Getting Burned by the Builder

Real Estate Agent with Realty Executives of Mid Missouri

I know this is nothing new, but lately I've come across more and more builders not living up to their end of the bargain so to speak.  They promise everything will be finished by closing (it never is), and then they promise it will be finished within the week after closing (rarely happens), etc, etc, and before you know it six months have passed and buyers are living in a still unfinished home.  So, what do you do?  Ideally, you shouldn't close on a home unless and until everything is completed.  I realize that this isn't always feasible.  Maybe you just closed on a house you sold and have to move in right away.  If that's the case, make sure you hold enough money in escrow to make an impact.  You may say to yourself, "There are only a few odds and ends that aren't finished, so why bother with escrow?"  The answer is that the builder is saying "There are only a few odds and ends that aren't finished, so what's the rush?"  It is usually difficult to get the builder back to your new house after the closing.  He's already on to his next project. 

A friend of mine told me about a remedy she came up with a while back.  She was living in her wonderful new home but there were still unfinished items.  Nothing major, but enough to be annoying.  After months of the builder telling her he would come out and not doing it, she'd had it.  She put a sign in her yard telling passers-by to boycott this certain builder.  And wouldn't you know it, he was there within the half hour. 

It shouldn't have to come to that.

As Realtors, it's easy to feel pushed to get the deal to go through as soon as possible.  After all, you don't get paid until it does.  But our responsibility is to make sure the best thing is being done for our client.  It won't do you much good to have an upset client at closing and then having them get more upset every day that work is not being done on their house.  You might have done everything right, but if your client isn't happy for any reason they may be more reluctant to refer you.  And as we all know, that's the bulk of our business.

Comments (1)

Paul David Hiebing
Grampp Realty: Real Estate in the Quad-Cities - Bettendorf, IA
Quad-City REALTOR®, @ Grampp, Realty of The Q.C.

The best way to get a builder to meet his/her (politcally correct) obligations is to have every detail in writing, including penalties and/or bonuses for late/prompt/early completion, and for the buyer to have an attorney to protect and enforce their legal interests, if necessary.....

Back in the days when builders could pre-sell a spec house before it wa half-way done, they might get away with more than they can in a tighter market.... 

And I, for one, would never advise one of my buyers to close on a purchase unless/until the home was completely finished to their satisfaction...... 


Mar 28, 2007 02:57 PM