So, I've obviously decided to create this site after I've signed a purchase agreement. I figure I should tell you about the events that led up to the signing of the purchase agreement so that you have a complete story.
I had had my eye on this particular community for a few months, but I was also investigating other builders' communities. I decided this community was the most desirable location since it's close to work and shopping and had the amenities that I wanted, namely a pool and lawn care included.
Before I even went into the sales office, I filled out a pre-qualification application on line with Toll Brother's in-house lender, TBI. I wasn't too impressed when I didn't even get an email confirming that my application (with private information on it) had been received and hadn't falling into the ether. I was even less impressed when after 4 days I hadn't been contacted by anyone, and I had to start calling around myself. The number that I was calling is located in Horsham PA. Turns out, "the guy" who handles mortgages for my particular community had been out on paternity leave, and his backup person had dropped the ball. After another 4 days of no one returning my calls, I was finally contacted by someone who is local to me.
The local mortgage specialist was awesome. She answered all of my questions, and got my pre-approval as well as a Good Faith Estimate of closing costs in a timely manner. After seeing that they offered interest rates and terms comparable to other banks, and that their application fees were reasonable ($750), I felt comfortable that I could use their in-house lender. At that time, I did NOT know that Toll Brothers does NOT make any incentives that they will give you towards the house or closing costs contingent on using their lender.. This is probably why TBI is comparable; because they know I can go to an outside lender and not lose the build'er incentives if they were competitive with the market.
I first went in to the sales center with my realtor from Redfin around Memorial Day thinking they would have a promotion going on. They didn't. Turns out, I'm not the only one who has found the community and location desirable. The community was selling at a decent pace, and right away they made it clear that this would limit negotiation room.
After telling the representative that I was interested in their woodstock model, she told me that there was a quick delivery of that model available and it was in the framing stage. I gave the sales rep a check to put a hold on the quick delivery house while I thought about if I wanted to proceed with it or not. I briefly met with the PM who said he'd be willing to move the laundry room to the second floor for $1k extra, and I went to the design center to see the cabinets that were already ordered. While they were willing to let me order new cabinets, I ended up passing on the quick delivery. It had options that I didn't want (a dry bar in the master bedroom being one of them), and didn't have options that I did want (expanded garage, bar rough in in the basement, and other customization), and they weren't willing to negotiate on the price. They were going to charge me the same price as if I had chosen to build it with those options from the start. The most concession they were willing to make was to forego the $5k lot premium since I kept saying I wouldn't have chosen that lot.
With no real monetary incentive to accept a house that wasn't exactly what I wanted (at which point I might as well just buy an existing house), I decided to build from scratch on a lot that I did choose and that would have the customization that I wanted. I emailed the rep and asked her to move my red house from the quick delivery to the lot I specified. (They put different colored monopoly houses on the site plan to indicate the availability of the houses. Red means there's a hold on that house/lot.) On Sunday, June 17th, I signed the purchase agreement for my new home, and I got to replace my red monopoly house with a yellow one.