Building in tracts allows for economies of scale and producing homes at a lower cost than one-off fully custom homes. Quality of workmanship is certainly something one should investigate when purchasing a tract home. In existing built-out
neighborhoods that are at least ten years old or more, problems associated with construction tend to be well known by those who live in them and easily researched; much like cars, they all have their particular weaknesses or quirks. In new subdivisions, one has to rely on the builder’s reputation, past builds, and the quality evident in the planned or newly built improvements. If one is having a home constructed from the ground up, one should have multi-phase inspections by a qualified inspector whether it is in a tract development or as a semi-custom or one-off custom home to be proactive. Fixing issues during the construction process are much easier than after completion – it should also be the builder’s responsibility to pay for it.
One must also learn about the land and if it is free of hazards. Builders want to buy their land at the lowest cost possible to increase margins and decrease investment risk. This means subdivisions may be built on land that has some deficiencies that the builder must spend money to overcome. A builder of a tract development can spread the cost of overcoming land deficiencies over many homes, so it makes financial sense. For example, land acquired over a flood zone should require the builder to add fill-dirt and divert water flows with human-made culverts, underground pipe, channels, rivers, ponds, and bridges. These actions can remove the land from a flood zone category, and enable proper drainage away from the tract home’s foundation walls. If I were buying in a development that was once a flood zone, I’d want more information about the foundations used, the geology and soil – What are the odds the land will settle causing foundations to crack? Can an unbiased inspector or soil engineer provide additional input?
Buyers in the market for tract homes tend to be most concerned about privacy since most have limited yard areas and setbacks from adjacent homes.