FULTON HOMES presents 12 questions you should ask before you buy a new home. . .

Regardless of where you buy your home, getting the answers to the questions in this guide will help ensure you make the right decision.
Finding just the right home can be tedious and confusing. This guide is developed as a tool to assist you, the home buyer, in your selection of a new home builder. We hope it will make the process pleasant and simple so you can feel confident about your new home choice.

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How to use this guide. . .
  1. Review the questions in this guide and all of the questions before visiting each builder. These questions were designed to be close-ended. Listen for a simple “yes” or “no” then be silent; listen to what comes next.
  2. Request copies of any documents used to support the sales associate’s answers to these questions. Carefully review each document.
  3. Note any verbal statement or visual information that catches your attention. There are note sections throughout the guide. Notes can help refresh your memory as you make your final comparison later.
  4. Compare all of the information you have assembled and select the home builder you trust the most.
Beware of. . .
  1. Fidgeting and/or stumbling over answers. This may be a sign of nervousness. Knowledgeable, truthful and caring sales associates should not have difficulty answering these basic questions.
  2. Chatter. Sales associates who do all of the talking may not be genuinely concerned with what you want and need. Remember, they are there for you – not the other way around.
  3. Lack of support documentation. The sales associate should be willing to assist you in your quest for answers. This includes providing you with information and/or documentation. Avoiding or denying documentation is a sign your sales associate may be deliberately attempting to deceive you.
  • Question 1: Are you public or private?
    The Fulton Homes way:
    For those builders that are public, success and bonuses are often dependent on the number of homes they close each quarter. Public builders have been known to close homes before they are complete or with many uncompleted walkthrough items so they can make their quarterly numbers and secure their bonuses.

    Fulton Homes is Arizona’s largest family owned and operated builder. We have delivered more than 20,000 homes in the last 35 years. We have no stockholders or board of directors to appease each quarter, and no pre-determined number of homes that are required to be delivered. Rather, the focus is on the quality of the home we deliver and the customer service that we provide. At Fulton Homes every person–from the receptionist to Mr. Fulton himself–is involved in making sure that you, the homebuyer, move into a home you are proud to own.

    Another thing to consider when choosing a public versus private builder: Are your investment dollars supporting local businesses or subsidizing a national company and headquarters outside the county or state?

    Living, working and being involved in the local community fuels timely customer service, our economy and a sense of pride. We live, work and socialize in the same networks as our homebuyers and face them every day. This self-appointed accountability makes us more responsive and instills a greater sense of pride in the homes we build and the customer service we offer.
  • Question 2: Who will be performing the final walkthrough on our home before we move in?
    One easy way for a builder to save money is to cut back on customer care individuals. Instead, they utilize the construction department to take care of the final walkthrough and/or any issues you may have once you have moved into your new home.

    The Fulton Homes way:
    Although the project manager who built your home may have done an excellent job building the home, he has a natural bias towards reporting very few walkthrough items. Any mistakes or shoddy work would be his own. We call this “the fox guarding the hen house.” Fulton Homes has a separate customer care department that accompanies you at the final walkthrough, giving you a fresh set of eyes to identify any issues with your home. This is a separate division of Fulton Homes that does not answer to the construction division. They will coordinate the completion of all your orientation items and will be there for you throughout your warranty period.
  • Question 3: Can I track my warranty request items and see projected completion dates?
    The Fulton Homes way:
    While most builders allow you to get warranty requests online, Fulton Homes uses a web-based system for reporting and tracking all warranty requests. This system allows the homeowner to see when and what items need to be corrected, as well as the completion dates.
  • Question 4: Do you have a Design Center?
    The Fulton Homes way:
    Fulton Homes has a 13,000-square-foot design center located in Tempe. This is the largest Design Center in Arizona. The Design Center is staffed with highly trained professional designers who will help guide you through your selection process. We also invite prospective homeowners to Browse Night – a weekly Design Center open house for buyers who have not yet purchased a new home or made their design center appointment. With the amount of options available, these nights have been welcomed by customers that can preview the products in a more casual atmosphere.
  • Question 5: Can I design my home online?
    The Fulton Homes way:
    With Fulton Homes Design Online, we offer buyers access, through our web site, to more than 6,000 options including pricing, pictures, descriptions, features and warranty information. From the privacy of your own living room, you can browse through hundreds of options so that you can be prepared before you arrive at your design center appointment.
  • Question 6: Will you remain my primary point of contact throughout the entire process?
    The Fulton Homes way:
    Fulton Homes has no sales manager position. Each sales associate is considered a manager of their community, allowing them to resolve issues that may arise. All sales associates have direct access with the senior level management team of Fulton Homes, including Mr. Fulton himself. They also have the authority to resolve issues immediately throughout the entire home buying and construction process. This process encourages each sales associate to take extra care of their customers. As a result, over the past 10 years, 96 percent of all Fulton Homes customers said they would recommend their sales associate.
  • Question 7: How long have you worked for your builder?
    The Fulton Homes way:
    The average tenure for a sales associate at Fulton Homes is 15 years. The longevity of the sales staff is an indicator of loyalty, confidence in the product they represent and the integrity of the builder.
  • Question 8: Can I follow the construction of my home online?
    The buying and building process is sometimes confusing. It contains mounds of paperwork, many appointments, deadlines and meetings. How does the builder inform you of what is going to happen next?

    The Fulton Homes way:
    Every Fulton Homes buyer is issued access to their password-protected My Fulton Home web site. This web site contains all of your contract documents, including community documents such as CCR’s, bylaws, landscape guidelines, construction schedules, selected options, warranty information, warranty registration for appliances, interactive personalized floor plans and saved kitchen and bathroom changes. In addition, there are videos on the construction process, warranty information and how your home works. You will have several meetings with the project manager, including pre-construction and before drywall is installed. The sales associate is in close contact with you throughout the entire process while your new home is being built.
  • Question 9: Does your builder support local charities?
    The Fulton Homes way:
    For the past 10 years, Fulton Homes has donated more than 60 percent of their profits to various charities, with their primary focus on education and water safety. Ira A. Fulton has been listed in Business Week magazine’s top 50 philanthropists in the United States.
  • Question 10: Can I have a copy of your painter’s scope of work?
    The Fulton Homes way:
    Ask to see the builders’ product specs and scopes of work for any particular trade. Our scopes of work and product specs not only specify which brand and color of exterior paint will be used, but also how it is applied to your new home. Our paint is sprayed and then back rolled. Fulton Homes is not aware of any builder in Arizona who requires this application; it takes a lot more paint, but you’ll have a smooth longer-lasting paint job that won’t flake off. Most builders spray a wafer thin application. It’s not uncommon to see the gray stucco in the stucco voids of their homes. Example of a Fulton Homes painter’s scope of work for painting the exterior of your home:

    [All Exterior Stucco to receive a HEAVY coat of paint and immediately BACKROLLED into the stucco. Filling all voids that spraying alone cannot cover.]

    Most builders will not give you these documents. At Fulton Homes we are proud of our high construction standards and our quality trade contractors.
  • Question 11: Can you give me a list of your builder’s communities that are 5 to 10 years old?
    Ask the builder which communities they have built in the past 10 years. Ask about their community amenities, like water features, parks, landscaping, schools and open spaces. Then go look at them. These all have a tremendous impact on future value.

    The Fulton Homes way:
    Fulton Homes builds communities that are intended to stand the test of time. Fulton Homes has built more than 20,000 homes in the Phoenix market over the last 35 years. They include water features, parks, lush landscaping, play areas and open spaces. You can locate these established communities on our website. Drive around other builders’ communities and then drive some of our established neighborhoods. We feel confident that you will notice the difference.
  • Question 12: Can you tell me the total price of my house BEFORE I sign the contract?
    The Fulton Homes way:
    At Fulton Homes we will. With our exclusive Design Online program, you will know exactly how much every option will cost before you sign a contract. Most other builders will not or cannot tell you the total price of their homes before you sign the contract. That should make you suspicious.
  • What else should I look for in my homebuilder?
    When a home is under construction, things are most transparent and it’s a great opportunity to see what goes on "behind the scenes" of a builder. Look around the community where you’re thinking of purchasing and take particular note of these indicators:
    • Look Around - Drive through the entire community. Note the cleanliness of the job sites, the level of productivity and the maintenance and upkeep of the common areas. REMEMBER, this may become your backyard!
    • Back Rolled Paint - The paint finish on many new homes is often just sprayed on. Back rolling in addition to spraying provides a multiple-coat finish, and helps eliminate visible gray stucco areas and fading.
    • Control Joints/Expansion Joints – Beware of control or expansion joints in the center of any livable space. When placed in the center of the livable space, the expansion may damage the flooring in the area.
    • Straight and Level Walls - Straight and true walls in the home help eliminate surface deficiencies. Poorly built walls may show concave or convex spots, which can affect wallpaper, paint, and/or wall decorations.
    • Clean Job Sites - Construction sites should be clean and free of debris. Messy job sites often lead to poor care and attention to the quality in construction of the new home and reflect the care taken in the building process.
    • Other Sites - Visit an older, more-established community by the same builder in a similar price range. You’ll gain a feel for how your home and community will stand the test of time. Buying a home is a long-term commitment; you should feel comfortable that the future looks bright! All our previous communities can be found online at FultonCommunities.com. We’re proud of each one and encourage you to visit them for yourself.
    • Quality Control - Homes under construction should have some measure of quality control before completion. Often, visible marking made by spray paint, chalk or charcoal is found on the interior and exterior walls, floors, doorways and more. These represent periodic construction checks by the on-site project manager, providing designations for work to be done by subcontractors.
    • Due Diligence - Contact the home office, construction superintendent, existing homeowners, or other individuals you feel may impact your decision of where to purchase. This will provide an indication of the “company-wide” commitment to customer service. Quality home builders should be happy to address your concerns.

If you ask these difficult questions of each home builder you encounter, you should have a much clearer view as you move forward on the purchase of your new home. At Fulton Homes, we feel confident we can answer your questions and concerns far better than any other builder. We strive to provide the best quality, value and customer service. The location and standards of our communities, the design and construction of our homes, and our concern for our homebuyers have established the legendary Fulton Quality that people have come to expect from Arizona’s largest family-owned and operated homebuilder. We hope this Comparison Guide is helpful in your search for a home. As you gain the knowledge and information needed to make your decision, we are certain you will return and make FULTON HOMES your home builder.

Ira A. Fulton
Ira A. Fulton


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