Get Educated & New Construction What if Your Builder Isn’t Making the Home Repairs They Promised?
- Matt Miner,
- February 1, 2018
If you’re buying new construction in Seattle, then it’s important for you to know that new construction is not perfect. There may be repairs that need to be made prior to closing (read more about this here!), and in an ideal world, everything is in tip-top shape and all of the promised repairs have been made.
Unfortunately, sometimes the builders aren’t in a hurry to get the things on our list taken care of. In our experience, we know that part of making sure that repairs get done includes working with a real estate agent who will be there AFTER closing. (We’re there until the very, very end for our clients, and most agents simply don’t do what we do!) Luckily for our buyers, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to make sure the builders get the work done:
Now, these situations don’t happen often—maybe just 1 out of 10 times. It’s important to us to get these issues squared away, and we’re there to work on it with you even after closing. (Sometimes it even takes a few months to get everything resolved.) 90% of the time, we get the builder to do everything we need. But when they’re still not resolving everything, here’s what we do next:
Recently some of our clients bought an absolutely gorgeous home, and the builder did an amazing job on the finish work. Our clients bought the home during the summer, and the house gave us no reason to pause. But when fall rolled around and it started raining, we realized that the flat roof with a roof deck wasn’t sloped properly, and the water wasn’t draining the way it should. The roof wasn’t leaking, but the water was just sitting up there.
We ended up having to work on this issue for 6 months before we finally threatened legal action for our clients. We told the builder that we were speaking with our attorneys and that we were going to write a blog series about the incident and similar incidents, naming him in particular. We asked the builder to please just communicate with us on the issue—and after having all of that information, he finally did respond.
It’s all working out now, but I shouldn’t have had to take it to that level. But this is why we want to get this information out there—these types of situations do occur, and we want homebuyers to understand the importance of being diligent. New construction does not mean it is free of issues!
With new construction, there is the builder’s addendum, and this supersedes the purchase contract. In other words, if there is contradictory information in the contract vs. the builder’s addendum, the BA is what is law. In the BA, there will be several scary sounding paragraphs of information, and some will say that you can sue (you have to go to arbitration), some will say that you can’t delay closing, some will elaborate on exactly what is covered by the builder’s warranty, etc.
However, even if the BA says that we can’t delay closing, you can still threaten it. At the end of the day, there is a certain amount of trouble that the builder wants to avoid, and there are reputation issues that a builder ALWAYS wants to avoid.