Buyer needs inspector to document defects

December 11, 2005

Ihope you can help me get satisfaction from the builder of my new home I purchased in June for $700,000. Some of the unresolved issues are:

1. In correcting a building error, the builder damaged some of the copper flashing around the bay windows. The builder replaced only small sections and, as a result, the copper is different in color and looks ridiculous. The builder says the new copper will weather, but there is still a variation in color.

2. Condensation in the gas hot water heater vent results in loud, constant dripping. The builder says this sound is "normal" and refuses to correct it.

3. My lawn was not adequately seeded. I followed all the builder's lawn instructions, but I have only spotty crabgrass. The builder claims it has fulfilled its responsibilities and won't take further action.

4. The Berber carpet in the family room has clearly visible seams. The builder has attempted repairs twice but to no avail. The builder refuses to replace it.

5. The upstairs flooring is uneven. The builder will not address this problem at all.

I want these defects taken care of. I want an independent third party to inspect my home and to require the builder to fix everything that is needed. Please tell me what my options are.

Your new home comes with at least a one-year warranty against defects in workmanship and material. I suggest you hire a qualified home inspector, at your expense, to make a thorough inspection of your home and document all defects. Photos should be taken of the defects if visible.

You should then send the report to the builder with a cover letter asking that all defective items be repaired or replaced within the warranty period. You should request a written response. This procedure will ensure that all of your complaints are properly documented and support by an independent expert.

If the builder has not performed the required warranty work by the one-year anniversary of your purchase (June 2006), you can file suit to recover the cost of completing the repairs. I suggest you use a general contractor who is willing to testify on your behalf that the repairs are necessary and that the cost is reasonable.

If your builder has provided a new-home warranty, you should also follow the procedures outlined in the warranty booklet.

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