Are you working with new construction?

By
Real Estate Agent with Realty Professionals, Inc.

WOW!  Yesterday was a long day.  I had to attend a trial where I was going to be used as a witness.  It was dealing with a new construction home I sold nearly two years ago.  The buyer was accusing the builder of not fixing items on the house in the one year builders warranty he provided.  This was not the truth.  Yes, the builder did not fix anything but this was because the buyer would not allow him to do it.  There was too much evidence to show where the buyer prohibited the builder to fix the items.  I remember when this started, the buyer just wanted the builder to pay him an exhorbanent amount or he would sue him for it.  As you can tell the builder didn't pay.  This has been going on for nearly two years and probably the loss of two trees with all of the paperwork. 

In the Builder Warranty that we use in this market, it states that the builder will repair, fix etc.. items in a reasonable amount of time or the buyer can hire someone else and the builder will pay the costs (this is my version but says something close to it). 

I got thinking about what most people would think is "a resonable amount of time".  I came to the conclusion that 30 days was a good time frame.  You have to allow for materials needed (especially if you have to order it), your sub contractors schedule and the weather.  I felt most things can be accomplished within 30 days even if you have the worst luck on each of these.  I suggested to the builder that he mail a letter to the buyer that states that you understand there is a problem with the property and you are requesting a time that would be convienent with them to get these repairs satisfied.  I told him to send it certified mail so you can show proof that you mailed it and that you do it every thirty days.  He took my advice.  The builders attorney told me that was probably the best thing he could have done.

Well, yesterday the verdict came.  I ended up not having to be used and I sat in this 12x12 witness room looking at the walls and 4 of the plantiffs witnesses, but that was ok for the ending results.  The judge basically said that the buyer didn't prove that he was damaged anything and dismissed the case.

As I have written before, SAVE everything. You don't know when you have a problem until there is a problem.  Once you hear the least amount of talk about an issue, start writing it down and recount EVERYTHING that has happened, you'll be gl;ad you did.  You would be surprised what you don't remember 18 months later.

Comments (4)

Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes
People will do anything for a buck I guess. Sorry you had to go through that...it could have been any of us.
Mar 11, 2008 08:51 AM
Christopher Bonta
The Bean Group - Londonderry, NH
Realtor, Integrity and Honesty
What an absolutely great point to bring up and your story says it all!!! I think in this day and age of computers and the Internet, we all (me included) forget that the basics of pen to paper is still the safest thing to do, after all we all need to protect our own back sides!
Mar 11, 2008 08:53 AM
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR
I'm glad it is over, Larry.  At least I hope it is ALL OVER at this point. 
Mar 11, 2008 01:45 PM
Jennifer Davis
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR

That is a very intersting situation and very enlightening. I'm glad you posted it since my husband is a builder! I think I will keep better documentation during the one year period. You would be suprised what some people will try to get away with.

Most of the time buyers are pretty honest. But we had one recently that wanted things done that werent covered under the builder warranty such as building shelves in the garage. They bought the material and called and asked my husband to come and basically build and install them for free. They were persistant so he finally did it.  Then they had a leak in the faucet dripping into the bathtub so they twisted the handle so hard it broke off and water began spewing so they got a hammer and beat the faucet off!!! and knocked holes in the ceramic tile around the faucet! This is a true story! So how do you handle that???? Yes he was responsible for the leak but we got a bill for the tile and faucet too.

Next a local concrete company sent us a bill for a pad they had poured to set their trash cans on, they had told the concrete co. that the builder said he would pay for it. Then they tried the same thing with sod in the back yard, but luckily the sod company called us before they did the job!

Thanks for the post, I think I will keep a written log of things repaired and when we receive the request

Jennifer

Mar 12, 2008 02:53 AM