I have just signed a contract on a home to be constructed. The builder has since changed the design. Am I still obligated to buy the home?

Asked by Tina Jackson, North Carolina Sat Jan 29, 2011

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Jacob David, Agent, Houston, TX
Sat Jan 29, 2011
If there is valid proof that you signed for another design, then you can seek legal recourse. But if it is worded such in your contract, that the builder reserves all rights to change designs without notification to the buyer, then you are obligated to go through with the purchase. However, you can still consult a real estate attorney to back out of the deal claiming that you as a buyer are not satisfied with your purchase. State law allows that you do not have to purchase a property unless you get what you signed for. Again, recheck the wording in your contract. You can seek legal recourse, notify the builder you are going to do so. Maybe the builder will back down and you can have your earnest money back. Hope this helps.
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Larry Story, Agent, Greensboro, NC
Sat Jan 29, 2011

I am curious if you had a buyer's agent or if you used the builder's onsite agents. You need to realize they work for the builder not you. Of course most builders use their own contracts and paperwork instead of standard North Carolina. The best bet is to take your contract paperwork and check with a good real estate attorney. They can tell you your rights. Unfortunately most builder's contracts are skewed to favor them. That is why it is best for you to have agent representation to read over such things before signing.

Hope this helps,
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April Grossm…, , Chapel Hill, NC
Sat Jan 29, 2011
Oh, my gosh. This is the first time I've heard of this! I would say this is something that may end up needing the advice of an attorney. Did you use a buyer's agent to represent you in the sale? Who is holding the earnest money? My first reaction is that the builder has violated the terms of the contract, but it would be necessary to read all of the fine print before giving an answer.
Web Reference:  http://www.sheltertoday.com
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This is normal. Actually the builder states that in the contract (through clauses and sub clauses) that they reserve the right to change the plan with due notification and for development and funding reasons or whatever plausible reason that they see fit. If you are not careful in reading the entirety of the contract, that is possible that some builders practice this only when and if the need arises. They make sure they are covered in the contract. But they should duly notify the buyer. If the buyer is not satisfied for any reason with the new plan, he has the right to ask for his earnest money / deposit back. All this has to be negotiated and sometimes it becomes a long drawn process and patience is key. Constant note taking and keeping records of what you spoke and when also helps. Most times the builders are gracious to pay back the earnest money as they don't want the buyer dissatisfied or bad mouthing them.
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