New Home Purchase agreement. Where do I stand?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by CRyan, Jul 6, 2003.

  1. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Ok. What do you think? General question for now as I have just been confronted with this problem.

    Three months ago, we signed a purchase agreement and put down $2000 for a new home on a particular lot. We talked briefly to the construction manager regarding the placement of the house on the lot before signing the agreement. All seemed well.

    This is a nationwide well-known builder. It is adverised in several pamphlets that they have a 7 step home buyer satisfaction process including a "Pre-Construction Meeting" where you meet the construction staff and go over any questions and concerns regarding the building of the home. One of these pamphlets was handed to us at purchase agreement signing. The purchase agreement, however, does not mention this 7 step satisfaction process.

    We were told by the company that we would finallize outlet placement, upgrades, and house placement in this pre-onstruction meeting. Again, this is not mentioned in the purchase agreement - just advertised in these pamphlets.

    Well, we called several times to set up this pre-construction meeting. We were told not to worry that we would be contacted when the lot had been staked when the mud had dried. No biggie. I am not in a hurry at all and it was raining here non-stop for about a month.

    Well fast forward to the present - three months following purchase agreement signing with still no pre-construction meeting.

    We drove by today and what do we see - the foundation has already been poured! And it has been poured at the wrong angle to the lot that we had verbally agreed on before signing.

    So we did not get a pre-construction meeting as construction has already commenced. It is the weekend so we have not yet had a chance to see what can be done if anything.

    So, do you think there will be a way for me to get out $2000 back and to cancel the agreement if they say no to destoying all current work and redoing it? I really do still want the house, but not the way they have laid it on this corner lot. Does this "false advertising" in any way break the purchase agreement?

    Thanks for any input.

    C. Ryan
     
  2. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Unfortunately I think a lawyer is in order, depending on the outcome of your next conversation with the builder's representative. Were you dealing with a realtor representing the builder, or directly with the sales department of the builder's corporation ?

    It could be that, due to various lot/zoning restrictions, there wasn't any alternative to the house placement. However, most likely it was probably shoddy communication between the sales rep and the construction crew.

    Hopefully they will let you out of the contract without a hassle, but I would start making detailed notes of the previous verbal conversations, including time, dates, places, etc should it go to legal action. While such notes are not legally binding, they do add creedence to your argument. Due to their activity, I doubt the sales rep will have detailed recollections (otherwise the house would be where you want it !)

    Good Luck - buying a house is one of the most stressful periods of a person's life, and you just had fuel added to the fire ! It will all work out in the end, just keep the faith !
     
  3. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Yes, it was an agent of that construction company. No third party realtor. I know with this lot there were at least two placement options - this was told upfront.

    If we had the pre-construction meeting, I would have at least chosen the other option as this one sucks.

    I think this will basically come down to whether they are legally bound to hold up to their 7 step-to-satisfaction advertisement. I obviously have proof of that advertisement, but as said before, it is not actually a part of the purchase agreement.

    Thanks for the kind words. Hopefully, this will not go to a lawyer, but I simply wanted to know how this could work out given they did not hold up to their advertisement.

    C. Ryan
     
  4. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I would also advise talking to a lawyer. You should be able to get at least a free consultation to see where you stand. I would also carefully examine the document you signed to see if there are any provisions for timelines or other obligations on the seller's behalf, chances are if it was their contract, there aren't any. What is in the contract is what you and they are obligated to, the sales brochures will probably hold little if any weight in court-I suspect none. There should be approvals indicated in the contract for each stage of construction, which I suspect there aren't.

    I would also (as has been suggested) document everything you can in regards to conversations with the parties involved. Do this before seeing a lawyer so you can take the least amount of time outlining the sequence of events. I would also talk to the builder first to see if they will just straighten things out, but if they seem like they are stonewalling, don't hesitate to turn up the heat. At this point the worst you can be is out your deposit, which would suck, but it's better than being stuck with a house you don't want.

    It is not that uncommon that the foundation get ripped up. My parent's last house was out a foot on one side, and the builder had to take up the foundation. Just wait until you get inside the house... walls in the wrong place, nothing square, windows where you don't want them... this is a very stressful endeavor and you have to be on top of EVERYTHING. Bring a tape measure, learn to read drawings. If there is a problem, get on it immediately.
     
  5. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Who knows what will happen in the next week when I finally talk to everyone. I suspect currently that everything will work out. I was just curious about getting out of a contract due to not following advertised and well documented proceedures. No biggie YET.

    I suspect lawyer fees will be no less than the $2000 I am already out. No need for one yet though.

    I am very well versed in the contract. I took it home to go over before signing it. It was a typical (I have seen several builders contracts to date) home builder contract. It also has the arbitration clause. A family member by marriage is a contractor, and I understand very well what to look for during construction. I will take a walkthrough with the inspector as well - if I get to that point.

    We shall see. Thank you very much for the input. More is welcome!

    C. Ryan
     
  6. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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  7. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    My advise to see a lawyer is only to have a firm grasp of what your legal position is, and what, if any remedies may be available. The initial consultation should be free. At least then you aren't put in a position of not knowing what can be done, and knowing what you should or should not be saying to the builder.

    I have seen a number of building projects, and quite often the builder tries to weasel out of fixing problems due to the cost, or tries to pass off the cost onto the buyer, and depending on the contract, may be entitled to despite his own negligence in communicating. Once they understand they aren't dealing with someone who doesn't understand their rights, the builders tend to have a shift in attitude knowing they are going to pay for their screw ups, but you do have to know what you are talking about.

    Definitely try to resolve the issue with the builder, but it will only cost you a bit of time to get professional advice.
     
  8. Craig Robertson

    Craig Robertson Supporting Actor

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    my lawyer's advice in the past has been to deal with the other party directly. he'll give me all the legal advice and info and then have me do the talking, he's in the background. he'll step in only when needed.
    people tend to get a little defensive if confronted by your lawyer first thing.
     
  9. Cary_H

    Cary_H Second Unit

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    Any subject clauses written into the agreement?
    What are the requirements around "agency agreements" that your local RE board has to comply with?
     

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