Nash Phillips/Copus Homes

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Stupid Gringo

Jul 2, 2002, 1:00:25 AM7/2/02
I am in the process of finding and buying a new home in Austin. One of the
homes I'm looking at was built in 1983 by NPC. I've done a google search
and read that I should run quickly away from any NPC home before it
collapses on me and my family. However, this house is puported (by the
seller) to be an NPC custom home, which they believe means it was better

Was 1983 during the period that NPC was building crappy homes? Were ALL NPC
homes crappy, or did they build some good ones?

What should I or my inspector look for if I decide to make an offer on this
house? Foundation? plumbing? cheap fixtures? All of the above?

The house has stood for 19 years and seems to be in good shape, but I know
these things can be tricky.

BTW, I am working with a realtor that I trust, and I would never consider
buying any house without a professional independent inspection.

Thanks in advance for your help.


Larry G

Jul 2, 2002, 1:28:12 AM7/2/02
"Stupid Gringo" <> wrote in message

Congratulations on doing your homework (no pun intended)
BEFORE you buy. Having been in Austin for over twenty
years, I've heard many of the complaints about various builders
- NPC, Bill Milburn and more recently about KB (Koffmann-
Broad) Homes. However, I have no first hand experience to
offer, other than to note that if it is still standing after twenty
years, either the building crew did things right, or the repairs
have been made a long time ago.

Your idea of getting a professional house inspector, to check
the quality of construction and its current shape, is very
important, both to the mortgage company and for your
own peace of mind. Check with your realtor, but I believe
you can structure your contract so that you may withdraw
without penalty, if the house inspection uncovers any
major defect.

Larry G.

John Robertson

Jul 2, 2002, 2:15:54 AM7/2/02

I have no first hand knowledge of any of the builders in the Austin
area. I am the son of a custom builder from another area of Texas and
have spent a great deal of my life on the wrong end of a hammer.

The comments relayed to you regarding the quality of NPC homes is
common to most track builder's products. In my experience, there is a
good deal of truth to these statements, but unfortunately not limited
to "track builders". Many custom builders also cut corners and find
ways to reduce cost in order to sell their product. The profit margin
on a newly built home is very low in all but the most vigorous

My recommendation is to get a thorough inspection on any house before
buying. You may get a quality home from a track builder and you may
get a money pit from a good custom builder. It all depends on the
competitive environment at the moment the house was being built and
the crew that was available at that time.

On the whole, track builders have a poorer track record and reputation
than custom builders because of their lower retail price, thus lower
profit margin potential. Even so, they often use the same techniques,
crews,and materials as custom builders. The crew and the plan are the
most evident factors in quality. I have often seen the same crew
build for both track and custom builders. Then the only difference is
the construction specifications. These can vary considerably, but a
good crew can construct a quality home even with substandard
specifications. It would never last as long as a similarly
constructed home with quality materials, but it will outlast a poorly
constructed home of quality material. Think about that. The only
true way to determine the quality of a home is to actually know the
quality of the crew who drove the nails. We do not track that, so
without dismantling the home, we can only guess based on appearances.

The average buyer sees a 15K "profit" on a home and thinks there is a
lot of room for the builder to bargain. In truth, there is a lot of
overhead that is incurred that cannot be assigned to a specific home,
and also sales and marketing costs that are not assigned until later.
Add to that the problem that if the home is not sold quickly (before
or very shortly after completion) the financing costs soon erode any
potential profit even at full price. Then we can discuss the cost and
availability of labor, materials, and land. You can see how the hard
and soft costs can change dramatically from house to house.

Builders compete on price, and when these cost variabilities are
considered it is no wonder all builders can get caught up in the quest
to cut expenses just like any other business. The big problem is that
their product is designed to last a lifetime, not 30 days. Their cost
cutting often shows up after a year or so.

Get the inspection, condition the contract on all repairs recommended
by the inspector being completed, purchase a buyers warranty if you
still have any doubts about the systems or structure that pass the
inspection, talk to the seller frankly and without trepidation about
any past repairs, modifications or alterations. Get details. What
they say to you is legal representation if you find they hid
something. You can only hold them to a disclosure if you ask the

Do not try to get too picky, a 19 year old house will likely have some
problems no matter who built it. Be reasonable about minor things and
you should have no trouble negotiating a good deal.

On Tue, 02 Jul 2002 05:00:25 GMT, "Stupid Gringo" <>


Jul 2, 2002, 11:06:51 AM7/2/02
There are problem homes with all builders. The current house we have is a KB.
A lot of house for the money. However, the headaches we've had (minor,
granted) would steer me clear of KB in the future. Go get a Newmark, I hear
they're better.

In article <MRaU8.497860$>, "Larry G"

This is my .sig...


Jul 2, 2002, 11:05:23 AM7/2/02
Having had an NPC home built in the 80s, I can say RUN from this home. Unless
they give you something like a 10 year unconditional warranty on ALL items
with 0 out-of-pocket.

The AC was shite, the stove was shite, the electrical wiring was shite (the
only GFCI outlet was in the GARAGE - everything else was wired in series to
this outlet...)

In article <JraU8.512293$>, "Stupid

This is my .sig...

Kevin Foltinek

Jul 2, 2002, 12:54:38 PM7/2/02
Karen Kay <> writes:

> That's an important part of any offer you make. I highly recommend
> "Mortgages for Dummies" and "Home Buying for Dummies". I found both
> of them very useful.

I'd recommend Evans' "A Contractor's Advice on Buying a Home". It's
written with the intent that buyers can base their decisions on more
useful information than "Gosh, isn't that a pretty flower bed, but
goodness, look at the hideous wallpaper". (This book is not a
replacement for an inspector; however, it will enable the buyer to
communicate intelligently with the inspector, which can be a great

a.g. content: I found my copy at Book People.



Jul 2, 2002, 2:38:36 PM7/2/02

faze3 wrote:

> <SNIP> the electrical wiring was shite (the

> only GFCI outlet was in the GARAGE - everything else was wired in series to
> this outlet...)

That is par for the course around here and meets code just fine.


Jul 2, 2002, 8:15:02 PM7/2/02

Funny, the inspector that the buyers used complained about it, and we had to
"pay" (compromise on other things) in order to make up for it.

The garage GFCI covered the outlets in the kitchen, baths, as well as the
hallway light, the light in the master closet, and 1/2 the outlets on the
outside wall of the master bedroom (this was a single story). Seems kinda odd
that this would be ok by code.


Jul 3, 2002, 9:18:23 AM7/3/02

faze3 wrote:

Was watching one of the home improvement shows on tv a few days back where they
were doing some remodeling to an older house. They installed the gFI this very same
way. My current house has it the same, as did the house previous to that.

Kevin Foltinek

Jul 3, 2002, 1:23:13 PM7/3/02
Karen Kay <> writes:

> Kevin Foltinek <> wrote in

> > Karen Kay <> writes:
> >
> >> That's an important part of any offer you make. I highly
> >> recommend "Mortgages for Dummies" and "Home Buying for
> >> Dummies". I found both of them very useful.
> >
> > I'd recommend Evans' "A Contractor's Advice on Buying a Home".
> > It's written with the intent that buyers can base their
> > decisions on more useful information than "Gosh, isn't that a
> > pretty flower bed, but goodness, look at the hideous wallpaper".

> To be fair to the Dummies books, they are written with the same
> intent.

I wasn't trying to bash the Dummies books, just recommending another
or a supplemental source. However, if a comparison must me made, I
would say that Evans' book is very much more about the nuts and bolts
(almost literally) of the house itself, and much less about the larger
process of buying a home. (My description of the intent was slightly
tongue in cheek; a more accurate description would be to allow the
potential buyer to assess the structural properties, reasonable
expected long term maintenance requirements, immediately required
maintenance and possibly associated more serious problems, and so on.)

> > (This book is not a replacement for an inspector; however, it
> > will enable the buyer to communicate intelligently with the
> > inspector, which can be a great value.)

> I didn't have any problem with this.

Nor was I trying to imply that you were, but certainly some people
(for example, those who don't know the difference between a rafter, a
joist, and a stud) might not be able to maximally exploit the
opportunities provided by following the inspector around and paying
attention and asking questions.


Strong Eagle

Jul 3, 2002, 3:27:40 PM7/3/02
BillS wrote:

There is nothing wrong with a single GFCI protecting a whole circuit anymore than there
is anything wrong with a single circuit breaker protecting the entire circuit, and in
fact, it is likely that the circuit breaker is a combination of breaker and GFCI.

PS: Nothing is wired in "series" in a typical home. All outlets, lights, etc. are
wired in PARALLEL into the same circuit breaker/GFCI.

Oct 28, 2016, 11:13:48 AM10/28/16
NPC was the largest privately owned home builder in the USA. In the 80' over half the homes in Austin were built by either NPC or Bill Milburn. NPC built homes in all price ranges starting with low priced two bedroom homes for under $30k in neighborhoods like Dove Springs in south east Austin, to $500K homes in Rob Roy and other exclusive neighborhoods.

The lower priced homes were engineered homes with the major components like roof trusses and walls "jig built" in a factory then shipped to the home site. This allowe NPC to build their homes more quickly and with less waste. Which meant they could keep prices lower.

When you compare a jig-built home to a stick-built home, you will find that jig-built homes are usually the better built of the two. Every component is measured exactly and engineered to last longer than most stick built homes. You don't have some jack-leg carpenter eye-balling the measurements. A jig built home with 24 inch centers is just as strong, if not stronger, than a "custom" home on 16 inch centers.

So do not listen to anyone who tries to tell you to "run from NPC homes". They were some of the best built homes available at the time and still are today.

Feb 10, 2017, 11:01:11 AM2/10/17
I work for NPC in 1983 to 84 on the custom housing projects. As a private contractor I in stalled living room doors. Every door I ( We ) in stalled could with stand weather and physical force. And my crew took pride in stalling and making a home safe.

Jan 28, 2018, 5:06:48 PM1/28/18

Jan 28, 2018, 5:16:02 PM1/28/18
On Tuesday, July 2, 2002 at 12:00:25 AM UTC-5, Stupid Gringo wrote:
I got my NPC home 20 years ago and was happy to have it at the time. However, when my son was taking a shower and his elbow went through the tile I started to wonder about construction issues. Turns out ALL the bathrooms were constructed using regular sheet rock with the tile laid on top of it. As even a novice like me knows that sheetrock does not perform well around water i.e. bathrooms. I ended up ripping out all the bathrooms and putting in green board on the walls and floors. I love my little home and am grateful that I have it but NPC cut corners wherever possible before they went bankrupt.

Mar 1, 2019, 11:23:53 PM3/1/19
I am looking at a lot in Buckingham Estates, Phase III and need to run down the Architectural Control Committee for that subdivision. Do you have any info that may be helpful?

Mar 1, 2019, 11:25:44 PM3/1/19

Mar 1, 2019, 11:26:45 PM3/1/19
On Friday, February 10, 2017 at 11:01:11 AM UTC-5, wrote:

Jul 8, 2019, 9:03:45 AM7/8/19
I bought an NPC Home in 1980 in Cherry Creek off Westgate Blvd. and William Cannon. It was seven years old. There were no problems with it at first but in the mid-1980s many homes in the neighborhood, including mine, showed massive slab problems. It appears that many were built on foundations Where the soil had not been properly prepared before the slab was poured. NPC was building So many homes, so fast, that quality was impaired.Cracking in the walls was a minimum problem and Some houses had ceilings fall in due to the shifting slabs. Many houses in the neighborhood had to repair their slabs and so many sued NPC that it went bankrupt - before I could sue. I Lived in the house for 10 years, but could not afford to repair it, and could not sell it in that condition, so I rented it out for another 20 Years. I finally sold it in 2011 to a flipper. He had to do a massive slab remediation, replace much sheet rock, and all the windows, which had broken during the slab renovation. Now that so many homes in the neighborhood have been repaired, I think it’s a safer bet to buy one. I would Insist on a thorough inspection, Before buying an NPC home, or any other, for that matter. There are so many NPC homes in Austin, and in many better close-in neighborhoods, that you should not reject the prospect of buying an NPC home. Bill Milburn ,another big Austin builder, also built many homes during this time. I have not heard many negative reports about the stability of those homes, but most realtors now may not know who built any specific home or neighborhood in Austin 30 years ago. Good luck

Gerre Gannaway

Sep 21, 2022, 7:31:46 PM9/21/22
We lived in an NPC house for 11 years. (Don't confuse house with home. Families make homes, and the houses are just the shells the families occupy.) Our NPC house should never have been built where it was located: we had to have the foundation leveled because it was on a soft bed of soil that sloped into a creekbed. The water pipes frequently needed repair, and the electrical wiring was almost laughable: the poles were switched on most of the outlets, and many had no ground wires. NPC chose the site and the contractors, and the company took no responsibility for their choices. The company declared bankruptcy in 1987, because it built too many cheaply-constructed (but easy-to-finance) houses, and the Austin housing market collapsed. Supply exceeded demand.
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