Lennar Homes Orlando Review - Warning: Read This Review Before Building With Lennar
This is a 100% honest, 100% authentic review of the home builder Lennar. We were not compensated in any way for this post. Actually, we're regularly asked to stop posting about our problems with Lennar. We won't stop until they fix every single one of our issues.
All photos and videos below are originals taken by Dadtography. No photos were edited for this post.
Please do not use our photos without our permission.
Review update August 5th, 2018.
Well, that's it. Our warranty has expired. Lennar offers a one year warranty on their houses from the date of your close, and our close was on 7/27/17. In theory, any issues that weren't already documented or in progress are now ours to fix.
This weekend, I went to install a new outdoor ceiling fan above our back patio. We were told by Lennar the outdoor lights were also setup, ready to go for a ceiling fan install. Once again, shame on me for taking Lennar at their word.
@Lennar said outdoor light mount is definitely also ready for a ceiling fan install. Note the mounting ring. Thing is, it's not attached to anything but drywall. Installing a ceiling fan into this would be bad news. Poor workmanship and incorrect info as usual. #LennarSucks pic.twitter.com/BZD0kio5W8— Daniel Ruyter (@DanielRuyter) August 5, 2018
Some advice to a future Lennar homeowner from a previous customer.
The feedback I've received from former Lennar customers and future customers has been both surprising and humbling.
This blog post about our experience building a new home in Florida with Lennar has made a difference, and I'm glad for that. Even if we help just one family have a better experience building their new home than we had, I will be happy.
I recently received an email from someone that is already under contract with Lennar for a new home, but has experienced significant delays and issues with their home. They wanted my advice on whether they should stick it out or back out of the deal. Here is my response:
Thanks for your email. Have you joined the closed Facebook group for The Oaks yet? You can join the group prior to moving in. It's a great resource for current and future residents.I'm glad you found our blog post to be helpful. We definitely would have done a few things differently. We love our home and are glad we live where we do - mostly because of the neighbors and neighborhood. The house itself was way more work and stress than we expected from a "new" home build.How far behind is your home? I heard via Facebook that a few homes in phase 4 have been placed on hold due to the county pausing closings because of builder issues. I haven't heard the exact reasons yet, but I suspect this will ultimately be a good thing for future closings. I think the county is finally clamping down on all of Lennar's issues.My advice to you would be to hold Lennar's feet to the fire and make them address anything you're not comfortable with prior to closing. They may say they'll fix the issues afterward, but there's little to no motivation for them once you've signed.I also recommend a qualified and thorough home inspector. Ask them to dig deep and to be "picky". We encountered serious issues that a normal home inspection wouldn't have found - like the issue with the dishwasher mentioned on my blog post. That resulted in our entire kitchen island needing to be replaced.It's hard to say what is the best decision for you. I don't think we would have backed out, but we definitely wouldn't have taken Lennar at their word like we did, had we known what we know now.Sincerely,Daniel Ruyter
Review Update: 6/23/18 - We had to have our kitchen island replaced.
The latest update in our Lennar new home construction saga is that we had to lose the use of our kitchen for almost three days so that they could replace our kitchen island.
The issue arose because of an improperly installed dishwasher. The dishwasher was not balanced properly, partly because of poor tile installation. The dishwasher shook loose from the cabinet.
Lennar came to "fix" the dishwasher by re-attaching it to the cabinets. The dishwasher was re-installed so many times, it eventually tore the cabinets apart to the extent they needed to be fully replaced.
The dishwasher also has to be replaced as well.
While they were installing the new island, we found our our disposal was already leaking, so that had to be replaced or it would have ruined the new cabinets they just installed.
Review Update: 5/20/18 - With Lennar, Everything's NOT Included.
We're now almost 10 months into our ownership of our new Lennar home in Orlando, FL. We've learned a lot in the past 10 months or so.
One of our biggest lessons is that the Lennar, "Everything's Included" promise isn't quite true.
In theory it's a great idea and good selling point: you include premium features that normally could cost extra in other neighborhoods and with other builders. As a builder, you can standardize "upgrades" and make them ultimately cheaper to build (because you buy in volume), while at the same time, offering "free" upgrades to customers.
Theory and execution are totally separate when it comes to Lennar. Everything is most certainly NOT included - at least not in our Lennar home. Here are just a few things we've come to realize are't included in our brand new home:
- Ceiling fans - nope, they didn't come with our new home! They cost extra.
- Custom wall colors - nope, we got contractor-grade white in every single room.
- Seamless gutters - nope, in Florida of all places, gutters are a must but we have none!
- Community amenities - they're building phase 4 and our community pool still isn't complete, despite an HOA dues increase.
- "Smart" home features like a Ring Doorbell, video security, pre-wired Internet - nope! We had to install all of these things ourself!
- Solid, reliable build quality
- A company that cares about its product, its customers or its employees? Doesn't seem like it to us!
Couldn't figure out why the dishwasher in our new @lennar home was so unstable. Until we removed it and saw this. Exepect this level of build quality from #Lennar in general. Inspect everything! They cut every corner they can. Still FINDING issues 8 mo after close! #NewHome pic.twitter.com/3FWHcXw4xk— Daniel Ruyter (@DanielRuyter) April 11, 2018
Review Update: 11/19/17
We Have a German Cockroach Infestation
I've experienced "German cockroaches" once before while staying at a hotel in south Florida. But to be honest, Florida has so many bugs I really didn't know what they are.
Well, now I know. These bugs are difficult to get rid of and they're expensive, too. We have used HomeTeam Pest Defense in the past and gave them a call for this issue as well. They sent someone out and said we had an infestation inside our cabinets. We would need to clear everything out of all of our cabinets so we could "bomb" them.
This bug bombing will require everything to be out of the cabinets for at least 3 days and for us to not be in the home for the day it is done (this coming Monday, 11/20/17).
Oh, and it will cost $350 on top of all this inconvenience and work as well. So, right now our house looks like we just moved in because we have nothing in our cabinets. All of that hard work of moving in just a few months ago has to be re-done later this week.
Lennar said they will pay for the first treatment, but if additional treatments are required, they say its our responsibility.
You should probably read this entire review of Lennar to see and understand all of the issues we've experienced. Moving into a new construction home should never be this stressful!
More Issues With Our Lot & Fence
To further add to the issues with our lot, we received an email from the HOA today that our application to install our fence was denied. According to the email, a 25ft setback is required. In other words, our premium CORNER lot isn't large enough to accommodate a fence configuration we had with our fence company. Our fenced back yard will be even smaller than we thought, if we're able to get a fence in at all.
Lennar buyer beware! If you buy with this builder, be sure to check every detail. We made the mistake of taking their word at face value. Don't make the same mistakes we did!
An Introduction to Our Experience Building With Lennar Homes
My wife and I have been together almost a decade, and were super excited when we decided to build our first home together.
Building a home is like a right of passage. It's not for everyone, but with the housing situation the way it is in Orlando, it makes a lot of sense to build.
We shopped around quite a bit, looking at existing homes first and ultimately deciding to build. We knew we wanted to stay in the Lake Nona neighborhood of Orlando. We found The Oaks at Moss Park not far from where we were renting and decided to build there.
The Oaks is one of a few Lennar neighborhoods in the south east Orlando metro area. Lennar describes the Oaks as an "Everything's Included®" development. Naturally, what Lennar describes on their website now is not what we received - a WiFi certified house sure would have been cool, though.
Rather, what we received with "everything included" meant less choice and fewer options. Rather than providing a range of choices for flooring, counters, cabinets, appliances and other options, they provide you with pre-packaged options.
Yes, you'll receive granite counter tops and stainless appliances, but there isn't much variety due to the "packaging".
Note: the phrase "Everything's Included" is copyright Lennar Corporation.
Navigate this Lennar review post:
The Oaks at Moss Park
Learn more about the this Lake Nona area neighborhood.
Our customer service experience has been frustrating (to say the least).
Learn more about the features and amenities at The Oaks.
Financing and Mortgage
The Lennar finance process was way more complicated than it needed to be.
A few thoughts about our experience with the sales staff at Lennar.
Construction Build Quality
We have a laundry list of issues that need fixing almost 4 months after close.
How is the Oaks at Moss Park Neighborhood?
Starting out on a very high note, we absolutely love the Oaks at Moss Park neighborhood. The people and families that live here are awesome. There's a very close-knit Facebook group where we all talk, share information and help each other.
Our immediate neighbors are awesome, too. There are a LOT of kids in our section of the neighborhood (phase 2). This is great for our family and my boys love having so many friends to play with.
For the most part, the adults are really nice and very sociable as well. The neighborhood is also still very quiet. It's not a gated neighborhood, but because Innovation Parkway is still not complete, we live on a dead-end street for now.
The Oaks at Moss Park Amenities
Amenities in the Oaks aren't exactly plentiful. The "official" list of amenities is listed in this section and comes directly from the Lennar website. They list six amenities, and I have to dispute almost all of them. Let's start in order.
An HOA as an "Amenity"?
The first amenity they list at The Oaks is an HOA. HOA's in my experience can be both good and bad. They're good, because they can help establish and enforce community standards. They can be bad, because they quite often become a bit over-zealous and nit-picky. I guess we'll see how this HOA goes.
The Oaks "Picnic Area"
I honestly have no idea what they mean by this picnic area. This doesn't exist yet that I have seen, nor have I heard of this coming, unless this will be part of the pool (that's also not complete as well).
The Oaks "Pond"
Confirmed, the Oaks at Moss Park has a pond. A photo is included in this section. It's small, but it's a nice dog walk area with pet waste stations. It can be quite busy in the morning and evening when the entire neighborhood is out walking their pets.
The Oaks Pool
There's supposed to be a neighborhood pool as well, but that's not complete yet. The last conversation we had - around the time of hurricane Irma - the sales staff said the pool was slated to be done in the spring of 2018. Of course, when we were shopping for our home, we were told it would be done in the summer of 2017. I personally don't place a lot of faith in the information I've received from the sales staff. More on that is below.
The fact is, we pay HOA dues that is supposed to include a pool, but there's no pool and our dues haven't been reduced. That's not okay in my book. Finish the pool or reduce our dues. End of story.
The Oaks "Tot Lot"
I'm not sure what they mean by a "tot lot". I interpret that to be the park. The setup at this park is nice, but most of the park's features aren't really geared for younger children. Also, the park regularly floods when it rains (which is every day in the summer). The park is mulched and the mulch floats all over the place.
The Oaks "Trails"
This is also not a real feature - at least not that I have seen. Lennars website touts "walking trails" but all we have are standard sidewalks. When I think of a "walking trail" I think of winding, paved or dirt trails where you can get away from civilization for a bit. The Storey Park neighborhood (also Lennar) has these features. The Oaks does not.
Compared to other (albeit more expensive) developments in the area, The Oaks definitely lacks amenities. Luckily, the home owners' association fees are pretty low (around $150 / month) and also include Spectrum TV and internet for the price, but I still don't feel like everything that was promised has been delivered, nor does it have an acceptable delivery date.
The Oaks at Moss Park Amenities List
We obtained the below list directly from the Lennar website, here.
- HOA: For more information on the HOA, please contact a New Home Consultant.
- Picnic Area: Picnic area includes open green space and barbecue areas.
- Pond: Picturesque pond located in the community.
- Swimming Pool: Family-friendly swimming pool with cabana
- Tot Lot: Children-friendly areas located throughout the community.
- Trail: Residents have access to community walking trails.
Additional Photos of The Oaks at Moss Park Neighborhood
The Oaks at Moss Park - Lennar Sales Staff
Okay, so our experience with the sales staff is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, our sales representative (Steven) was very nice, communicated relatively well and was very responsive.
On the other hand, he also made us promises that he (and Lennar) didn't keep. The biggest unkept promise was regarding our lot and a pool.
We purchased an upgraded corner lot - a $3,000 premium over the base cost, because we knew we would want to add a backyard pool someday. My wife's dream was to have a backyard oasis - pool, brick paver patio, the whole 9 so to speak. The other corner lot homes we saw that were either built or under construction had pretty large back and side yards.
That was absolutely not the case with our "corner lot". I put it in quotes, because it's not really on a corner. We are surrounded by alleys in both the back and side and our lot is no larger than those in the middle of the block.
We consulted with two reputable pool builders and both of them said there's no way we can fit a pool on our property.
We feel lied to and frankly ripped off. Was it our sales rep's fault? I don't think he purposely misled us. I think he was told (or assumed) that all corner lots were the same. Well, they aren't and we want our $3,000 back.
The Oaks at Moss Park - Customer Service
Lennar is a big company that builds a lot of homes every year in Florida. The customer service team comes in after the sale and closing and helps homeowners with any issues that may arise.
The standard Lennar warranty is one year. Except for items that wear, they will repair or fix any issues that come up due to build quality, workmanship, etc.
We thought we were ahead of the game when we hired our own private inspector prior to closing. He did an awesome job and found a lot of things that needed to be resolved. Those issues went on our list, and many of them are still there today (now 4 months post-closing).
I don't blame the service staff for the issues; they do what they can with what they have. And what they have are extremely poorly constructed homes. Lennar builds these homes so fast, they cut corners and purposely skip over things just to get to close.
Yes, we could have insisted all of our issues be fixed before we close. But that would have inconvenienced us as well (we were in a 2-bedroom apartment at the time). It would have cost us extra money, too.
Instead of using our leverage of closing, we went ahead, hoping (and trusting) they would resolve the issues. We would definitely do that differently next time we build.
The Oaks at Moss Park - Lennar Financing & Mortgage Process
I'm not going to spend a ton of time on this part. Part of the issues we experienced were due to our personal situation. I'll spare you the details. The other part was the mortgage and finance staff at Lennar.
Like the customer service staff, I get the impression that the mortgage and underwriting staff we worked with are overworked, underpaid and / or apathetic and really just don't care.
We expected them to be more responsive and proactive than they were. They were the mortgage financing professionals, after all. We expected them to have answers. They did not; they regularly delayed in their responses to us, failed to answer many of our questions and generally weren't very nice. They often didn't answer questions we asked. They didn't seem knowledgable of their products or financing in general and they were very frustrating to work with.
The only upside is that you receive (or we did, anyway) a closing cost contribution for using Lennar for financing. I'm not sure the "savings" was worth the frustration.
For a New Home, We Sure Do Have a Lot of Issues
Alright, I've been itching to write this section of the review since I started. What's one of the biggest reasons why you choose to build a new home over purchasing an existing home?
You want something that's move-in ready and without issues, right?! That is far from our experience with our Lennar home.
This list probably isn't even complete, because these issues are off the top of my head, for the most part.
The following represents the list of problems and issues we still have open with Lennar. We closed on our house the last day of July, 2017 and I'm writing this post in mid-November, 2017. We are almost four months removed from our closing.
- Our front porch light and entry light were wired incorrectly and the switches did not work.
- Three outlets in the front room do not work and are wired (according to the electrician) to the same circuit as our breakfast nook in the rear of the home.
- The two downstairs bedroom lights flicker when another device is plugged in to an outlet.
- Our air conditioning is not cooling / keeping cool downstairs. The A/C repair man said testing is needed on the insulation. They would be looking for "blank spots" in the wall. We may need to stay elsewhere while this repair work is done, depending upon their findings.
- The thermostat regularly blinks out without warning.
- There were issues identified during inspection with our roof vents that still need to be corrected.
Other Interior Issues
- There are multiple areas with grout problems.
- We had multiple drywall and paint repairs needed. We are still finding more.
- We've had the back sliding glass door blinds replaced twice. They were installed backwards initially. They're of very poor quality and don't take much to break.
- At least two window blinds needed to be replaced.
- The dishwasher wasn't properly installed and has come loose from the cabinet.
- The water / ice dispenser in the refrigerator is missing a light. We're told we have to call the appliance company for this.
Exterior / Yard Issues
- The wrong kind of sod was installed (according to the landscaper). Sod that requires shade was installed. Areas of full sun are dying and brown. Watering and fertilizer has not helped.
- The sprinkler system does not work, and most sprinkler heads are poorly placed near the alley, which does not have a curb. They are regularly run over. Because the sprinklers don't work, the lawn is also dying.
- We have loose pavers on our front porch. Grout is also loose or missing.
- "Everything's Included" except gutters. We have erosion issues due to poor drainage and roof run-off.
The thermostat in our Lennar home flickers out.
Final Thoughts About Our Lennar Experience
Overall, we still love our home, but we are very frustrated. What we had hoped would be a wonderful experience was made overly stressful, complicated and just plain maddening by Lennar.
We decided to build a new home exactly because we wanted to avoid these exact things!
We thought about moving - thanks to the housing market right now, we have that as an option and are still considering it.
We're definitely not recommending building with Lennar to anyone that asks - and many people have. I just can't recommend them given what I've experienced and learned about the way they do business. Save yourself frustration and build with a home builder that places more value on quality than on a closing date.
Lennar at the Oaks at Moss Park
Financing & Mortgage Process4.5/10
- Lots of features included
- Good selection of options and floor plans
- Our neighbors are AWESOME
- The worst construction quality I've ever seen
- Still no neighborhood pool (they keep pushing the date back)
- Poor company leadership ties the hands of local staff
- Sales staff mis-represented our corner lot upgrade