Are You Buying a New
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Are you considering buying a home from a builder? Bet you thought you didn’t need to hire a building inspector, did you? Yes, for sure and for certain you “do” need to hire your own inspector. Preferably make an arrangement with a certified inspector to investigate “pre-drywall”. That way you will know “what’s behind those walls when you move in”. The inspector will check insulation, the electrical and plumbing systems and connections, if you have sufficient supply and if the work has been done properly and esthetically pleasing (located in most productive use of space). Ask for a written report, not just a walk-through.
Again when you do your final walk-through that is part of your building contract to purchase, get that “official” building inspection done by your own inspector. Take a pad and paper with you, and write down the deficiencies. There will be some; ones you never would have known about; some that might not have even appeared during the first couple of years after you moved in.
No matter how good the builder is, or how fine his reputation is, the builders hire trades and sub-trades to do the actual work. The builder or his staff simply cannot be everywhere at once, and rely on their contractors to do the work the builder is paying them to do. But like in every industry, there can be shoddy workmanship when everyone is rushing to complete a project. Yes, there is a site foreman and a company representative on site. Ever try to have a conversation with one of those people?
So, you say to yourself not to be concerned because the builder has insurance, the government has programs in place to protect you and your new home, and in some areas there are guarantees and warranties in place that you can call upon to fix or restore any deficiencies you find during the first few years of occupancy. Good luck. Mostly those programs are in place and force the builder to come back and rectify a problem, only and if only your new home is about to fall into the hole they dug for the basement. Short of a major problem that falls in that category you are going to experience all sorts of problems trying to get anyone from the builder to retrace steps to redo what should have been done right in the first place.
Likely you have read the horror stories folks have related in your local newspapers, about how they had to struggle to have repairs made to mistakes and bad workmanship, after the fact, often in the end having to foot the bills themselves, sometimes having to spend thousands of dollars of their own money along with experiencing the frustrations that went along with the process. Most or all of this could have been avoided.
Stay a step ahead of the situation and make arrangements for your own personal building inspection at least twice and maybe at a couple of different intervals during construction. It could save you thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars to follow this procedure which may cost you several hundred dollars; a most wise investment. You won’t regret having spent those dollars in the overall scheme of things.
The builder may forbid you from being on site with your own inspector. If you think this may be the case, it would be wise make it part of your offer, that you will be bringing your own building inspector. If the on-site real estate person is not a real estate agent or Realtor, for sure make arrangements to take the builder’s paperwork (offer to purchase) to your attorney before signing anything; if you feel more comfortable even working with a Realtor on site, or your own Realtor, you should “always” be at liberty to have your attorney review the paperwork. It’s too late to involve your lawyer on closing day, when you have discovered problems that could have been avoided entirely. You will find that the builder’s rep may say they cannot hold your choice of lot or floorplan while you take the paperwork to your lawyer. That should be your first “pressure” clue. Run, don’t walk away. There should never be any pressure. The builder shouldn’t and doesn’t care who buys which house, where, that is true. Someone will buy it. But you must protect yourself by being proactive.
The builder may insist that if you have an existing house to sell, that you must use their resale representative to sell your existing house. This is simply not true. You only need to tell your builder that you already have a real estate salesperson that you want to do business with. They cannot force you to use their representative. Typically the builder’s rep will back off and your sale will proceed. But occasionally pressure is applied again in this situation, because the builder’s choice of “backup Realtor” will be paying a referral fee back to the builder. Yes. Part of the commission earned by the Realtor is paid back to the builder or to the builder’s rep. You will find that this situation is most often not disclosed.
The real estate agent doing builder back ups is often taking care of hundreds of homeowners at one time and often cannot spend personal time with you while your home is on the market. It’s a numbers game, so your home ideally will have to be priced to sell pronto with little or no feedback from the agent, and the agent is very busy and simply cannot devote extraordinary time to you. When the public doesn’t know the right questions to ask, of course they are not going to be offered this sort of advice or information. Most buyers of new homes never discuss this, they simply do what they are told by the on-site salesperson. If the backup representative is appointed to sell your existing house, you may be put under pressure to keep dropping the price, if your existing home does not sell promptly. You may find yourself being put under pressure when an offer appears, using the technique that you really do want your new home, don’t you?
Ideally, as a buyer you need your own “representation” (read the other articles on this web site). You need someone in your corner, taking personal care of you and your contract; not the least of which is having your own building inspector.
Read this link Home Inspections - How Important Are They?
*This material is copyrighted by Carolyne Realty Corp. and may not be reprinted without permission in writing.
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