Home Buying in 78732>Question Details

Cp, Home Buyer in Austin, TX

I am having drainage problem in my new home back yard that is make the foundation wall moist. The closing for this house is scheduled for 3/25/10.

Asked by Cp, Austin, TX Sun Mar 7, 2010

The builder just installed the French drain in the back yard but it is difficult to tell if that is going to completely resolve the issue. With the closing approaching so fast, do I need to put the builder in a bind to resolve the issue before closing? Can I delay the closing if this issue is not resolved? What power I have to delay the closing? The title office has sent me schedule a, b and c documents and schedule c mentions about the unresoved issues before closing. I am not sure what exactly needs to be done. Your advice is greatly appreciated.

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If this home is on Emerald Ridge and is a Taylor Morrison, ask them if any previous buyers have had a mechanical engineer out to inspect and what the outcome was. I had a buyer under contract to buy one of them and there was a moisture problem with the foundation and the Mechanical Engineer said to RUN. There is not proper drainage on many of those homes (he checked the neighboring homes as well) and he advised that major trenchwork (approx. 12K) be done, and even then there was no guarantee. MLAW Engineers is who we called, so they can probably help you. Also, Taylor Morrison is usually very good about returning your deposit if any issues such as this arise, so I would be surprised if they didn't work with you on this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 21, 2010
If a structural engineer gives you a report that states there is still an issue - the builder does not have near as much "leverage" as you may think.

Once you put him "On Notice" that there is a potentially chronic issue - he has an obligation to resolve this issue.

GET THE ENGINEER! Good luck - don't let the builder push you....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 7, 2010
Can you bring in an expert in basement/foundation waterproofing that can assist you and provide you advice? If you have this support and documentation, you may gain leverage and attention as you discuss this with your builder.

If you not convinced the problem has been corrected, and are nervous to close, you may find it worth a call to an attorney. The attorney can review your contract and provide you advice.

The terms of the warranty would dictate what is covered.

You will want to know what your post closing protections are. Maybe a local TX agent will be able to shed some light on that, but it might really need a review of your specific documents.....and your best source for contract review is an attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 7, 2010
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ

I would like to have the builder resolve the issue but I am not sure what leverage I can use to make that happen. I have already paid about 25K in initial payments (half the upgrade cost).

Do I just boldly tell the builder that I can not close until the issue is resolved? They bring their legal weight on me - which I am not able to react to.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 7, 2010
Don't close until you resolve this, even if you are promised a warranty. Builders are going bankrupt every day.

In fact you may want to ask the builder to find a licensed structural engineer who will inspect (at their cost) and provide an opinion letter with his "raised" seal. Once you close and take ownership you have little or no bargaining power.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 7, 2010
Just to provide an additional information. This is a brand new home. So the builder will provide 1 year warrenty on workmanship and 10 year warranty on the foundation. Is this adequate justification by the builder to proceed with the settlement/closing?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 7, 2010
Good advice from the inspector. Get a good structural engineer to look at the home.

This could be a serious and ongoing problem. It is better to get it resolved now - before you own the property - then go to settlement and be stuck with a cronic problem.

Structural engineers usually are licensed. Check with the state to find some that are local - then select the one with the best experience with this problem to assist.

They will know how to best document this problem.

Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 7, 2010
I am not sure how to properly document the observations. I have taken pictures of moist foundation wall and the back yard before the rain. I will take some more pictures after the rain tomorrow and see if the dainage is occuring properly. I am not sure if that is adequate proof to the builder. I also had inspection done and waiting for the report. The inspector did suggest that consult the residential structural engineer to quantify the moise foundation wall issue. I do not know where to find a good residential structural engineer who can inspect the foundation and the sourrounding site condition. The moist foundation wall is due to wet surrounding. Again I am not sure what is adequate proof before settlement what is governing authority if the builder does not agree.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 7, 2010
You should document the problem the best you can before settlement. You should also hire your own expert to determine if a French drain will take care of the moisture.

You are in a good position - as you have not yet settled on the home, and I am sure the builder is anxious for the home to go to settlement. See if they will sign a document guaranteeing the repair.

If your expert is not confident that the French Drain will solve the problem - you should think twice about settling. Be sure the expert you hired is competent with a good reputation. You may need them to testify should the builder sue for not performance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 7, 2010
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