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Old 10-02-2008, 11:15 AM
 
16 posts, read 131,098 times
Reputation: 14

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I moved in to our dream house 2 months ago in Marvin ( union county). Now, my builder comes to us and says that there is a "Truss related Structural issue" in our house and must be fixed. I cannot sleep properly at my home after hearing this bad news yesterday. It's a major design / implementation error and he says it would take them 7 to 10 days to fix it! They want us to move out of our home during this time!!
I also just came to know that one of our neighbor with exactly the same floor plan as mine had a similar structural issue and water leak / mold issue just after 2 months of moving in to their new home. I was told they refused to accept the builder fix and the builder bought back their home!! I will be speaking to them directly today.
What are our options ?
I think I have 2 options.
1. Refuse this structural fix( they will be tearing up the ceiling/walls in family room, dining room, 1 bed room , 1 master bath etc...basically in several rooms and inserting a flat iron rod to support the weight!!) as they are not fixing up the room / truss and only doing a workaround fix.
Ask the builder to buy it back. Also we just packed and moved to this new home( 2 months ago) and don't want to go through the trouble of packing / unpacking with a 6 month old and 4 year old kids.
Only problem is we have a find a new home, but we know we would not have to deal with this structural issue.( My neighbors home had a crooked stairs and angled game room in the second floor, We don't see that issue now, but we could in few more months.) We also don't know how good the fix is going to be!
2. Take their fix and the trouble of moving/unpacking, being in hotel for 10 days with 2 kids.
Should I also hire a independent structural engineer to study the builder's home plan maps and Structural problem / solution to evaluate the quality of the whole house structurally ? Any leads to an quality structural engineer/ expert in the charlotte/marvin/waxhaw area?

Which option is better ?
In option 2, Would I have to disclose this fix during selling and would that affect the selling price?
In option 1, I would have to re-apply for mortgage, take the credit score hit as they would do the credit check again, go through the same process of hiring a home inspector, following up with builder to fix those issues etc...
Are there any other options? Should we hire an attorney ?

This is our first home and all the veteran home owners - please help us with your suggestions and advice.
Thanks a bunch.

My builder is a reputed national builder and seemed very good on quality and that was the reason we went with them.
Here is the problem/solution that builder told me:-
Problem:- Roof Trusses are disconnected( meaning are not connected correctly)
Solution:- Add a flat iron plate or a set of wooden frames to beef up support for the weight bearing wall) instead of fixing the disconnected Truss.

They already offered in our brief discussion that they will pay for the moving fee and hotel charges.
I will ask for what you suggested myself tonight:
"Buy back the house, paying some retribution for your troubles, and moving into a different home (not built by them).
I doubt they will be okay for this.
I think our floor plan is a brand new one and they only built 3 houses with it and all 3 have truss/structural problems. 1 house has been bought back. 1 house closing has been delayed for a week (According to them) and 1 house is mine!
I think they have messed up with this floor plan, specifically with the structural engineering side.
Should I contact the county inspector to find out why and how they passed or certified this house during framing/construction that has basic structural problems?
I spent 3 to 4 months looking for many homes and selected this one.I feel as though I don't have any luck as we have looked may be 20 communities and selected this specific problem house!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Metallisteve View Post
A truss is relatively easy to fix...as long as it wasn't too badly botched. And judging by the fact that you've been safely living in the house without the roof coming down on you for 2 months, I'd say it isn't too too bad. It sounds like a major C-Y-A campaign for the builder. As an engineer myself, I don't like the sound of a "flat iron rod" being used as a fix...it leads me to believe that it's not truly or completely a truss problem (because if it was 100% a truss problem, and assuming they're wooden trusses like the vast majority of residential trusses are, you'd typically just add more wood to the deficient areas to beef up the truss)...but I'll re-emphasize that I know nothing more than what you've posted.

In any case, my first thought is to get an attorney and find out every bit of truth of what's going on. A builder is NEVER going to be truthful with you...ESPECIALLY when they realize their tail is caught in the door!!! Even if it costs $1,000, it's worth it to me to get the truth AND to ensure that the problem is fixed.

And taking my thoughts a step further...
It sounds like this is a typically shoddy builder anyway--judging by your description of the neighbor's house. If the option of them buying back the house, paying some retribution for your troubles, and moving into a different home (not built by them) is on the table, I'd take it and run! Don't even worry about the credit ping. Having a dilapidated house is not a worthy investment and will cost you more than a 50-100 point ding on your FICO in the future. And if you're that worried about credit, I highly recommend Real Debt Help - Get out of debt with Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover Plan. to rid that cancer out of your life.

Last edited by SunnyKayak; 10-02-2008 at 02:58 PM..
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Huntersville
1,521 posts, read 4,471,616 times
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If you decide to stay I would get a 3rd party involved to make sure the repairs are done correctly.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:50 AM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 66,914,083 times
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I agree with QC - if you decide to stay.

Please understand: You will have to disclose this issue should you decide to sell this house. You do NOT want to be caught in that situation. What if this considerably devalues your home - or makes it difficult to sell a few years down the road? What if the "fix" isn't sufficient - and other problems develop years down the road?

I know you just moved in. However, consider that you are actually very fortunate, as you have recourse and the builder will buy the house back. What if you had to sue, it took you years and thousands of dollars in attorneys fees to get a resolution? I believe you would think - gosh, I wish I had known this and could have moved out when we found out early on . . .

I personally would find out about the builder buying back the house and in addition, seek for him to pay for your temporary stay somewhere else . . . and moving fees. You may need an attorney to protect your rights. I would not attempt to negotiate this on my own and I negotiate contracts regularly. This one involves your family's future.

Please do not settle for a repair.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:50 AM
 
1,305 posts, read 2,145,549 times
Reputation: 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycharlotte2005 View Post
Should I also hire a independent structural engineer to study the builder's home plan maps and Structural problem / solution to evaluate the quality of the whole house structurally ? Any leads to an quality structural engineer/ expert in the charlotte/marvin/waxhaw area?
First of all, you should be able to sleep soundly tonight because I think you're in a great position. Your builder came to you to identify a problem with your home and has presented a potential solution so you can get it fixed. You're in the bargaining seat right now.

I can compare this to many cars on the road today have been recalled. The owner brings the car in, the dealers makes some sort of corrective action, and the car runs fine.

It sounds like you've received a recall notice on your home and the manufacturer would like to install a retrofit to fix a defect they found in the home post-construction. It is likely (you can look at the repair drawings) that a structural engineer worked with your home builder to determine the best corrective action measure and has stamped and signed off on the plan by the builder. If it has, you'll see his calculations and stamp on the repair plans.

If you're concerned the repair may not be up to snuff, hiriing a professional structural engineer to review the corrective action is an option you can pursue. This structural engineer would review the original homes plans and calculations and review the repair plans and calculations and determine that the repair will meet structural requirements. The cost should be reasonable, but since structural engineers charge along the same lines as attorneys, be prepared to pay $1000 - $5000 for this service. (I'm writing this assuming the original problem was a design error rather than a builder material error. A structural engineer can also review if it is a material defect or a substitution problem.)

Since the builder has asked you to move out of your home for 10 days, it's only reasonable to ask him to pay you a per diem to cover your meals and lodging cost.
Asking the builder to buy back your home is an option, but realize that any home out there could have the same defect only the builder didn't notice it and correct it. If the builder found one big error in the house, you can bet the builder looked over the rest of the home plan with a fine tooth comb to make sure there aren't other problems lying within.

My suggestion would be to keep the house if you like the house and wish to keep living there. Without knowning the specifics, I think the builder will make sure to fix the problem correctly and you should have a great house afterwoods. On the other hand, you may think this is an opportunity to move out of a home that you'd like to get rid of anyways, and if so, take advantage of the opportunity.

You can also consult an attorney to find out your rights, but I don't have experience in that area.

Finally, rest assured that this post-manufacturing corrective action is very common in our country, but it is much more visible with the house that you live in. I work in aerospace and we frequently do rework on airplane parts because of something that went wrong during the manufacturing or installation.
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Old 10-02-2008, 11:59 AM
 
Location: NE Charlotte, NC (University City)
1,894 posts, read 5,717,059 times
Reputation: 1041
A truss is relatively easy to fix...as long as it wasn't too badly botched. And judging by the fact that you've been safely living in the house without the roof coming down on you for 2 months, I'd say it isn't too too bad. It sounds like a major C-Y-A campaign for the builder. As an engineer myself, I don't like the sound of a "flat iron rod" being used as a fix...it leads me to believe that it's not truly or completely a truss problem (because if it was 100% a truss problem, and assuming they're wooden trusses like the vast majority of residential trusses are, you'd typically just add more wood to the deficient areas to beef up the truss)...but I'll re-emphasize that I know nothing more than what you've posted.

In any case, my first thought is to get an attorney and find out every bit of truth of what's going on. A builder is NEVER going to be truthful with you...ESPECIALLY when they realize their tail is caught in the door!!! Even if it costs $1,000, it's worth it to me to get the truth AND to ensure that the problem is fixed.

And taking my thoughts a step further...
It sounds like this is a typically shoddy builder anyway--judging by your description of the neighbor's house. If the option of them buying back the house, paying some retribution for your troubles, and moving into a different home (not built by them) is on the table, I'd take it and run! Don't even worry about the credit ping. Having a dilapidated house is not a worthy investment and will cost you more than a 50-100 point ding on your FICO in the future. And if you're that worried about credit, I highly recommend Real Debt Help - Get out of debt with Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover Plan. to rid that cancer out of your life.
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:01 PM
 
1,305 posts, read 2,145,549 times
Reputation: 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
Please understand: You will have to disclose this issue should you decide to sell this house. You do NOT want to be caught in that situation. What if this considerably devalues your home - or makes it difficult to sell a few years down the road? What if the "fix" isn't sufficient - and other problems develop years down the road?
As long as a licensed structural engineer has signed off on the repair, the builder and licensed structural engineer will assume legal liability for the repair being sufficient. Any future problems related to this truss will need to be corrected by either the builder or the structural engineer that signed off on the drawing.

As far as disclosure, a real estate attorney can advise what you have to disclose. However, if the repair was approved by a structural engineer, I wouldn't consider the home to be "defective" because it is no longer defective.

As an example, when I bought my house the kitchen island wasn't in the right spot. I had to scream at the builder to move it, but they eventually did and in doing so they had to cut a new slot in the slab, fill the old slot with filler, move two recessed lights, and redo the vinyl flooring. Since it was done correctly, I didn't disclose anything about it to the new owner.

My opinion on disclosures is you only need to disclose current defects, not every problem over the history of ownership. But this is a question for a real estate attorney and subject to your state laws.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
Please do not settle for a repair.
It's up to the OP if they want to live in a repaired home, but also remember that we live in a world where things are repaired everyday, even brand new things. Cars come to mind, but at my company, almost every new airplane that ships off the production line has had been repaired in a number of fashions. When done correctly and properly, the repaired item can perform equally as good as the new item that has never been repaired.
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:04 PM
 
Location: NE Charlotte, NC (University City)
1,894 posts, read 5,717,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigtrees View Post
...If the builder found one big error in the house, you can bet the builder looked over the rest of the home plan with a fine tooth comb to make sure there aren't other problems lying within.
As logical as this seems, and as common as it may be in other engineering realms of the world (yours particularly), I'm betting 100% against this thought. Builders/developers don't spend one penny beyond what they are required to. Get in, get out, get paid...and don't stray form that...that's what the builder's handbook says. The rest is full of color pictures and pop-ups.
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:12 PM
 
1,305 posts, read 2,145,549 times
Reputation: 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metallisteve View Post
As logical as this seems, and as common as it may be in other engineering realms of the world (yours particularly), I'm betting 100% against this thought. Builders/developers don't spend one penny beyond what they are required to. Get in, get out, get paid...and don't stray form that...that's what the builder's handbook says. The rest is full of color pictures and pop-ups.
That's a good point. Builders are cheap.

I'll revise my comment to suggest to the OP that they ask the builder if the rest of the home was double checked, and if so, provide them with a stamped copy of the engineering calculations. (Again - I'm assuming this was a design error. If it was a material or substitution error, the builder should provide documentation on why only the one truss was affected).
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:23 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 66,914,083 times
Reputation: 22369
JAY: Here is what I am thinking.

So many times in life, we have no choice but to settle for "remediation." For ex, some fool hits your brand new car and yes, insurance pays for the repairs, but you will always have that sinking feeling that your car was damaged, due to no fault of your own . . . and instead of the carefully maintained new vehicle you continue paying for monthly . . . you instead always feel a bit heart sick when you write out that check every month . . . for a vehicle that really IS NOT the pristine car you just bought three months earlier. Does it look the same? Maybe. But you wonder . . . did the dealer really use new parts? Is that side panel really as substantial as it was b/f it had to be repaired? Even tho the car has been "fixed" - psychologically, you feel a bit robbed . . .

This is one of those life events that really will affect you in the future. What if many of the houses in your neighborhood were built improperly? Maybe not a "truss" problem . . . but what if all sorts of problems pop up in the next few years? What if the whole neighborhood gets a bad rep for shoddy work?

You see what I mean?

Yes, it would be inconvenient to move your family out. But the longterm repercussions could be sooo much worse than several weeks of inconvenience.

I agree that you could have a structural engineer involved. Indeed, you should! That was an excellent suggestion from Bigtrees. But why bother? I mean - why settle for that? You paid - in good faith - for a new, well built home.

As for disclosure, maybe it would be w/in the letter of the law not to disclose a repair . . . but I certainly do not think it would be in the spirit of the law to not disclose it!!! Further, neighbors talk. Someone is going to know this remediation took place. I stand by my earlier advice . . . don't put yourself in the position of having to sell a product that future buyers may consider devalued b/c of a repair. Get out while you can. Inconvenience is just that . . . a bump in the road that will be quickly forgotten once you are settled in a new home.
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Old 10-02-2008, 12:27 PM
 
7,103 posts, read 9,678,488 times
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Take the money and run with the help of an attorney. Why:
1) Don't need to continue worrying whether it was done right or wrong. Maybe engineers can live with it because of their background but you're a homeowner that has been given a couple of heads ups here. Trust your instincts.
2) If your attorney structures the deal right you will come out clean $$$wise
In this market I would THINK you can make a deal on another house that will be better than what you just bought.
3) You will kick yourself if you have ANY problem what-so-ever down the line if you don't move on.

Related story.Lady goes into a restaurant and asks"So how is the fish tonite?"
Waiter says"Not too good tonite might be a problem"
Lady says "O, OK let me have the fish"

Maybe the joke is weak but I think
my advise is good.
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