If you’ve decided to hire a builder to construct a new home, you’re probably thinking he’ll do an amazing job. But the reality of the situation is many new homes are plagued by terrible workmanship and flaws. Statistics show that up to 10% of new homes can contain serious building issues.
A major cause of these workmanship flaws arise from homebuyer pressures to have the home finished as soon as possible or within the next several days. Homebuyer expectations have also increased demanding builders to fabricate fancy features such as high vaulted cathedral ceilings and large scenic windows. To add to the dilemma builders have a hard time finding good skilled contractors or subcontractors to complete the work. To make buyers happy, builders end up taking shortcuts by using inexperienced and untrained workers; or simply make thoughtless mistakes.
Even worse, once the development is completed, builders move on-and try to avoid dealing with customer complaints. Shady builders will go as far as to set up dummy corporations and end up filing bankruptcy.
In some states, laws have been passed giving the builder an opportunity to fix the property before you sue, without stating an actual deadline. All the more incentive for a builder to delay fixing the property.
Before you give up hope on having your dream home built correctly, you can take preventive steps to supervise the construction process before your property is finished. Make sure you negotiate with the builder and schedule multiple periodic inspections while your house is being built and a final inspection when your house is completed. You might spend more in inspection fees but you’ll end up saving yourself thousands of dollars in the long run. Statistics reveal the average new home contains over $5,000 in corrective repairs.
If you want to be sure your home is built right, hire an independent home inspector with years of experience to monitor your construction. Don’t assume you’ll receive an unbiased inspection from a city or builder’s third party inspector. Plus it’s the city inspector’s job to only make sure a house is built according to current building codes and not critique other important issues.
You’ll find some of the new homes containing defects such as ineffective weatherproofing, incorrect grading of land, incorrect sewer connections, roof issues, ventilation flaws, and building code violations.
Be sure your purchase contract includes the right for you to conduct these inspections. Just be sure you diligently follow up with them. Since you are the first new owner, you don’t want to move into a new home to discover a sealed chimney, incomplete sewage piping, and electrical problems.
Even if you’re lucky enough to negotiate periodic inspections into your purchase agreement, expect the builder to resist you every step along the way. If you’re shopping in a hot real estate market, you’ll have a tough time locating a builder who’s amenable to incorporating these inspections into your purchase contract, especially if they have another homebuyer in line after you who’s willing to snap up the property as is. However if you’re shopping in a slow market, you’ll probably have an easier time locating a builder willing to cooperate with you. As a homebuyer, you have a right to a well built house. Don’t be afraid to exercise this right.
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