Beyond Bricks and Mortar: The Fungible Treatment of Homebuyers in Texas’ Booming Homebuilding Industry

Mar 3, 24 • News

In Texas, the homebuilding industry has experienced significant growth over the years, driven by factors such as population influx, economic expansion, and urbanization. However, this growth has also brought to light some concerning practices within the industry, particularly regarding the treatment of homebuyers by certain unregulated homebuilders.


The term “transactional” implies a purely business-oriented approach, where the focus is solely on completing the sale and maximizing profit, often at the expense of other considerations such as quality, customer satisfaction, or long-term relationships. When homebuilders treat homebuyers as fungible, they see them as interchangeable units rather than individuals with unique needs, preferences, and concerns. This can manifest in several ways:


  • Lack of Customization: Fungible treatment often means offering standardized, cookie-cutter homes without much regard for customization or personalization. Homebuyers may feel like they’re just another number in a long line of transactions, with little attention paid to their specific desires or requirements.


  • Neglecting Quality: When the primary goal is to churn out as many homes as possible to maximize profits, corners may be cut on quality control measures. This can result in shoddy construction, the use of subpar materials, and a general disregard for craftsmanship, leaving homebuyers with homes that are plagued by defects and issues.


  • Poor Customer Service: Viewing homebuyers as fungible entities can lead to a lack of emphasis on providing satisfactory customer service. Homebuilders may be less responsive to buyer inquiries, complaints, or warranty claims, further exacerbating the feeling of being treated as mere transactions rather than valued clients.


  • Limited Transparency: Fungible treatment can also involve a lack of transparency in the homebuying process. Important information about the home, its construction, warranties, or future developments in the area may be withheld or glossed over, leaving buyers feeling uninformed and vulnerable.


  • Short-Term Focus: Homebuilders focused solely on transactions may prioritize short-term gains over long-term sustainability. This can lead to unsustainable development practices, such as disregarding environmental concerns or building in flood-prone areas, ultimately putting buyers at risk in the long run.


  • While not all homebuilders in Texas operate in this manner, in my experience most do. The absence of stringent regulations and oversight in the industry has created an environment where such practices thrive. Addressing these issues requires a concerted effort from policymakers, industry stakeholders, and consumers to promote ethical standards, enforce regulations, and hold accountable those who prioritize profit over people. By fostering a culture of transparency, accountability, and customer-centricity, the homebuilding industry in Texas can better serve the needs and interests of homebuyers, rather than treating them as mere commodities in a transactional process.