Author Topic: irvine pacific - thoughts on the design center selection/service?  (Read 1453 times)

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Offline emmie

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just wondering what other people's experiences have been, and if i'm just a one off bad experience.
having just completed the buying/building process in an irvine pacific community recently, i have a caveat emptor/buyer beware for irvine pacific. we did it, but MAN was it a slog and a struggle from the get go, and definitely decreased our excitement and happiness of buying a new home.  the following is just my own personal two cents; i know others may disagree and that's perfectly ok.

if you have a busy job, or are doing this on your own without a spouse or partner, just know that the IP design center is not that flexible. they have limited appointments from 9-4, which means you'll probably be rearranging your entire schedule around design appointments. they are very resistant regarding weekend appointments.  my limited schedule isn't their problem or fault, obviously - but what I *do* wish they had just told me before I bought was the  limited design center availability; that would definitely have played into my decision. the designer (at least the one i have) makes you feel incredibly guilty for any changes I made after the initial appointment for a phase, even if it was before the phase deadline - as though he/she was doing me a massive favor that was incredibly inconvenient.  they also don't let you come in at off hours to just browse and get a sense of what you like. when you're paying upwards of 1M for a home, you want to make it right, and it's preferable not to make decisions under pressure. the design consultants at least in my opinion pressure you to get things done in the same appointment, even though they tell you some people take multiple appointments. it didn't feel like they were really vested in making sure you are really satisfied in what you get.

also, another important thing to know. you don't really get a written estimate for a phase until you've selected and absolutely finalized ALL your things for that phase.  your running costs don't show up on the online design tool, AND they remove all your prior selections when a new phase starts. you also can't try to mix and match different combos of options on the online design tool to see what the prices would be. it's not ideal when you're trying to budget, and it's very hard to get the designers there to mix and match different options and quote prices for different combos in just a 2 hour appointment.

selection is not quite what you would get from other builders. we were seriously contemplating buying from another builder, and i truly wish i had. irvine company backsplash and counter selection is more or less what you might see in an irvine company apartment - nothing terribly special. KB seems to have upscale, luxury materials at reasonable prices.

the selection schedule is so tight, and i really wish we had been given more notice about this when the sales office sold the house to us. we turned in our deposit, and after our deposit went through we  were told the next selection stage deadline was literally within a few days. i had to drop everything and figure out what i wanted.  had i been informed how close the deadlines were prior to submitting my deposit, i might have seriously reconsidered buying at all from IP. it also wasn't disclosed to us at the time of purchase that the deadline for stage 1 selections had already passed- another material fact i'd have wanted disclosed as it would have influenced my decision. also, know that depending on the community, you may not be able to get a induction cooktop - you may have to go with a gas range.

there are multiple other things that happened during my purchasing process, including a whole extra 100K being added to our purchase agreement and me having to catch the error. there are multiple other facets to this that occurred that felt really wrong, so DM me if you want some tips on things to look out for.

i genuinely hope it hasn't been like that for everyone and that others have had much better experiences. this whole thing has been incredibly stressful and i really honestly regret buying through IP.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 10:29:43 PM by emmie »

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Offline cgs37

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Re: irvine pacific - thoughts on the design center selection/service?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2021, 12:25:12 PM »
So sorry you had a terrible experience with IP. I would be super frustrated as well if I went through what you did.

My wife and I actually had a really good experience with IP back in 2017 when we purchased our new home with them. Our work schedule is typical M-F 9-6p, so we always had our design appointments on Saturdays and it wasn't ever an issue. We were also able to come in (with notice) to check out a few things here and there if we wanted to. This was all pre-covid etc, so sounds like policies have changed.

Our designer, Katie, was amazing for us. Could have just been a really good match. We had similar tastes and styles so she was able to guide us and was very helpful throughout. Was quick to answer emails and give us new quotes etc.

I can't speak to the limitations of IP design choices since I don't have a comparison, but felt like there was plenty for us to choose from.

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Online Irvinehomeseeker

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Re: irvine pacific - thoughts on the design center selection/service?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2021, 07:19:04 PM »
we had very good experience as well with IP design center back in 2017. Designer worked very well with us. When the tiles in master bath were not properly installed, he personally worked with the installer  to get it fixed. He took enough time and interest through the process.

In contrast, the design center experience with Cal Pacific was not good. The design center was smallish and very limited choices. My wife felt that she could do much better job than the designer in suggesting upgrades and choices .




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Offline JadedOne

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Re: irvine pacific - thoughts on the design center selection/service?
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2021, 08:17:48 PM »
I know someone that just bought in Reserve with IP and had a similarly horrible experience. Maybe it's Covid, or maybe they just don't care as much given how hot the market is?

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Offline lnc

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Re: irvine pacific - thoughts on the design center selection/service?
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2021, 09:55:27 AM »
OP, you are not alone on this, IP design center experience is usually hit-or miss, sorry to hear OP's experience with IP design center.

I had a good experience dealing with the design center but that was probably due to reading all the tips, complains here on TI that I'm fully prepared and had a very low expectation.

We used to have a lot of threads on this, lot of good info was posted and it was very helpful for a lot of new home buyers.  For some reason in the last 2-3 years, not much thread on this subjects.

I summarized some tips regarding to dealing with IP design center a few years back, some things might be different now but general process probably petty much the same.

 https://www.talkirvine.com/index.php/topic,3948.msg217975.html#msg217975

Quote
After you sign the contract, ask about the complete list of stage 1 options and the stage 1 cut-off date.  The Cut-off date usually came up very quickly and most of stage 1 options like California Room, Conservatory, shower in lieu of bath tub, tech room require 100% deposit.

Obtain your IP Design Center's user name and password asap. Once you have these, you can access http://www.studiochateau.com/ and read about stage 2 options.

Stage 2 options are numerous and the list are over 40 pages long.  It include things like appliances, cabinets, knobs, doors, electrical pre-wirings, recessed lights, outlets, crown moldings, insulation etc.  It would be a good idea to studies these options before your fist design center appointment, so you have more time to make a decision on these options and use your appointment time more efficiently.

If you finish your stage 2 option selections early during your appointment, ask your design consultant to show you around about stage 3 options items.  Stage 3 options mainly consists of  countertop, backsplash, tiles, and flooring items.  Look around in the design center and starts to get an idea what do you want to do for your new home.

The way IPDS do thing is that in one appointment, they show you the options, let you think over, and make your final decision on the subsequent appointment.  For these stage 3 options, it's really hard to make these selections in these very restricted time frame.  So if you got extra time at end of your stage 2 option appointment, use it to look at some stage 3 options.

The design center used to let home buyers go in and out of design center in between appointment to take another look at tile, stone samples, but not anymore. You can only go in if you have appointment.   So if you need more time to look at different stone, tiles, etc here's some more tips for you.

For granite countertops (upgrades, other than standard free granite kitchen countertop):
IPDS mainly uses Arizona tile's slab yard in Anaheim  http://www.arizonatile.com/  and Marbolis also in Anaheim.  http://www.marbolis.com/
When you get there, sign in at front desk and just tell them you bought a home from Irvine Pacific.  Both places have large selection of granite slab for you to choose and both have very helpful and friendly staff.  Here you can looks at granite in full slab instead of small 6x6 sample at design center, and it really helps when you looks at granite slab in full size.  What ever slab they have in stock,  most likely you can use it even if you didn't see it at the design center.  Just get the name of granite and confirm with your design consultant about prices and availability.  Once you decided the granite, you can go back and select the specific slab.

For porcelain, natural stone tile, etc:
Most of IPDS's selection are from Arizona Tile http://www.arizonatile.com/, Bedrosians www.bedrosians.com/locations/view/126/Anaheim_Showroom and Daltile http://www.daltile.com/  All have showroom in Anaheim so you can browse through great selection of mosaic tile, floor tiles etc.  Arizona tile and Daltile will hand out free tile samples.  Not all the selection are available through IPDS, you need to check with your DS consultant.

At IPDS, when you see the tile sample with code AZT (Arizona tile), Dal (Daltile), and BTS (Bedrosians), now you know where these tile are from.

Warning:  When you visit these tile showrooms, you will  find out how much these tiles cost and how much more IP charge you for it.

Hope this helps.

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Offline sleepy5136

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Re: irvine pacific - thoughts on the design center selection/service?
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2021, 10:37:09 AM »
Just my personal thoughts but I personally wouldn't go through the builder for upgrades since they charge such a huge premium compared to having a contractor do it for you. If you do it after closing, you will have the flexibility to choose from whatever material you like. Unless the upgrades are structural upgrades, I would personally avoid having any upgrades through the builder. Not only does it increase your total purchase price, but depending on the total $ amount of upgrades you choose, your home may not appraise. Your property taxes will also be more expensive if you finance your upgrades as well. Also, keep in mind that builders may have a maximum threshold that you can put into the mortgage. Once that threshold is reached, you will have to pay cash. For example, my builder only allowed 15k of upgrades that can be put into the mortgage. So if you bought a 800k house, you can only finance up to 815k. Anything above 815k, you pay out of pocket.

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Offline emmie

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Re: irvine pacific - thoughts on the design center selection/service?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2021, 12:19:30 AM »
WOW... it's been a busy couple of days, and i haven't had time to log in..but THANK YOU for all the great responses.

to those of you who said do the upgrades through third party stores.. how do you do that? do you just get the standard options and then have someone come in and rip out the counters / backsplash? my SO wants a move in ready house but if it saves money, i think i can convince him to wait the extra month for third party installs. also, my sales person told me that if we do electrical or floors or bathroom tile or counters from a third party, it voids the warranty?  of this list, which would you recommend doing third party
-master and lower bathroom shower
-master bathroom counters
-kitchen counters
-kitchen backsplash
-knobs/accessories
or just get everything third party?

i'm really glad at least some people had a good experience. and to both those who did and those who didn't, thanks for the empathy/sympathy. yes these are first world problems and yes, i fully respect that they have to limit people inside. but man, i wish i had read some of these amazingly detailed posts (thanks @inc) that you guys quoted. mea culpa for not searching the talkirvine archives before buying. the tip about not appraising and property taxes from @sleepy5136 is gold too.  maybe i'll call the design store and ask for a new designer too in the meantime. the quote that really got me was "if i'm going to come in on the weekend to do this, we are going to get it all done at once." felt very pressured. you guys, all of you, seriously thank you so much for taking time to reply, and for letting me at least vent. i really appreciate it.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 01:04:39 AM by emmie »

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Offline qwerty

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Re: irvine pacific - thoughts on the design center selection/service?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2021, 06:34:14 AM »
The chances of you needing the home builder warranty is generally slim. Perhaps they use that as a sales tool to get people to buy their overpriced upgrades. Convenience has a price as you can see.

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Offline lnc

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Re: irvine pacific - thoughts on the design center selection/service?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2021, 02:27:08 PM »
to those of you who said do the upgrades through third party stores.. how do you do that? do you just get the standard options and then have someone come in and rip out the counters / backsplash? my SO wants a move in ready house but if it saves money, i think i can convince him to wait the extra month for third party installs. also, my sales person told me that if we do electrical or floors or bathroom tile or counters from a third party, it voids the warranty?  of this list, which would you recommend doing third party
-master and lower bathroom shower
-master bathroom counters
-kitchen counters
-kitchen backsplash
-knobs/accessories
or just get everything third party?


For these specific items you mentioned, I would recommend just go with builder.

For master primary bathroom and kitchen counter tops, builder already give you a decent priced material as standard.  All optional counter top upgrades are just paying a upgrade price.  Usually its about the same or a little cheaper with the builder because 3rd party vendor usually pay higher price for the same material than the builder,  3rd party vendor also need to remove the existing counter top, pay fabricator to custom cut the new counter top so the existing sink & faucet can be refitted.

Same with the backsplash and shower tiles, the cost of removing these are significant since they are very labor intensive and very time consuming, and at the end, you might not save much with the 3rd party.  However, you certainly can get more choice of material with 3rd party since the choices with IP design center is very limited.

Knobs/accessories, these are sort of small items, just go with the builder. 

One thing you do want to go with 3rd party vendors are the floorings.  These are where the savings are very significant and also lower your overall purchase price for property tax basis like other mentioned.  Others things buyer usually go with outside venders are window treatments, custom closet organizer, painting, garage floor epoxy and landscaping. 

Also just want to give you a heads up, lot of reputable 3rd party vendors are all very booked right now.   Due to Covid and housing market boom, home renovation are at all time high, they are in extreme high demand.  Therefor,  it might be a challenge to find a good vendor to do your project in a timely manner.

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Offline emmie

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Re: irvine pacific - thoughts on the design center selection/service?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2021, 12:06:31 AM »
Thank you again everyone for such great responses.
Two  last questions I have for everyone is
1) Whether paint is a lot cheaper with the design center?  Does anyone know if the standard IP white is decent quality or does it have a thin, watery, non-uniform/watercolor-like look to it? Is it bright white?
2) Re: backsplash, if you were planning on getting something cheap and having a third party replace it later, would you get a cheaper tile or would you get a quartz slab panel? Which is cheaper to remove?

Also, some tips as I'm starting to near the end of this process.

1) I think if I had to do this all over again, I would make one appointment where I literally just browse materials and take pictures of everything including the name labels on the tiles. I wouldn't even talk to a designer at this stage. I'd just get a feel for what colors/materials I liked and take pics of EVERYTHING.   Then I'd go home, and google pics of the materials actually tiled out (e.g. on Houzz or Pinterest, find a shower that uses the tile I took a picture of and see how it actually looks tiled out, see what type of floor the pics I liked used, etc). Then I'd go back armed with my final selections.

2) Don't feel bad if you need 2-3 sessions like I need. I felt really bad, like I was being a burden somehow. And I've had to ask for extensions on deadlines.  But the thing is, you're paying 1M upwards for this house. Not everyone (e.g. me) is a design genius, some people need a bit more time feeling comfortable especially when you're paying 10K for a single shower, you know? Like if you did a shower remodel through a third party, you'd have unlimited time to look at materials, go to the stores on State College and browse. They somehow have limited selection and have a goal for you to pick everything in a 2 hour session without the benefit of being able to browse much beforehand? It's a bit of a reach.   I TOTALLY get that they have to restrict sessions due to COVID, but if they're doing that I feel like they need to have weekend hours and hire more designers for the weekend  to accommodate people who just want to browse before their appointment. When I asked for a weekend appointment, the designer basically said "If I'm going to come in on the weekend, we're going to get it all done in one go." That seems reasonable but the way he/she said it made me feel super pressured, as though they're doing me some massive favor and I better get it right that day.  Not cool, IP, not cool.

3) You guys were SO right about flooring. It seems to be about 4-6K less if you go with other vendors. I called around to Sterling Carpet and a few other places and it's substantially cheaper.

4) We overspent in Stage 2 on electrical, but I did that because a) to get more electrical you'd have to cut drywall later and b) I think if there's one thing that really COULD void the warranty it would be some third party electrician messing with electrical. 

5) Keep reminding yourself these are #firstworldproblems. Looking at India right now, I keep realizing how fortunate I am to have oxygen, let alone be obsessing about shower tile. Take a deep breath and it'll all work out. At least that's what I keep telling myself lol.

The silver lining on all of this is that sale prices on the new phases continue to increase substantially. So, hopefully there should be some decent appreciation by the time we move in.

Thanks everyone for being so awesome.

« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 01:43:16 AM by emmie »

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