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Jenesa, Home Buyer in Atlanta, GA

i was in the process of buying a kb home in ga, i gave them 500 dollars ernest money before the house was

Asked by Jenesa, Atlanta, GA Thu Nov 20, 2008

built. at my walk through 3 months later myself as well as my inspector saw cracks all over the slab. we ask for them to note this in the contract and kb refused they claimed it was stress cracks, another contractor told me they were shrinkage cracks. there were so many cracks my home inspector advised me on not taking the house because in the contract it states if after purchasing the house and something happens such as the cracks getting large, etc and i report it they will have to investigate to see if it was something i did or if it was from them, because of that they did not want to be responsible and note the existing cracks in the slab on my contract. what can i do to get my ernest money back since it was not my fault i did not get the house?

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Hank Miller’s answer
Jenesa -

The best way to prevent concrete from cracking is not to place it - concrete cracks. Now, with all due respect to inspectors and contractors, if there are that many cracks then Lee is right - hire a professional engineer (preferably with P.E. after their name) and get the situation evaluated.

A few things to question though:

1. $500 earnest money? Never saw that with ANY new construction deal. That's unheard of.
2. You saw these cracks at the walkthrough 3 months later? Where were these seen - the garage? I assume the finished floors were in?
3. What credentials does your inspector have - is he ASHI certified? Does he know how to evaluate concrete or is he simply covering his keister and throwing a flag. Did he write up that issue and research what is "normal cracking"?
4. Did you use a buyer's agent or just the builder's agent? If you have an agent bring them in - KB needs to sell homes and having another advocate (your agent) bringing pressure might help. Builders depend on outside agents to sell - word of mouth is powerful in the agent community.
5. Is the deal already dead and they're holding your earnest money?

If you want the house then you should get a professional opinion and present it to KB if the cracking is atypical. If it is, short of tearing up the slab there's not much they can do. If the cracking is typical, then you either buy the home or not. If not then your best case scenario is lose the $500, worst case is be sued for non-performance as you have failed to uphold your end of the contract.

If you have an agent, get an opinion from them. If you don't, then get a lawyer.

2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 21, 2008

It's time to make some decisions......

Is it in your bbest interest to walk away from your ernest money and forget about the home?

Is it in your best interest to continue the deal under thier conditions?

Should you consult an attorney?

In the building business these cracks have come to be common and accepted. This does not eliminate that there may be additional damage to the property that will need to be addressed with you as the owner. The most common problems associated with this are cracking of floor tile, loosening of grout, wall & ceiling cracks, doors not working freely. It also may not be a matter of making these repairs and considering it done....these cracks have a history of becoming cronic and may take years before they stop, requiring fepeated attention and maintenance to keep up with them.

Another consideration is that these cracks have the potential of becoming access ways for supterranian termites, a whole different issue.......

As we see it, it may be important to stand your ground, insisting that K-B put it in writing that they are committed to protecting you from future problems.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 21, 2008

First things first.

Before you and your Home Inspector, and KB's team, and "another contractor" rely upon untrained speculation, hire a Structural Engineer with a track record in evaluating the dimensional stability of different types of concrete. Spend another $500 and be duly diligent.

That being said, no matter what, KB has a reputation to uphold and will not let a negative engineer's report stand, I'm pretty sure. If you think differently, then so be it. If KB is acting up, then you have recourse through their corporate channels, the Georgia Home Builder's Association, the BBB, etc.

You need a case based on facts and not uncertified speculation. You are probably playing in the greyer areas of "concrete performance" that are specifically defined in your Binding Agreement.

You better have your paperwork tight, if you want this house, or else...

You could just let the $500 go.

Or, do you love, love, love the house? Is it a dreamhome? Are you crestfallen and melancholy over the whole sordid affair? Do you just want the big mean builder to satisfy specific structural concerns and then call it a happy day?

If so, then get your due diligence on.

If not, then come on, $500? If you can let 'em have it, and suffer no penalties, then lose the money and move on.

If you do not understand the consequences of that walkaway move, then consult with a real estate litigator or else hope that you don't get sued for specific performance under a Binding Agreement.

Jenesa - I'm shocked that KB only has $500 Earnest Money on this contract.

KB - if you are reading this, step up your game. Real estate is a serious business.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 21, 2008
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