Home Buying in Fort Worth>Question Details

New Texan, Home Buyer in Fort Worth, TX

I am currently under contract to purchase a new home. The builder has continuously made flagrant errors.

Asked by New Texan, Fort Worth, TX Tue Jan 15, 2008

My confidence in being provided what was supposed to be "a quality, well-built home" has been seriously degraded.

My contract states that I can get out of the contract if I "advise us (the builder) in writing that I do not intend to fully perform any provision of the contract." A lose my good faith deposit and any additional deposit for upgrades, but a small loss in my opinion for the peace of mind knowing that I will not be living in a house that might have issues down the road or supporting a company that would build a house in such a manner.

My wife, ever the most reasonable half of the team, would like to know what our options are(is there a better house out there?), before canceling any contract (and losing the money). My question is "Will a real estate agent be willing to work for me with the understanding that I am currently under contract to buy a home under construction?" The home is not slated for completion for another 4 months or so.

Thanks

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Depending on the builder you should be able to get your money back. The bigger name builders usually dont fight you to hard because they dont want the bad publicity. If it was a smaller custom builder you contracted with you may have some more resistance but from your email and the way you worded what (the builder) wrote in the contract I can probably guess which builder you are referring to. I have had this happen a couple times before to some of my clients. As a broker typically I can get them to give you your money back because they dont want the bad name in the real estate or buying community. feel free to email me if you have anymore questions. dcollett@weichert.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
I am sorry, the question is worded poorly.

I wanted to know if a real estate agent would be willing to work for me now to find a new house before I break my contract with the builder.

And the issues are both structural and cosmetic. The constant fixing of errors is not something that makes me feel better about purchasing a new home.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
Adam,

I think the answer to your question depends on a few things. First of all you should get what you are paying for first and foremost.

I am not sure of the building codes in your area but if they are strongly enforced you can believe with REASONABLE certainty that home is structurally sound. That being said, are your issues structural or are they cosmetic? Are they putting walls in the wrong place? You have to ask yourself, if it is cosmetic or "things" are in the wrong place then that could be communication deficiency from the office to the field guys . That doesn't mean the house will not be well built it just means the builder needs some orginizational training.

I'm not sure a Realtor would want to get involved at this point of the transaction, but an attorney would be your best option anyway. You may ask the builder before you move in to have the home inspected by a local home inspector.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
I know in Texas, there isn't as much government oversight for builders. There are, however some. I would find out which might be willing to provide some professional scolding to this builder. Also depending on how much you stand to loose. I would threaten to start a marketing campagne against him. With photos and other examples of his breach of trust and competence.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
I am so sorry that you have had a negative experience. This is one of the reasons that buyers of new construction really need their own agent from the beginning. You need an advocate who will also be a witness to your problems just in case you have to litigate. If you are able to void your contract with the builder, I am sure that a good REALTOR will be willing to help you find the home that you want.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
I would be concerned about that house if the two by fours are in contact with the ground. When wood is contact with earth the wood eventually sucks up ground water then becomes infected with fungus. After the fungus has weakened the wood, termites move in. The wooden 2 by 4 boards should never be in permanent contact with the earth.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 31, 2008
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Carmichael, CA
MVP'08
Contact
From my experiences in new home sales if you complain enough you will usually get your money back, especially if you have a real complaint and the builder has not put a lot of your custom features in the house.
Web Reference: http://www.homeferret.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 31, 2008
Thanks for all the feedback.

It is good to know that I am not being irrational and expectations of quality the first time (or even the second) is not too much to ask.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2008
New Texan,

Email me a telephone number to call you.

Emmanuel Scanlan
PS Inspection & Property Services LLC
TREC License #7593
http://www.psinspection.com
Web Reference: http://www.psinspection.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
New Texan

Consider taking your contract to a local real estate attorney.

Your attorney will be able to advise you on how to handle this within the terms of your and your builder's written obligations and protect Your best interests.

Best of luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
I agree with Naima, it just sounds like there are too many issues not being resolved accordingly. If this is how they act when they are trying to earn your business what will happen once they have it!!
Web Reference: http://www.CarlosDFW.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
Ok... RUN... Don't walk from this!!! I would fight to get your earnest money too.
Web Reference: http://www.sumnerrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
They are saying that the estimated completion date is sometime at the end of April. The house looks like a house to me, e.g. it has a foundation, walls, a roof, etc. Dont know about any other builders timeline. As far as good builders and bad builders, can you really make this statement without knowing exactly which builders use which contractors for the different parts of the house and which contractors work for multiple builders.

The foundation for the house was poured incorrectly in two places, the concrete company did not take into account modifications to the plans. The mistakes were not noted until I notified the builder. Subsequently, one mistake was corrected (the one I let them know about, the other was not apparent to me or them until the walls were built). If I was in charge of the house, they have someone whose job it is to monitor homes under construction, and someone told me that the foundation was wrong in one place, I would check the other place that I knew had been changed. However, they didn't (maybe this poor guy is responsible for 20+ houses but it does not change his job description) and therefore the framing guys came out and framed the house and so a foot and a half portion of an outer wall was hanging over empty air. This was also not realized until I informed them of the problem. Within a mere week, they managed to fit 2 2x4's (stacked on top of each other) under the wall to make sure the wall was ok until it was fixed.

I was out of town for a week when they called and notified the problem would be fixed by removing the 2x4's, prepping the area with bonding agent, inserting rebar, and puring concrete. They asked if I could come by the house to go over the issue. I said "No, Im out of town." The problem was fixed that afternoon, and the sheetrock and brick were installed the next morning effectively sealing up any way to look at the repair. However, my wife was in town and that evening went by and noticed that the 2x4's were left under the outside wall and concrete was poured into the void behind the wood. The outer wall at the bottom is the 2x4's covered by the brick facade. I contacted the builder and asked "Why was it not fixed in the manner that you described to me 2 days ago as the right way?" They stated that when the concrete guys arrived at the job to fix the problem, they determined that removing the 2x4's would be too much extra work because the 2x4's were supporting the wall fine. My concern then and confirmed by the builder was this was the same company that was responsible for pouring the foundation wrong in the first place, either through their own incompetence, sheer negligence, or they were too lazy to look at the plans. I have an issue when you let someone fix their own mistake and let them make an executive decision regarding the manner in which it was repaired based on which way was easier. His statement was that the concrete company got to the job site and determined that it would be easier for them to fix it this way. I am not in a home construction related field and therefore have no idea if this can cause any issues, but when I am told "This is how it will be done because it is the right way" and the plan is changed by the company who messed up in the first place because another way would be easier and does not even have to consult with someone like the builder, then I have to assume it was not done the right way because this way was more expedient.

I understand that some people might not see this as an issue because it was addressed, but in my field if I am providing something to someone, it better be right.

My viewpoint currently is that if I am seeing these issues having never built a house before, what am I not seeing. I have huge issues with the person/company selling me a house saying "This might not look like its a good idea, but I promise its perfectly fine." There are examples in Tarrant County where mistakes by the builder have lead to neighborhood wide problems with the quality of a house (particularly the foundation) and I don't want to be responsible for trying to pursue legal action against a company that might be bankrupt within 6 months .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
New Texan,

Interesting situation..... you really need to have your Realtor or the attorney you used when you signed the contract look at it to tell you what your options are. I think normally most builders will work with you to come to some kind of peaceful resolution to your concerns. What has degraded your confidence? Seems like most of the tract builders can build a house in 4 months, so I wouldn't think they were too far along in the process. Has work started? If it hasn't now would be the time to tell them. The further they are in the process the less compromise they can make. Your Realtor can walk you through some of the things that you may be uncomfortable with---maybe they apply to every builder in the area. Please understand I am not supporting the builder in any way.... there are some builders better than others, but sometimes even the best builders can make plenty of mistakes. I mean how many thousands of houses have we built....how many times has the frame been built, the electric and the plumbing been put in, but still we see plenty of red tags from the city building inspectors and every single new house I've sold and done an inspection on has a laundry list of items to fix before occupancy. You might want to take a quick look at my website under the new home section. If there's any way we can help you please feel free to give us a call at 214-675-6992
Web Reference: http://www.teamlynn.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
MVP'08
Contact
Before you break your contract with the builder, you may want to go look at some homes and compare value, quality etc. so you can make an informed decision. Also, a Realtor can look at the house that is being built and honestly tell you if it's items you may run into with several builders or not.

I'll be happy to assist you.

Naima
Web Reference: http://www.sumnerrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
If you'd like go to my website and send me your email and I'd be happy to provide you with a list of homes in the area you are looking at. That way you can at least see on paper what's out there and maybe even drive around and see. It doesn't hurt to look!

Carlos@CarlosCavazos.com
Web Reference: http://www.CarlosDFW.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
Maybe you can speak to the builder and let him know of your concerns and explain to him that you want to add a Realtor to the transaction for your protection. See if he allows you to add a Realtor to help you to the contract, which they usually have already slotted those funds for and get yourself some representation. If he declines then maybe that's another sign that your gut feeling is correct. I am a big believer of trusting your instinct and if it doesn't feel right then maybe it's not for you.
Web Reference: http://www.CarlosDFW.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2008
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