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Old 03-28-2016, 06:30 PM
 
1,498 posts, read 1,357,768 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonyafd View Post
I had a house built a thousand miles away from me before I retired. While this wasn't a mistake it did pose some problems. Lessons I've learned.

1. Buyer's broker's have their limitations. While they "represent" you, the fee paid by the seller is still their motivation.
2. Ideally, you should be able to check on the builder's progress. Some want you to close before they've put the finishing touches on the house to make their quarterly numbers. Do you have a friend in the area?
3. If you are a cash customer use a national bank. This will enable you to wire the money after you've gotten to where the house is being built. This gives you leverage on their progress just before the closing.
4. Have the money deposited in the bank well before the closing so that there are no issues with checks clearing.
5. Make yourself known at the bank branch where the house is being built and make sure that they will cooperate when your wire is required by contract. The builder may not be willing to take a bank check.
6. The builder may prevent you from using a professional house inspector before the closing. Be ready for that.
7. There is a device that plugs into the outlets that check the outlet wiring. Buy one and use it while leverage is still on your side. Don't take a chance on that new $2000 TV shorting out just because you plugged it in.
8. With some builders you have a slab to roof warranty on imperfections. Plan an extended stay early in the warranty period so that there is time to request these fixed.
Hire a clerk of the works who is knowledgeable and your rep. to supervise from day one
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Old 03-28-2016, 07:08 PM
 
14,282 posts, read 24,060,472 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvoc View Post
If you know enough you can do it. But here you are not likely to be able to use the county inspectors. On retail tract homes the inspectors are generally contractors hired by the builder and won't be readily accessible. So either you know enough to do it yourself or hire someone to help. Being local and checking is also wise but not always practical.

My mother, father and brother are lawyers. None would have been able to do a reasonable job on inspecting their own construction work. I could but I am trained as an engineer and have doing RE for 15 years.

The brother would have handled the contracts and mechanic liens though I doubt either of the parents would have done a reasonable job.


WHO is talking about hiring ATTORNEYS to inspect properties? You have been MISREPRESENTING what I have said. I stated that my attorney drafts the contract to ensure that I can bring in the proper professionals to inspect the property. If the work is not up to code OR not up to the terms of the contract, the attorney is there for any actions flowing from a breach of contract.
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Old 03-28-2016, 08:14 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
6,668 posts, read 3,717,510 times
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I started to do this. I had a lot purchased and plans drawn up for a home 1000 miles away. I planned to move and rent a small apartment during construction... going back and forth for a few months but watching construction as best I could. I had (still have) a good relationship with the custom builder. In the end I opted to scrap the plan and bought an existing house. There were too many surprises regarding the location, future city utility uncertainties and the cost of construction -- well, septic, etc. My builder actually suggested I stop and look at existing homes as the market was in my favor. I still have the plans and the lot but I doubt that I'll build there due to costs and other problems. This would have been the third house I had built so it wasn't something I was unfamiliar with.
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Old 03-28-2016, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,473 posts, read 21,320,617 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reneeh63 View Post
Wow...when I built both my houses, in the same town I lived in, I was told by many to visit the job site EVERY SINGLE DAY. I didn't do that, but I was probably there 3 or 4 out of the 5 work days a week. There's so much that happens and if you don't even know the builder I don't know how you can trust that it is really up to your specs - so many ways to cut corners.
I made a stupid mistake in 2005, I bought a hilltop lot in Rosarito Beach, MX (Tijuana area) with a distant view of the ocean, had Arquimex design me a house. Originally, it was only projected to cost $35k, but when the final plans were drawn up, it had ballooned to $70k.

And then, an expat warned me that if I'm not there every day to supervise, they could cut corners, and, perhaps midway thru construction, ask for more money to complete it, and being I couldn't possibly be there even once a week to supervise, I backed out of the deal, and sold the property at a big loss.

So it's interesting to learn this could happen in the U.S. as well, not being there every day for supervision!
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Old 03-28-2016, 09:40 PM
 
12,973 posts, read 12,835,458 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
WHO is talking about hiring ATTORNEYS to inspect properties? You have been MISREPRESENTING what I have said. I stated that my attorney drafts the contract to ensure that I can bring in the proper professionals to inspect the property. If the work is not up to code OR not up to the terms of the contract, the attorney is there for any actions flowing from a breach of contract.
This discussion deals with how to get a proper place built remotely. How to be assured that it has been done correctly.

You wish to assure that one can get even if it is not. While a perfectly reasonable goal if you don't know it has been done wrongly what good is any lawyer going to do to you?

The issue is how to manage and oversee the construction of a residence remotely. A rational legal base is reasonable but strictly a side issue.
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Old 03-28-2016, 10:23 PM
 
4,354 posts, read 6,077,228 times
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We did this in 2005 and everything turned our great. We picked a reputable builder and made our selections then went on with our life. No surprises. The realtor lady took frequent photos for us. We were there for the last critical month. I'd don't think I'd do it again though. I've heard so many bad stories since, especially with Chinese drywall in Florida.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:28 AM
 
7,027 posts, read 3,904,345 times
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This is probably a subject without one consistent solution. In some areas the building inspectors may be competent to a fault and anything under their purview will be done correctly, leaving only some cosmetic problems to become possible issues. In other areas where the building department is laughable or corrupt the buyer must take measures to protect himself. Certainly a competent attorney would be essential in that effort.
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Old 03-29-2016, 05:05 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,980,344 times
Reputation: 6724
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunGrins View Post
I started to do this. I had a lot purchased and plans drawn up for a home 1000 miles away. I planned to move and rent a small apartment during construction... going back and forth for a few months but watching construction as best I could. I had (still have) a good relationship with the custom builder. In the end I opted to scrap the plan and bought an existing house. There were too many surprises regarding the location, future city utility uncertainties and the cost of construction -- well, septic, etc. My builder actually suggested I stop and look at existing homes as the market was in my favor. I still have the plans and the lot but I doubt that I'll build there due to costs and other problems. This would have been the third house I had built so it wasn't something I was unfamiliar with.
Things like utilities are factors that should IMO be taken into account before even buying a lot - or a "package" (lot plus house). But there are other factors too. Like soils. In our case - lots where we built need various amounts of "demucking" (removing muck and replacing it with clean fill dirt). Some amounts of demucking are practical from a $$$ and cents POV - others aren't. When we signed the contract on our lot - we made it contingent on the results of 25 foot soil borings (some sellers would only allow 8 foot soil borings - and others wouldn't allow any). Some people might make a contract contingent on something like percolation tests (or whatever they're called) if they were putting in a septic tank.

There can be zoning issues as well. I remember once reading a newspaper article in upstate New York about buying property there. Said you have to be careful about zoning. Because sometimes "zoning" in rural areas will allow anything from a single family house to a biker bar to be built in a particular area. Robyn
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Old 03-29-2016, 05:18 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,980,344 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kokonutty View Post
This is probably a subject without one consistent solution. In some areas the building inspectors may be competent to a fault and anything under their purview will be done correctly, leaving only some cosmetic problems to become possible issues. In other areas where the building department is laughable or corrupt the buyer must take measures to protect himself. Certainly a competent attorney would be essential in that effort.
Agreed. We had a great building department in 1995-96 (when we built). The head of the building department was so good that he was hired away by Broward County FL (a much larger county) to be the head of the department there. OTOH - I have read horror stories about inspections in Duval County - the county next door to us. Where the inspectors faked inspection reports (they didn't actually do any inspections - they just "went fishing" during the day).

We didn't know this when we started. But - after accompanying the inspectors during the first couple of inspections - we developed a lot of confidence in them. We accompanied them during all of the inspections - and they were always happy to answer our questions. Had we thought that the inspectors were incompetent (or worse) - we might have asked/hired our architect to become a "supervising architect" - hired our own inspectors - or similar.
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Old 03-29-2016, 05:49 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,980,344 times
Reputation: 6724
Quote:
Originally Posted by seeriously View Post
We did this in 2005 and everything turned our great. We picked a reputable builder and made our selections then went on with our life. No surprises. The realtor lady took frequent photos for us. We were there for the last critical month. I'd don't think I'd do it again though. I've heard so many bad stories since, especially with Chinese drywall in Florida.
Having lived in Florida for 40+ years - I am mostly familiar with the horror stories in this part of the world. Everything from Chinese drywall to EIFs messes. Some areas under scrutiny now are houses that are built stucco over frame and "zip wall" systems. I'm sure other parts of the country have their own issues.

Overall - a lot of these things are things one would usually investigate before buying and starting to build. OTOH - the Chinese drywall mess could not have been reasonably foreseen. At least when it comes to the specifics. But - there were general "red flags". For example - if you're building in a "boom" - when the market is on steroids - builders are more likely to encounter material shortages and wind up using inferior materials. In Florida - the material shortages were exacerbated by the demand resulting from all the hurricane damage back then:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_drywall

Our market is fairly frothy now (although not quite as frenzied as it was before the last bust). I think you're more apt to have quality issues when you're building in a boom than at other times. Robyn
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