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Old 03-08-2010, 12:41 PM
 
5 posts, read 7,429 times
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I am buying a new home in VA and signed the contract in June 2009.Bulder supposed to deliver my home in Nov 2009 but he postponed closing to Jan 2010 due to costruction issues (basement was flodded during construction).They stopped the construction work and did some remedy/patch work to stop the water into basement but I am not sure the issue got fixed or not because there is lot of water in the basement and they are saying water is coming from sump-pump.Now they are saying that they are wating for power connection to start the sump-pump.They are telling me same story (wating for power connection) since Jan 1st week.

Now he is saying that it will take couple of weeks to get the power line and home will be finished by end of April but I don't have any trust on him

As I know my neighbour is aslo in samesituation like me but he is approaching realestate attorney and he is not giving me any info even if I offer to share the expenses. This delay is costing me lot of money, mental tesnions/worries, frustation and keep on postponing some important decessions (job change,kids scholl etc..)
I am so much confused and I don’t know what to do? Could some one give me some idea what to do?

Thanks in advance
Kris
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:43 PM
 
845 posts, read 1,477,314 times
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What are the performance clauses of the contract? Flooded basements are common during construction.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:49 PM
 
5 posts, read 7,429 times
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I didn't see any performance clauses in the contract.
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:00 PM
 
13 posts, read 9,536 times
Reputation: 17
Pray!!! Builders are in business for one reason and one reason only: To make money...nothing more, nothing less. They could give a crap about how well they build your home, just so they build it quick, pay cheap labor, get your money and get on out.

I LOVE homes built in the early part of the 1900s...even ones run down...go look at them, the craftsmanship is breath-taking. The quality of work and the pride put into homes built back then is something our cookie-cutter dump and run developers sadly lack today.

Sorry to segway and hijack your thread, I've had two awful experiences with these people and my parents built a house sometime ago in a very nice exclusive area, somewhere where you'd think the dealers would pander to the ritzy foks. My parents got screwn and had to put about 20-30K into the house to get it straight, something the developer should have done.

You're right to say you have no trust in him, because your instincts are right. So unless it's expressly written in your contract or in some sort of legal binding paperwork, you stand more chance to get satisfaction out of jabbing a butter knife into your ear than dealing with housing developers.

Disclaimer: I am familiar with one single home builder who is worth a damn. He's a former CEO of a big HUGE company who quit and went on his own, he has this bizarre idea that 'average' people should be provided with good product. Where does HE get off. He's in the Richmond area and if anyone is ever looking to build a house down there email me and I'll provide his company name to you. The guy is fantastic.
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Old 03-08-2010, 03:34 PM
 
510 posts, read 586,259 times
Reputation: 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkris2010 View Post
I am buying a new home in VA and signed the contract in June 2009.Bulder supposed to deliver my home in Nov 2009 but he postponed closing to Jan 2010 due to costruction issues (basement was flodded during construction).They stopped the construction work and did some remedy/patch work to stop the water into basement but I am not sure the issue got fixed or not because there is lot of water in the basement and they are saying water is coming from sump-pump.Now they are saying that they are wating for power connection to start the sump-pump.They are telling me same story (wating for power connection) since Jan 1st week.

Now he is saying that it will take couple of weeks to get the power line and home will be finished by end of April but I don't have any trust on him

As I know my neighbour is aslo in samesituation like me but he is approaching realestate attorney and he is not giving me any info even if I offer to share the expenses. This delay is costing me lot of money, mental tesnions/worries, frustation and keep on postponing some important decessions (job change,kids scholl etc..)
I am so much confused and I don’t know what to do? Could some one give me some idea what to do?

Thanks in advance
Kris
Unfortunately I went through the very same thing with my builder a year and a half ago. And I'm still fighting them on some issues actually - they are very slow to respond, or schedule appointments and miss them (wasting vacation time for me from work), etc. etc. But had a similar delay due to weather issues. And, my sump pump is still an issue - it runs a lot. I finally contacted Prince William County (my house is in Gainesville) and had them inspect my property and the one adjacent to mine (after I signed the contract, the property adjacent to mine started to flood with water - I had signed the contract during a very dry spell). My house was delayed a little - and I could not get good info out of the builder why that was, or when it would be ready for closing. Although part of the problem in my case was the salesman left the company, and no one else seemed to want to return my phone calls. It was a very frustrating experience in the time leading up to closing, as one could imagine!

Unfortunately what others have said are true - the builders who build large amounts of houses skimp on quality, hire cheap subcontractors, and at least in my case - they did not supervise their subcontractors well. There's lots of examples of shoddy workmanship that I've been slowly getting my builder to correct (even with being in the house over a year - they are still fixing things believe it or not). But I've had to keep after them, write letters high up in the corporation, and in general spend way too much time chasing after them to fix things. I'm making progress, but it has been way too long and it's been far more work than I bargained for. However, unless you can afford a builder who only builds small number of houses that are custom built - my understanding is these problems are typical. It is sad, but true.
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Old 03-08-2010, 03:43 PM
 
108 posts, read 155,375 times
Reputation: 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwolf68 View Post
Pray!!! Builders are in business for one reason and one reason only: To make money...nothing more, nothing less. They could give a crap about how well they build your home, just so they build it quick, pay cheap labor, get your money and get on out.

You're right to say you have no trust in him, because your instincts are right. So unless it's expressly written in your contract or in some sort of legal binding paperwork, you stand more chance to get satisfaction out of jabbing a butter knife into your ear than dealing with housing developers.
Now hold up there a minute!

Now I may still be out here in So Cal yet to move to NOVA, but I am a life-long construction worker. And although I now work for 1 of the largest general contractors in the U.S., my early years were spent building custom homes.

Contractors are not all out to rip people off Moderator cut: Not necessary! Most contractors take great pride in knowing that the project they work on today is a HOME where people will raise their families in the future. So please don't throw contractors into 1 big pile of thieves because it simply isn't true. I don't care if it's here in Cali or in NOVA.

I don't believe the OP said exactly if the absence of power was due to the contractor, the electrician on the job or the utility company. Maybe the general is getting jerked around by the electrician. Maybe the electrician who works for the general is getting held up by the power company. That happens ALL THE TIME, and there's nothing you can do when that happens.

I'm not saying there aren't a lot of shady contractors everywhere, but the original post was kind of chopped up with the english and I didn't see anything in there that would lead me to direct blame at the contractor.

To the OP... A great many emotions come into play when trying to get into your new home, I totally realize this. Trust me, just as many very real issues come into play when trying to finish a home and get people in. Allowing ones emotions to affect business NEVER helps. What you need to do is find out SPECIFICALLY what the problem is. Many times the homeowner can be very helpful in bringing about resolution because the contract is written with them, taxes and permits are paid by them and the utility company owes you a certain level of service if that's the case.

Stay calm. Bring in a 2nd opinion. But know the facts. Know exactly what is going on so that you can affect the outcome. And stay calm.

Send me a PM. I'll help you if I can.

Last edited by bmwguydc; 03-08-2010 at 08:45 PM..
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:38 PM
 
101 posts, read 130,210 times
Reputation: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkris2010 View Post
I am buying a new home in VA and signed the contract in June 2009.Bulder supposed to deliver my home in Nov 2009 but he postponed closing to Jan 2010 due to costruction issues (basement was flodded during construction).They stopped the construction work and did some remedy/patch work to stop the water into basement but I am not sure the issue got fixed or not because there is lot of water in the basement and they are saying water is coming from sump-pump.Now they are saying that they are wating for power connection to start the sump-pump.They are telling me same story (wating for power connection) since Jan 1st week.

Now he is saying that it will take couple of weeks to get the power line and home will be finished by end of April but I don't have any trust on him

As I know my neighbour is aslo in samesituation like me but he is approaching realestate attorney and he is not giving me any info even if I offer to share the expenses. This delay is costing me lot of money, mental tesnions/worries, frustation and keep on postponing some important decessions (job change,kids scholl etc..)
I am so much confused and I donít know what to do? Could some one give me some idea what to do?

Thanks in advance
Kris
With the weather starting to warm up, I would say it's bad news to keep water in the basement with existing wood in the house (e.g floorboard, studs, wood beams, drywall, etc.).

This is pretty much inviting mold to grow on organic surfaces, and rust to start on any appliances in the basement such as HVAC or Hot Water heater.

Don't buy into the excuse that they must wait for the power to be turned on, unless the contractor has never heard of a portable generator that can be used to provide power to the sump pump to get the water out immediately.

Flooding in the basement is normal during construction, but the builder should be doing anything and everything to get the water out as soon as possible.

Before settlement, I would insist on the final inspection include an air sample performed by an industrial hygienist with a certified mold remediation company doing any cleanup work.

Also, ensure that these two parties answer to you even though the builder is paying this tab.

Make sure before you settle, that you include anything and everything on the punch list. Once you have this punch list set, they are liable for all that is listed.

Also, if this punch list is too long, do not go to settlement. After you go to settlement, resolving punch list issues will be on your time at their convenience.

You have little leverage after settlement.

Take pictures of everything.
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:52 AM
 
108 posts, read 155,375 times
Reputation: 30
That's better. Calm comprehensive directions.

I agree with the evacuating the water ASAP. That part is simple and common with a small pump. Even if the thing had to run constantly for a long time.

Going to have to do that anyway just to get down some water-proofing or ever have any chance of flooring adhering.
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:30 AM
 
510 posts, read 586,259 times
Reputation: 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by brymax View Post
Now hold up there a minute!

Now I may still be out here in So Cal yet to move to NOVA, but I am a life-long construction worker. And although I now work for 1 of the largest general contractors in the U.S., my early years were spent building custom homes.

Contractors are not all out to rip people off Moderator cut: Not necessary! Most contractors take great pride in knowing that the project they work on today is a HOME where people will raise their families in the future. So please don't throw contractors into 1 big pile of thieves because it simply isn't true. I don't care if it's here in Cali or in NOVA.

I don't believe the OP said exactly if the absence of power was due to the contractor, the electrician on the job or the utility company. Maybe the general is getting jerked around by the electrician. Maybe the electrician who works for the general is getting held up by the power company. That happens ALL THE TIME, and there's nothing you can do when that happens.

I'm not saying there aren't a lot of shady contractors everywhere, but the original post was kind of chopped up with the english and I didn't see anything in there that would lead me to direct blame at the contractor.

To the OP... A great many emotions come into play when trying to get into your new home, I totally realize this. Trust me, just as many very real issues come into play when trying to finish a home and get people in. Allowing ones emotions to affect business NEVER helps. What you need to do is find out SPECIFICALLY what the problem is. Many times the homeowner can be very helpful in bringing about resolution because the contract is written with them, taxes and permits are paid by them and the utility company owes you a certain level of service if that's the case.

Stay calm. Bring in a 2nd opinion. But know the facts. Know exactly what is going on so that you can affect the outcome. And stay calm.

Send me a PM. I'll help you if I can.
While what you say is good advice to the OP. However, if you were local - I'd invite you to visit my house and see many many examples of shoddy workmanship, that still haven't been addressed by the builder. I don't mean to hijack this thread but here are a few examples:

1. One doorway is so crooked that you get dizzy looking at it. There is no easy way to fix this, unfortunately I missed it at walkthrough but noticed it right after moving in.

2. Walls coming apart in corners from ceiling to floor. The gap gets wider and wider - the builder just caulks the gap - which is now getting in some cases 1 inch wide! Same thing happening at the ceiling.

3. All windows have cracks in all 4 corners of the window frames. Again, the builder keeps recaulking. Am I going to have to recaulk all 4 corners of all window frames forever?

4. The contractors dragged the dishwasher across the hardwood floor and scratched/gouged 33 boards. The builder tried to cover it up by staining the gouges and hoped we would not see it at walkthrough. We did. They then said they thought the fix was acceptable, even though the gouges were in some cases 1/4" deep and ran across many floorboards. It took a year of fighting with them to get them to replace it. Then, they purposely told the flooring company only 10 boards were damaged - which wasted a vacation day of my time. The flooring company arrived with just 12 boards, so they could not really do the job and had to reschedule.

5. When they put the cooktop in the granite island, they chipped out a corner of it. Now, mind you this is mostly black granite ("uba tuba" is the name) and it is stainless steel cooktop. They tried to cover it up with WHITE caulking, going all around the cooktop, and an extra big glob of it in the corner that the granite was chipped! It took me a year of fighting with them to get them to fix that. The guy who came to fix it, from some granite repair company - said never in his life has he seen someone use white caulking on a black granite countertop with a stainless steel cooktop. I told him "welcome to the world of xxxx" where xxxx is the name of my builder.

6. The porch columns are crooked - that is they are square at the bottom and are at odd angles - not parallel to the pavement or the edge of the porch. The builder still is refusing to fix that even though I found it shortly after walkthrough (should have looked more carefully at them). The porch railing was also crooked (did notice that at walkthrough) - and zig zagged back and forth between the columns - so if you looked down it from the beginning it was blatantly obvious it was not in a straight line! It looked like someone drunk had put in the railings. They have twice tried to fix that, and in so doing made things worse looking - as now there is poorly patched cement where the railing used to be anchored. This is typical - when they "fix" something the "fix" is often worse than the original problem.

7. The driveway has peaks and valleys in it. I saw this on walkthrough. They said "don't worry - in 6 months we'll seal the driveway and first fix all the peaks and valleys". It's now been 16 months, and nothing has been done.... One valley is so big and deep the car rocks quite a bit as you drive the wheel over it (which I try to avoid doing).

8. Right after the house started getting built - the long dry spell ended and the lot next to mine filled up with water and flooded into my lot. If I had seen that I would never have purchased this lot. My sump pump runs 4 times an hour 24 hours a day. My neighbor's lot (a house was later on built on that lot) has developed huge sinkholes in his driveway, his pavement, and in his back yard. There is something not right there - but the builder refuses to admit it. They have patched his driveway 3 times now and it shows - you can see all the patched areas - they look like a checkerboard!

9. While my house was under construction - I stopped by daily. When the basement went in - right as it went in I noticed it was missing one basement window from the floorplan. The builder told me "it is a design change - we need to update the floorplan". I bought that story. No, all houses of the same model as mine built since have that window in the basement! The builder knew by the time I found that out (and it was after closing that the next house like mine started being built) it would be too late for me to do anything about it. They were smart, clever, and deceitful in this instance as they could have done something about it when I noticed it - as the basement wasn't finished and there was still time to correct the problem. There was never any "design change".

10. The poles on the stairs that go from the railing down to the floor - were all installed crooked. They have square parts at the bottom - similar to the porch actually. Some were at 45 degree angles off parallel! I'm not exaggerating. I saw this at walkthrough. The builder said they can only be "tweaked" so much and that it had to have been defective from the manufacturer. I said, that's not my problem - I didn't ask you to install a defective part. Had to fight the builder on it and finally found out it was easy to just straighten them out with a pair of pliers. The builder and their "brilliant" contractors just didn't want to admit to the fact they had screwed up, and whoever installed it didn't take the time to put make sure the poles at the bottom were parallel to the floor. It looked like whoever installed them was drunk and couldn't tell a right angle from a 45 degree angle!

That's just a sampling of `10 problems - there's a bunch of other problems too that still are unresolved. I've had to go all the way to the CEO of the company to get things moving, and it's taken a lot of letters, phone calls, e-mails, etc. Also, the builder will call contractors (allegedly) and set up appointments for me when they will come to the house and fix problems. I've now wasted a total of 4 vacation days (usually half a day at a time) on missed appointments - and then the builder and the contractors point fingers at each other as to who is to blame for the missed appointment. No one can give me back those 4 vacation days in the last year! I've now taken to demanding from the builder the name and phone number of the contractor so I can verify the appointment myself!

Maybe I'm an isolated case. All I know is I've lost complete faith in this builder and their contractors. They don't supervise their contractors, they don't quality inspect their work, and they hire cheap contractors who do subpar work, and the contractors themselves obviously don't care when they do this bad work.

Sorry to hijack this thread - and I hope I'm a very isolated case.

Now, back to the original discussion...

Last edited by ngadude; 03-09-2010 at 07:41 AM.. Reason: Fixed some sentences that weren't written well
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:44 AM
 
510 posts, read 586,259 times
Reputation: 279
Quote:
Originally Posted by wingerr8 View Post
With the weather starting to warm up, I would say it's bad news to keep water in the basement with existing wood in the house (e.g floorboard, studs, wood beams, drywall, etc.).

This is pretty much inviting mold to grow on organic surfaces, and rust to start on any appliances in the basement such as HVAC or Hot Water heater.

Don't buy into the excuse that they must wait for the power to be turned on, unless the contractor has never heard of a portable generator that can be used to provide power to the sump pump to get the water out immediately.

Flooding in the basement is normal during construction, but the builder should be doing anything and everything to get the water out as soon as possible.

Before settlement, I would insist on the final inspection include an air sample performed by an industrial hygienist with a certified mold remediation company doing any cleanup work.

Also, ensure that these two parties answer to you even though the builder is paying this tab.

Make sure before you settle, that you include anything and everything on the punch list. Once you have this punch list set, they are liable for all that is listed.

Also, if this punch list is too long, do not go to settlement. After you go to settlement, resolving punch list issues will be on your time at their convenience.

You have little leverage after settlement.

Take pictures of everything.
All that is really really good advice. My punch list was very long, and I should NOT have gone to settlement. You are right - once you go to settlement, all your leverage vanishes into thin air, as I've found out! Indeed, now it costs me vacation days from work, and is definitely at their convenience (which they are very very very slow in getting things fixed - as I've been in the house 16 months and still am trying to get work scheduled - they claim they are understaffed, their subcontractors aren't a available, blah blah blah).

The OP should definitely follow your advice, and take a lesson learned from me - much better to get this stuff fixed before settlement! The builder will try and bully you into not changing the closing date, and in my case too I had arranged my work schedule for the move date and didn't want to change that - which was stupid of me.

Taking pictures of everything is really really IMPORTANT! That's the only thing that's saved me from having bigger problems. At first the builder tried to say some things weren't the way they were - and I had photographic proof that they were, with date/time stamps ON THE PICTURES. Very important, as the builder tried to say some of the things could not possibly have been the way they were. That's the most important thing you can do, take zillions of pictures of everything. It was the only smart thing I did, in retrospect, and probably has saved me a lot of money as otherwise the builder would have refused to fix a bunch of things.
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