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Old 06-30-2008, 02:59 PM
 
177 posts, read 817,946 times
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How common are construction problems ? esp. big ones like foundation, plumbing, roofing, etc.

Is it better to buy an older home because you already know if there is a problem or not ?

Is it true that most problems will show up in the first few years after construction ?
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Old 06-30-2008, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Texas
37 posts, read 99,494 times
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The type of construction problems you are reffering to are not that common. However, it could really depend on the builder. Some builders have more problems than others. Research any builder you are thinking of going with. You should always meet with the construction manager who is building the homes as well and find out how much experience he has under his belt.
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
4,198 posts, read 14,392,187 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob View Post
How common are construction problems ? esp. big ones like foundation, plumbing, roofing, etc.

Is it better to buy an older home because you already know if there is a problem or not ?

Is it true that most problems will show up in the first few years after construction ?

They are not that common. It's a given that any builder cannot please everyone they service. So you will always run into someone complaining about someone. Don't get me wrong there are a few that I would steere away from.

Many builders file bankruptcy when they have too many complaints against them then a few months later they come back under a different name. So make sure you investigate property and get professional advice.

Top dog builders in DFW provide a 10 year structural warranty through 2-10 warranty company. IF they are using another company, I'd be very suspicious and find out why. 2-10 is backed by the National Association of Homebuilders. All builders will also give you a 1 or 2 year warranty on the house for pretty much anything (similar to a bumper to bumper). I always recommend to buyers to do a home inspection after they are 11 months in the house and just give the report to the warranty company to fix everything on there.

Naima
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:06 PM
 
Location: DFW, specializing in NE Tarrant County, Southlake, Westlake, Keller, Grapevine, Trophy Club, Roanoke
77 posts, read 314,473 times
Reputation: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob View Post
How common are construction problems ? esp. big ones like foundation, plumbing, roofing, etc.

Is it better to buy an older home because you already know if there is a problem or not ?

Is it true that most problems will show up in the first few years after construction ?
Rule #1: The older the home, the more likely it will need MAJOR repairs, such as new roof, new wiring, new insulation, new plumbing, etc. This is just a law of physics. Like our bodies, the older a home gets, the more the old bones need maintenance.

Rule #2: ALWAYS hire a top-notch home inspector. It doesn't matter whether the home was built in 1908 or 2008! GET IT INSPECTED! Fortunately most new homes are covered by builder warranties. And most problems should be minor... but on occasion there will be exceptions.

Rule #3: Foundation problems, mold, termites can hit ANY home, old or new.

Rule #4: Not all builders are created equal. Investigate. Research. Do lots of homework.

Good luck!

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Old 06-30-2008, 10:53 PM
 
177 posts, read 817,946 times
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since builder warranties dont mean much, doesn't matter old v/s new.

in fact, in old homes you atleast know the problem, in new ones, you don't see the symptoms yet.
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:06 PM
 
5,200 posts, read 12,497,603 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacob View Post
How common are construction problems ? esp. big ones like foundation, plumbing, roofing, etc.

Is it better to buy an older home because you already know if there is a problem or not ?

Is it true that most problems will show up in the first few years after construction ?



I work for a major bank and my job is to try and resolve issues between builders and borrowers. If it's not in the contract it won't stand up. Builders do there best to protect themselves and I would suggest you do the same. What ever you do, make sure you spell out what is the occur in case you and your builder part ways. The State of Texas has the longest lien rights period of any state that I am aware. The period is 12 months and I have several clients who are stuck like chuck. Be clear to your builder what you want and make sure you sign change orders for anything that varies from the original plan. The vast majority of projects get completed without a hitch. Do your research and don't be afraid to ask questions.
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Old 06-30-2008, 11:24 PM
 
33,542 posts, read 53,402,838 times
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for homes built in last few years
in the same subdivision two homes by the same builder can vary in quality--
it all depends on the time of construction, who the subs were, how rushed they were, what the weather was like, how busy the suppliers were,
you just have to judge each house individually--
from what I know it is almost impossible to get a tract builder to agree to let YOU augment their contract with any meaningful language...even as slow as the market it...
frankly--I would narrow down the new construction houses I like or the resale and hire a building inspector/engineer for a day--and have him walk through the houses with you if they are open or just pretend he is your brother or something who is a plumber or city inspector in another state--don't have him make a written report for each--but a general eye-ball of the attic framing, exterior slab, roof/windows, checking the fusebox for the circuits...
that way you would not waste your time by putting contract in on house that is going to be trouble...
he could tell you pretty quickly which ones to pass on I imagine
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:16 AM
 
72 posts, read 244,688 times
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Hi Jacob,

Large construction problems for a new build are not normal. For many reasons -
1. Many builders have some sort of buy back clause in their contract and they really don't want to buy the home back.
2. They want happy customers out there referring other happy clients.
3. They woo the Realtors in the community strongly and count on them to bring them business. If they had shoddy construction, Realtors are among the first to know, network and they wouldn't be selling too many more homes.
4. Many are in the business because they love building homes. Quality is important to them.

Now, in a resale home, it's going to depend on the age of the home and how it's been cared for in its' lifetime. If the foundation was continously watered, the homeowners took care to observe the roof after wind, hail, and other storms and replaced shingles and/or bruised roofing when necessary, the plumbing has not been neglected, etc. If it's been well cared for and maintained along the way (much like you have to do car maintenance and put oil in it, rotate the tires, get a 30k mile check up, etc.) then you shouldn't have major problems. However, if the homeowner(s) have not done this, then that possibility exists.

Here are some other points to consider when looking at building vs. re-sale:

Lifestyle - Do you like to tinker on your home? Do you love having projects to do? Paint? Fix things up? Or, would you prefer to spend your time relaxing? Entertaining? Participating in sports? Leisure time?

Savings - Do you have money saved up for repairs? Warranty? Trade service call fees? Your portion of estimated charges? Items not covered under warranty? Here is the website for American Homeshield which is a popular home warranty company: http://www.ahswarranty.com/homeowners/faqs.jsp#basic-warranty.
Many people think if they get a home warranty on a re-sale home that it's just the same as hacing a warranty on a new home. With a new home, the home is covered "bumper to bumper" for the first year as long as you do the required maintenance - change filters, etc. Then, the 2nd year is quite often everything behind the walls like the plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and wiring. The roof will usually have 20-40 year warranty depending on the builder. Then, each component of the home will have it's own warranty like the A/C condenser unit, appliances, foundation, structure, patio/sidewalk/porch, windows, etc. There is no fee for the repair of these items with the builder's warranty even if several contractors are required to fix the job. If you have a repair in a re-sale home that includes several trades, you will be charged for each trade call.

What's important to you in a lot? Is that a major consideration for you? Or, not really? Do you want something that will let the morning sun in the breakfast area? Do you want a big back yard where you can have b-b-ques? Do you want a gentle slope? Do you want a tiered slope at the back so you can put in a garden back there and put in some gardening logs to separate the yard? Is a pool important to you? Typically, you will not recoop your investment of the pool when you put it in, so it's nice to get a home with a pool that's already been installed if that's a must have for you.

What about price point? Usually new communities at a lower price point are at the outskirts of town with less services, shopping and restaurants available. If the price point is higher and it's closer in town, the lots will typically be smaller and sometimes there will be less square footage. If older architecture appeals to you, tree lined streets and neighborhoods that are built up that have typically seen their appreciation already (yes, there are exceptions) with larger bedrooms and more defined spaces for a lower price, then you may want to explore re-sale homes.

Do you like design selections already being made for you? Do you like to walk in and see the finished home? Complete with custom paint colors on the wall, wood floors and intercom systems? Or, would you prefer to make your own design selections and make your own mark on the home? Builders typically do have completed homes, but they will not have as much character, let's say, as pre-owned homes. They will typically be finished out in neutral colors to appeal to as many people as possible. Pre-owned homes are going to reflect the personal tastes of that homeowner. Builders always have some sort of incentive package going on that you can choose to put options into your new home or take some off the price. Lots of times, you can include items like blinds, garage door opener and refrigerator... again depending on price point. Could be Viking appliances, fireplace for your outdoor living space and Klipsch audio equipment for your media room.

Community - what type of community would you like to live in? Do you like to live in an older, established neighborhood with big trees and people who've typically lived there a while? Usually, there will be more grocery stores, dining, movies, and other conveniences around in this type area. You won't use as much gas going from place to place. It could possibly be closer to your work. Or, would you prefer to move in somewhere where it's new and you're just starting out in the area the same as everyone else? The higher the price point, the closer the community will be to a more developed area typically. For example, if you are looking at the $150k range, this is going to be further on the outskirts of town than if you are looking in the $450k range.

Resale value - You don't want to buy at the top or bottom end of any neighborhood. Let's say if you were to suddenly get transferred in 2 years and need to sell your home, you want to make sure you can get out of it and won't lose money in our "savings bond" Texas market with steady growth of around 3-6% on average. You need someone who knows the area, the comps, what the trends are, and who can negotiate confidently on your behalf.

Happy to help,
T. Hayley
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Old 07-01-2008, 09:38 AM
 
430 posts, read 1,288,165 times
Reputation: 171
I've built two homes and lived in two others.

No matter how good the builder is, stuff slips through.

If you want the home done right, you should have it built from the ground up with you and an inspector you trust checking things daily.

On most homes, there will be a contruction foreman who runs things. This is who you should work with. He will resolve most issues asap.

Foundations should be post-tension on piers with void space and the soil should be almost mud when they pour the cement. On my first home, the builder dug the soil out to four feet, mixed it with fill, and then put it back, then we made a lake. Then he drilled the piers. That house is now 14 years old and has not moved.
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