You’ve done your homework, you checked out the schools, neighborhood, traffic patterns; you have even Googled your neighbors. When you move in however, you start noticing that your home is well…. not up snuff. First its just minor stuff, nail pops, trim work, closet door not fitting right, maybe a wrong fixture or two. As you start living in your home you notice more and more problems some major. You then talk to your new neighbors and find out that they too have been having quality issues. Now the very real thought that maybe just maybe you just brought the biggest most expensive lemon on earth! A real stinker!
How do you get the builder to make things right or better yet avoid this from happening in the first place? Let’s start with my suggestions on how to avoid a Lemon House:
A. Hire a knowledgeable professional Realtor! Many buyers think that they don’t need a Buyer’s Realtor when buying a new home. This is absolutely WRONG. The sales agent welcoming you at the model home does not work for you. He is only going to tell you what it takes to sell homes. A buyers Realtor will represent you the buyer. Plus (big plus here), a buyers Realtor doesn’t cost the buyer a thing (yep ZERO out of pocket). The seller pays the Buyer agents fees. Let’s review; doesn’t cost you a thing, could save you thousands of dollars and possibly save you from buying a Lemon House? Sounds like a no brainer to me.
B. Visit your home site. Swing by your new home site early and often. Bring a camera and take lots of pics during the construction. Talk to the actual guy’s swing the hammers. They will give you insights no else can give you. You will also become a face to the house and not just another unit and deadline. I stop by my new construction homes 2 to 3 times a week and almost daily when the house goes under roof. The builder will ask that for insurance reasons you not go inside your house without a builder’s rep. In this case I would make appointments with the sales rep at least once a week.
C. Google… lots of Googling. Type in your builders name into a Google search and see what pops up. Many buyers are taking their frustrations with builders to the web in blogs and the web. Here are just a few quick links I found:
Okay, so you decided you don’t need a Realtor and brought that investment without any help. How do you make the builder make things right:
A. Builders like to send out quality surveys as soon as you move in. This increases the chance that you will send these surveys in while you are still in the honeymoon phase. Hold on to these surveys for a couple months and make sure your builder knows this.
B. Find out the name and contact info of all the quality assurance people at your first meeting with the sales rep of the development. I keep a handy list of names and numbers of all the builders I work with. Amazingly helpful.
C. Builders like for homeowners to make a list of defects before they come out and fix things. I suggest keeping a running list and email, faxing or hand delivering the list to the builder every week. Things that are not fixed in a week I highlight and put at the top of my list.
D. Builder still not fixing items you want addressed: Take all those pics and documentation and start writing letters. First to the builders CEO, then FTC, Better Business Bureau, and your Attorney General. Only the loudest and most persistent homeowners will stand a chance of making the builder do the right thing.
E. Finally, and only as a last resort take your complaints on-line. If you are right and you have the documentation( and pics) to provide it there is no bigger soapbox then the Internet.
In conclusion, hiring the right local Realtor, just like builders hiring the right subcontractors can make all the difference in the world!
Need the right local Realtor for your next home purchase? Call or email me!
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