Now that we've finished building our house with Hughston Homes, we decided to share our advice with everyone considering building with them. The house is wonderful, but there were many times throughout the process we wanted to walk away.
If it's not in the contract, you're not getting it. We're not exaggerating. Make sure everything you discuss before building is in the contract. Even if you have it in writing prior to signing the contract (in an email, for example), but it's not written in the contract, then it's up to Hughston as to whether or not you get it.
We made the mistake of assuming we would get gas heat since we were told we were getting gas heat and even had an email saying as much. So imagine our surprise when they installed an electric HVAC unit. We asked the listing agent who acted as if it was electric all along and that we must have misunderstood. Situations like this happened again and again where we were told one thing but the end product was something very different. If we could do it again, we would have put everything we cared about into the contract.
Nobody cares about your house more than you do — it's your investment you're protecting, after all. Hughston Homes' goal is to build the house as cheaply and quickly as possible. The subcontractors they bring in clearly reflect this goal. They will make mistakes and you need to catch them before they're sealed behind drywall. See something that looks wrong? Let Hughston or their listing agent know. They may sound like they're ignoring you, but they will fix it...eventually.
During our build, they didn't shingle the porch or put a tarp over it for months, which led to water poouring into our living room every time it rained. During a rainstorm, our living room would become a swimming pool. We eventually put a tarp up ourselves, so it would not completely ruin the subfloor. 4 months into construction, they finally fully dried in our house.
Hughston Homes makes a lot of money off of upgrades. They are extremely overpriced for what you get. Save yourself the money and do it yourself once the house is built. We didn't want the light fixtures that came with the house and planned on immediately replacing them, but Hughston refused to give us any sort of credit or the option to not install the light fixtures. As a result, they put the light fixtures up, and we immediately took them down and donated them.
Skip the blinds, too. You can easily install your own blinds for a quarter of the upgrade cost.