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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-12-2006, 04:47 AM   #21
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107
Becareful when using architects. On suzi ormans show she mention she herself made a terrible mistake in the building of her new home. She hired an architect and once the project was underway she was unhappy with him and so paid him for his work and fired him.

What she didnt know was all the work permits were in his name not hers even though she paid everything directly and so he pulled them.

THE WORST PART WAS EVEN THOUGH SHE PAID BIG BUCKS FOR THE PLANS THE PLANS WERE CONSIDERED STILL HIS PROPERTY

He yanked those too. Now shes hung and the project has been stopped
Suze is a doofus. Doubt she could walk and chew gum at the same time so
she would be getting herself in a jam at every turn. If it was not this
it would be something else.

JG
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-12-2006, 05:00 AM   #22
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

Quote:
Originally Posted by ferco
Who has interesting lessons and horror stories related to building their own home and the closing process; any vignettes to share?

PS: Are there any honest contractors out there or is everyone just out for the quick buck?
I could monopolize this one, but I will restrain my Jaggeresque
tongue. Here are just 2:

When I was young we were buying a new house about 80% done.
Well known local builder. At the closing, there was still some work
undone. I allowed my realtor to talk me into setting the escrow
based on the estimates of the builder's subs. Found out later
that the "hold-back" should have been at least double that. Soooooo,
I put a busy builder in the position where he knew he would lose
money coming back to finish my place as opposed to going on to something new. Thus, he never came back. I got the $ released to me (by signing
a waiver) and even though we did a bunch of work ourselves it went
way over budget to finish up.

Story No. 2..........This is a house I sold myself and financed myself.
Plus, we were going to stay in the house and lease it back from the new
owners for a while. Both sides had attorneys. Buyer's attorney brought up
new issues at closing (attorneys are famous for that). I threatened
to keep their earnest $ and walk. Long story short, it took one and a
half days (literally) to close. We broke for lunch, quit later and returned the
next day to finish up. To the buyer's credit (he was a Brit) he apologized
afterward.

JG
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-12-2006, 10:30 AM   #23
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

Suzie must be a ding bat. She needs to look to the terms of her professional services contract to resolve her concerns. There are attornies who specialize in construction disputes, the standard AIA contract provides for mediation as I recall.

It is unusual that the architect would file for the building permit in his own name, but the architect does have a copyright on the drawings.

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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-13-2006, 09:48 AM   #24
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107
Becareful when using architects. On suzi ormans show she mention she herself made a terrible mistake in the building of her new home. She hired an architect and once the project was underway she was unhappy with him and so paid him for his work and fired him.

What she didnt know was all the work permits were in his name not hers even though she paid everything directly and so he pulled them.

THE WORST PART WAS EVEN THOUGH SHE PAID BIG BUCKS FOR THE PLANS THE PLANS WERE CONSIDERED STILL HIS PROPERTY

He yanked those too. Now shes hung and the project has been stopped
I'm so happy to hear Suze is out their badmouthing an entire profession over her experience. I never watched her anyway.
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-13-2006, 10:07 AM   #25
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

Quote:
Originally Posted by scrinch
jazz, it sounds like you found the wrong builder. He should be working with you to complete your dream house, not against you to make a few more bucks.
Actually, our experience was relatively good considering the local market. This was due to builder being somewhat flexible and us doing our homework, spending time, developing a relationship with Subs and inspectors, etc. We rejected using the mass market builders and this builder was pretty good, decent, acceptable, much less of a PITA than the others. Its pretty much the way things were at the time. We kept telling the builder, we'll spend MORE, if you show us the VALUE!. We wanted things like high efficiency appliances, etc., etc., but by that time we had exceeded his "semi-custom" threshold and he wanted to do the mass market, quick money thing. As for the dream house part, we could never afford that anyway. The difference between selling in Indy and building in DC was big time culture shock. We also had some time constraints due to company relocation requirements. Seven years later, we are very satisfied.
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-13-2006, 01:55 PM   #26
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
So Lets Retire, did you end up with the house? Did everything (driveway, lights, sod) get fixed?
Only the lights were fixed, nothing else. I walked away from the house, figuring it would cost more to bring the cheap parts up to parity with the design, than buying a used one and modifying it to our likes. We never did receive a copy of the extension signed by the builder, so as far as I'm concerned the contract was never extended. The builder's agent kept giving our agent and the loan officer the run around.

Now comes the fight to get my money back for the lights.
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-14-2006, 09:22 PM   #27
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

1. Hire an architect and get your design and plans done first. This is not cheap, but you will pay for this directly or indirectly. No free lunch here.

2. Specify Manufacturer and model on all important items. Windows, doors, HVAC,Plumbing fixtures, faucets, light fixtures, floor coverings,cabnets,countertops,even switches and outlets.

The builders idea of "Intermediate quality" or "Best Quality" and your idea of same might be very diferent. This is not always to cheat you, but it is "Good Business" in construction to provide only the minimum. (Like the auto industry and many others.) If you don't insist , you will not get the quality you want.

You can skip the above if both you and the builder agree on "The cheapest thing that will pass inspection"

Good Luck.
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-15-2006, 05:15 AM   #28
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

And yet another one:

In 1998, I moved into my "bachelor pad", about 10 miles downstream
on the same body of water. Brand new duplex. Beautiful spot.
Beautiful building. Cheap rent.

The builder (guy I know) had gotten a building permit for a single family
home. During construction they decided to make it a duplex (a one BR,
and a 2 BR). Anyway, being located in a flood plain the builder came under extra heavy oversight by the county building inspector. By the time this guy
found out about the change the duplex was rented. The builder had to
cut a hole between the apartments for a door and remove all of the appliances from my side. Then I had to "disappear" briefly while the
building inspector confirmed it was indeed a single family dwelling. As soon
as that was done, I came back; the appliances came back, and the
doorway was resealed.

JG
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-20-2006, 08:28 AM   #29
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

Sorry all, but my answer to all this is buy the house after someone else has had all the hassles. The extra cost is worth the lack of stress and a good nights sleep. We do not need a custom tailored home to our fine details. we simply need a nice home with a nice view.

Just my 0.2c. I did not retire to work at home building.

SWR
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-21-2006, 08:18 PM   #30
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

Weell, I'll never build again .... Builder promised (contract date) to be done in 6 months. A year and a half later the roof was not yet on the house. To add salt to the wound, it as kit home ... arrives on 2 18 wheelers. The materials sat thru a new england winter and veery wet spring.

Buildler simply bit off more than he could chew. 4 other homes where in WORSE shape than mine and the owners decided to - jointly - fire the builder. My nieghbor and I (both using the same builder) decided to "stay with the devil we knew". Figured in this rural area, competent contractors are far n'few between.

Soooo, our house was completed in July. The 4 "other" homes are still incomplete ... facing ANOTHER new england winter. Working with thier 3rd(!) builder ... and have leins from 2 prior builders.

LESSON LEARNED: Put an incentive clause in the contact which pays back to you ($x/day) if the delivery date is not met. If the builder will not sign ... up the incentive AND the penalty until he signs OR find another builder.
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-22-2006, 08:42 AM   #31
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShokWaveRider
Sorry all, but my answer to all this is buy the house after someone else has had all the hassles. The extra cost is worth the lack of stress and a good nights sleep. We do not need a custom tailored home to our fine details. we simply need a nice home with a nice view.

Just my 0.2c. I did not retire to work at home building.

SWR
I would agree with this. Find a place that meets your needs or wants and doesn't need structural work. You can easily control the rest of the process without the huge hassles with contractors. Minimize your interaction with contractors to maximize your enjoying of retirement.
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-22-2006, 12:44 PM   #32
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

I have been watching major repairs on very recently constructed condos and townhouses from moisture issues in my former home town. Much of this is from poor work by roofing and siding contractors. Give me a tested building any day.

The cost of roofing ready for replacement is chump change compared to replacemnt of siding, joists not designed for moisture, or not so dry rot.
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors
Old 10-25-2006, 10:49 AM   #33
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Re: Building and Closing Horrors

Having been burned by a few contractors for minor/major remodels, we were somewhat leery of hiring someone to build for us last year...particularly, since the project was 850 miles away from our home, and I could only be onsite once a month or so.

Turned out to be the best building experience ever, but it wasn't by accident.

We visited about 30 home sites under construction. We looked for cleanliness, quality of construction, and spoke with as many of the contractors' customers and subs as possible. We discovered subs are by far and away, the best leads for finding a good general contractor. Most subs seem to have no problem telling you who to watch out for, and who they enjoy working for. We found the good/bad references for general contractors were pretty consistent across a large number of subs.

Of those that the subs and homeowners liked, we interviewed 12 contractors after verifying they had zero complaints with the state contractors board, and trimmed the list to 5 based on nothing but personality. If things didn't "click" immediately, or we had the slightest bit of unease with a contractor while speaking with them, they were scratched from the list - regardless of their resume/references. We weren't about to enter into a 9+ month long distance relationship with somebody we couldn't easily and comfortably communicate with.

Of the 5 we liked, we asked for a list of all projects they had done in the last 3 years. One wouldn't provide it, so he was scratched. Of the remaining four, we visited most of their projects, and spoke with as many of the homeowners as we could.

And finally...we approached the building department employees. This is where one needs to perform a little "schmoozing"...plan checkers and inspectors do not want to divulge details (good or bad) about contractors, but everyone has an opinion. If you can determine the inspectors/plan checkers like a contractor, that's a great sign. One of the biggest sources of headaches when building can be the local officials, and finding a general contractor that has a good relationship with these people is a big plus.

When done with the above, we eliminated one more guy, and one of the remaining three really stood out from the rest. We had all three supply bids, and the guy we liked best had the highest price, but not by a huge amount - less than 5%. We went with him, and never regretted it.

The above may sound like a lot of work - it was. I don't personally know of anyone who put more effort into selecting a contractor than we did...it took us almost 9 months to pick the guy, but the end result was well worth our trouble. As has been pointed out in this thread, the potential for problems when custom building is huge...if you're not willing to put forth significant effort when selecting a contractor, I'd agree buying an existing home will result in far less heartache.
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