Can a buyer force a builder to complete the home under contract?

Asked by Shaun G, San Antonio, TX Tue Jul 17, 2012

I am purchasing a home. The builder is taking forever to build the home. we have extended the contract 5 times so far and it doesn't look like we will meet the next closing date. I still want the home but is there anything I can do to force the builder to work faster? it seems like they are trying to let the contract expire since another extension is being refused by their end. The have informed us they are willing to give us back all earnest money back as well as deposits made for upgrades. Is there anything I can do to force the builder to keep working and extend again. I still want to buy the house

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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sun Jul 22, 2012
Your best opyion may be to meet with an attorney to see if yiou can sue for specific performance. Meaning that it iwll force the builder to abide by the contract
0 votes
Sue Baillio, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Tue Jul 17, 2012
There is far too little information in your question to be addressed by anyone on the outside of this transaction. There are a number of reasons that builders can not complete the building process in a timely manner, some extenuating circumstance out of his control, others may be his fault. Most contracts in Texas are consumer oriented and tend to protect the buyer, but we do not know what is in your contract. Can you force it? - not all the time; does this break a contract - yes, but what is in your contract? There could be a clause for "specific performance" in your contract that you allow you to press the builder to finish - or you would have grounds to sue him to finish.
Is this a production builder or a custom builder, do you own the land, is the property in a city or a county with building inspections and permits, are the utilities in place, is there interim finnacing???
You may need to seek the advise of a Real Estate attorney. Are you sure you want a house that you have to "force" the builder to finish.
If you want further discussion on this subject please call me.

0 votes
Brenda Mullen, Agent, Garden Ridge, TX
Tue Jul 17, 2012
Hi Shaun,

Have you talked to your Realtor® about this? Why is the builder taking so long? You would have to look at your contract to find out what your rights are. I wonder why they are refusing to extend.

There just isn't enough information to go on here. I suggest getting with your Realtor® to go over the contract. If you don't have a Realtor®, then perhaps you need to seek out an attorney. You also may want to elevate the issue to the main builders corporation and see what they say.

I wish you the best of luck and hope that the builder finishes your home. If they don't for whatever reason, and you didn't have representation with an agent, I suggest you get one on your next purchase. It's important to have someone represent you on any type of home purchase as the sales person at the new home site works for the builder. Again, good luck and if I can help you in any other way, feel free to call or e-mail.

Brenda Mullen
Realtor®, ABR, ePRO
RE/MAX Access
0 votes
Darrell D. D…, Agent, Schertz, TX
Tue Jul 17, 2012

Yes and No....let me preface this with the statement that I am not an attorney and you should seek counsel from an attorney for specifics related to your case.

However, based on most real estate contracts, you can do one of two different things if they won't extend and it looks like they won't be able to fulfill the contract:

1) accept a full return of your earnest money (and in this case, upgrade deposits) and walk away.


2) Seek an attorney to file suit for specific performance of the contract....this means you are suing them to fulfill their obligations under the contract. This option may take months and may even take a year or longer.....if you win, they may be liable for your attorneys fees and closing costs and may be forced to fulfill their obligations.

But, if they are struggling to finish, they may be having financial problems or other issues. If they file bankruptcy, then you may even lose your funds in escrow. I would advise you to either consider walking or seek out a competent attorney for other options

Darrell D. Drouillard
Home Team of America
16719 Huebner Rd., Bldg 4
San Antonio, Texas 78248
210-881-6760 (Fax)

'Serving all Your Real Estate Needs'
0 votes
thank you, but what happens if the contract just expires? we got a really good deal on the home, but I think they are trying to force me out of the contract by letting it expire. is it possible to force them into another extension?
Flag Tue Jul 17, 2012
Jason Campbe…, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Tue Jul 17, 2012
This must be going around!!! I have had 2 clients that attempted to build homes with a builder I shall not name right now... but I want to oh so bad!!!

In both cases... we grabbed the money, and went out and found a better deal with another builder on an inventory home... I am used to negotiating pretty hard with builders, so long story short, both situations turned out for the best...

Now... the builder's contracts allow for them to get out of a contract on their end in a lot of ways... I would review that builder's contract to see what it says...

If you are not able to give them the time they need to complete the construction, or the builder is unable to finish the home at this time... You really are better off taking every cent of your cash back, and going out and buying a builder inventory home and beating that builder to death on price... You will always get a better deal on an inventory home than you will get on a new build... no exceptions... :)

I can and will help you get a MUCH better deal than you can get on your own, and I'll explain why if you call or e-mail... If that is an option...

If not.. all you can really do is get on the horn with the sales manager, and seeing what you can work out...

Jason C Campbell
Option One Real Estate
0 votes
This is really good. I'm not going to say any names. We have a builder from S.A. Texas, who is building our house in Hays County. We are having ups and downs with this builder. Now, we have to schedule an appointment to walk through the house that we signed for. We have paid for all the upgrades, and now if we back out, we loose all of our money that was put in this house for upgrades. My wife really loves this house, but I'm not allowed to enter the property without an escort (the owner of the company said " safety issues". Well, anybody else can walk into the house, without any protecting clothing. Can anyone please help?
Flag Thu Jun 19, 2014
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