Our experience with Red Door was much less than what we had hoped for, and definitely not something we would want to recommend to others. From the beginning, we experienced poor communication and turmoil in the office. During our time with our first "dream home consultant" we had a stretch of several weeks with no contact, and when we finally reached out to the manager we learned that the consultant had left the company and shredded our paperwork. Not ideal. Our second "dream home consultant" had difficulty translating our email requests for changes into correct drawing, such as additional windows, changing the height of our window sills, correctly situating the porch where we wanted it, etc. This consultant also left the company, and we were not surprised, having witnessed several uncomfortable interactions between the consultant and the manager. We also had a very difficult time getting Red Door to give us prices on possible changes. For example, it took us more than a month to get an answer to how much it would cost to replace a kitchen pantry with standard cupboards and countertops. The plan review and color selection meeting was arduous: we were still faced with drawings that did not reflect all of our requests about windows and window sill heights. We had to check everything because we had no confidence that our requests would be reflected in the drawings. Indeed, this frustration led us to limit our requests and there are decisions we might have made differently if the process had been better. Additionally, the consultants seemed not to know the options available and there was no catalog in which we could browse the options. Had we been able to see ahead of time a list of all of the possible options, such as different window casings, baseboards, light styles, faucets, appliances, and what the approximate upgrade price would be, perhaps our meetings would have gone much more smoothly. On the one hand, we felt rushed and pressured to make decisions at the designated meetings while, on the other hand, we were not receiving timely responses to our questions. We have wondered why we decided to proceed with Red Door when we were so frustrated; in retrospect we should have bailed because of the dysfunctional back office. The one reason why we continued was because of Joe, the builder assigned to our project. Through the grapevine, we heard good reviews about him and when we met him he seemed a good communicator, honest and responsive. Unfortunately, at the color selection meeting, we learned that he had been promoted and that we would get a different builder. After our color selection meeting, we had a months-long delay before we had our building permit. Primarily, this was due to a huge amount of confusion on the part of the RedDoor team over how close to the road the house could be placed according to local zoning ordinances. RedDoor clearly was not familiar with the Durham zoning and infill regulations, and we ended up doing much of the research and legwork ourselves. To our consternation, despite all of our work, Red Door submitted a final plan to the city for approval without us having seen it, and it turned out to be not what we wanted. Without consultation with us, Red Door had made decisions as to driveway location which would have resulted in many trees being removed. We had to step in and cancel that submission and ask Red Door to resend a corrected version to the city. We realized through this that Red Door does not appear to understand that “a dream home” includes how it is situated on the land. Their only interest is in getting the build done quickly and cheaply. We worked with Red Door for 18 months. The build itself was only 1 month longer than forecast. We appreciated Darren, our new builder. While we are reasonably satisfied with the final build of the house, and do think it is well insulated, the overall craftmanship is of low quality. For example, we had hoped to install our own window sills; however, there is not a true right angle anywhere and indeed a couple of the sills are not level. So we gave up. Additionally, small details, such as switchplates not being installed parallel to the floor, we left unfixed because the frustration level of working with Red Door was too high. Throughout this experience, we have never heard a Red Door employee admit that they made a mistake. The blame always lies on someone else. We have not and will not recommend Red Door to others, mostly because of the poor communication and subsequent frustration with the office. We have learned much about ourselves through this process and are so happy that we are on the other side of it.
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