When it comes to home buyers and how they rate their builders, size really doesn't matter. Or so says Robert Mirman, CEO of Eliant, formerly National Survey Systems, based in Irvine, Calif. "It doesn't make any difference if you're a huge builder or a small mom-and-pop shop, buyers have the same expectations and judge builders with the same sort of criteria," says Mirman, whose company has been surveying home buyers for the last 16 years. "There's no correlation between size and effectiveness. The customer has the same needs and expectations at both ends of the spectrum."

Eliant's survey of 100,000 home buyers ranks 141 builders in 14 categories that Mirman calls "benchmarks" in the home-purchasing process, including sales, customer service, construction, options and upgrades, financing, and quality. Each category is divided into three segments based on the size of the builder.

"Over the years the whole shift has been away from a product-driven experience to a customer-driven experience," says Mirman. "All of our best builders are redefining themselves as a service company first and a home builder second."

Winning Ways

2003 Eliant Home Buyers' Choice Awards

(Top Three Winners--Overall Satisfaction Category)

High volume:

U.S. Home, Denver

Greystone/Lennar Homes, Phoenix

Lennar Homes, Mission Viejo, Calif.

Large builder:

John Laing Homes, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Lennar Homes, Denver

California Pacific Homes, Irvine, Calif.

Robert Mirman
Robert Mirman

Medium builder:

Greth Homes, Temple, Pa.

O'Brien Group, San Mateo, Calif.

Genesee Co., Tucson, Ariz.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Denver, CO.