Common questions from new home buyers

Here are some questions that we have received from new home buyers. Do you know the answers? The answers can be found in the Home Building Pitfalls book.
We are considering building a new home with (builder’s name deleted) Homes in Pittsburgh, PA. How do you feel about the general construction of these homes? For instance, the exterior walls are constructed of 2X4’s instead of 2X6’s, and somebody referred to the exterior being covered by a “cardboard”-like material (underneath the siding). I guess I just want to know if these homes, structurally, are built to last, or just look nice for a few years.
Thank you, Theresa

-Answer found in Chapter Fourteen

My husband and I have found a new home we are seriously considering purchasing. It is in the pre-construction stage. It is located in a new development in the second phase, so there have already been people living there for about one year. We have names of references and other developments by this builder and of course, we want to just go knock on doors and ask existing homeowners some questions. What questions should I ask homeowners when I call or go to their home? I already checked the builder out with BBB and nothing comes up, so I assume they are clear in that regard. A short list of questions and concerns for my reference checking would be extremely helpful.
Thank you so much. Judy

-Answer found in Chapter Three

I visit the site where my home is being built almost every day. After requesting that the builder fix many defects, i.e. missing studs, leaks in ceiling, etc., I was told to stop calling the office and to talk to my real estate agent. I’ve hired a home inspection firm to do the slab & frame inspection. The city already failed the frame inspection (I checked the builders box & internet using permit number & address). How can I get the builder to fix the various defects or refund my deposit & pre-paids? What are my legal options? I signed a contract with a mediation clause; did I lose my rights to a civil law suit? I live in Jacksonville Florida; can you refer me to someone local that can help before it goes too far?

-Answer found in Chapter Ten

The framing (including insulation) and subfloor has been exposed to the elements since mid-December without a roof. There are water stains on the insulation and the flooring has signs of warping. We have had a mild winter, but I still have concerns about this. We plan to put hardwood flooring in so I am concerned about the wood underneath causing problems with the hardwood floor. The concern I have about the stains on the insulation is that there may be mold or other problems down the road. What are the long-term consequences to these conditions? Should I have the builder “tear” these problem areas down and start from scratch?

-Answers found in Chapter Fourteen and Appendix A

I have found a house plan I like and a lot I like, but the price is out of my budget and I wanted to negotiate with the builder. The builder has a deal going on to take $9000 off of the listed price on house. Now she says, I get an additional $3000 off if I choose her mortgage company.

She also says, they have a separate realtor fund and commission for the Realtor isn’t included into the price of the house, but we could tap into that fund if I can find a licensed realtor who is willing to waive his 3% commission for say $500 which I would pay to the realtor.

After all these waivers and reductions, I have landed at $295000 for this house. I really do not want to cross the $300000 figure and most certainly do not want to use their mortgage company. My realtor is not aware of this deal and I have a buyer’s agreement with him that’s good for another month. I came to know from his previous clients that he doesn’t waive his commission, so I didn’t bother asking him.

I am looking at $306000 and I want it to be at most $299,000. I don’t want to get into hassles with my realtor. How do I negotiate with this builder? The sales office agent for the builder outright refused to even talk about negotiations.

We are planning to build a home and are getting very close to sitting down and negotiating final #’s with the builder. This is a large residential development and we are concerned that the builder has the “upper hand” in the pricing.

What is a fair amount to expect for a discount on a $250,000 home? Does it help to have the financing and bridge loan in place (at least approved) before negotiating?

-Answers found in Chapter Six

I am buying my first new home through (builder’s name deleted) and I am having a problem with them. First off I signed the papers on 6/3/01 and they still have not started my house, citing some delays with inspection. I then found out that they are not building the houses in order of date sold. They are building them one side of the street at a time. Is this legal? Should this have been disclosed to me at time of purchase? Thank you for your response

-Answer found in Chapter Ten

My husband and I have been building a new home with a community builder. We have done four walk-throughs in four weeks, and have delayed our closing each time. Over and over again we are promised the problems will be corrected and they aren’t (or done poorly) The problem is that we cant put off the closing much longer, due to the fact that our interest rate will expire on Jan 11th. Do you have any advice on my rights and any suggestions on how to get the builder to do the right thing?
Any help you can give would be wonderful.
Thanks, Karen.
p.s. we suggested escrowing money at closing for the items we need corrected, and the builder wouldn’t go for it.

-Answers found in Chapters Ten and Fifteen