choose to build with Sabal. Immediately the employee spoke our names and the details of the situation. She explained that an email had gone out to all the employees about what had happened and who we were. She knew our first and last names and where we were building. We were shocked by the privacy laws that had been broken. We brought this up with an area manager and someone in the downtown office, but this was all denied. This is very unsettling when everyone knows who you are and the details of what you had spoke about in private.
They don't return emails or phone calls for days, sometimes never. They often state they are understaffed. They seem to have no consideration for you as a customer and what they are putting you through. Once you sign, they will quote you their policies and rules, but only when it's convenient for them. They will often tell you all customers experience difficulties with builds, but many of these issues are above and beyond what is reasonable in my opinion.
All these things that I have stated are my opinion. They are based on my experiences with this company/builder and reflect my experiences alone. They are meant to tell my story. It is not meant to convince anyone of anything and is not to suggest what decision people should make when choosing a builder. I am a frustrated consumer that has the right to express his opinion.
With that said, I wish I would have never selected Sabal Homes as my builder. I wish I didn't have to experience all the things that I did, and if I could do it over again, I would not build with them and I will not be recommending them to any friends or family.