Profile picture for sshost

Building a New House - Freaking Out!

Hi,

Not sure if anyone can offer advise but I'm stressing out.  I'm building a semi-custom house from a spec builder.  We made a lot of custom changes, which they don't like to do as it creates too many issues.  I signed a document saying our down payment is non-refundable under any cercimstances and that is what is freaking me out.  I am worried that they will say forget it when it comes to fixes & such as they have $40K of my money.  I don't know what kind of protection a consumer has in general when buying a new house.  Most of what we want are listed in the change orders, but doesn't state anything about good workmanship on construction, etc.  Such as there are lights that are not centerd in a room or hallway, electrical outlets not in an ideal place, workers broke a lot of the edges on the windows that secures it to the wall, etc.  Still waiting to hear from the construction mgr on all of my requests (not at dry way stage yet).  I'm worried that they will say take it or leave it on many of the items I'm bringing up because they can.  If it wasn't for my $40K on a doc that says non-refundable under any circumstances, I wouldn't be worried at all.  But because of that, I'm freaking out that they can screw me.

Am I worrying too much?

Thanks for your time and input.

Curtis
  • March 26 2014 - Fate
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Answers (7)

Builders like to get a non-refundable deposit so they have capital to work with rather than getting an earnest money deposit which by law must sit in an account and untouched. Realtors don't like them and prefer the earnest money to protect their buyer better. Even after you close I would suggest not being to mean and unpleasant since you will probably need that builder to come back and take care of issues that crop up the first year. They will usually come back to fix nail pops, cracks, this and that under their warranty. Learn something from one who has burnt many a bridge behind them before.
  • March 26 2014
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Please read your contract and discuss with your lawyer. Good luck to you.
  • March 26 2014
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I wouldn't beat yourself up about agreeing to a $40K non-refundable down payment. Without that, you probably wouldn't have got the house. Now doing all this without a Realtor to represent your interests is something else..........
  • March 26 2014
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Profile picture for sshost
Thanks for all of the replies!  Yes, I've learned a lot of lessons here.  I've been kissing the ground under the construction mgr's feet as well as our sales consultant.  Bringing her flours, him red bull.  We have been nothing but butt kissers since day one.  I know the best way to get what you want, is to be nice, even if it is fake.  Once we are finished, I would like to speak my mine and become the bull with red horns.  Once we close, I will no longer be nice, even to the sales person.  Lack of communication!!  This whole experience has been horrible and makes me almost regret buying a house.

I feel so stupid for signing the document that makes the down payment non-refundable.  I think that gives the builder all the power to do whatever they want.  I just hope they do the right thing and I don't drive the manager nuts.
  • March 26 2014
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Building a house is stressful, but I think your concern about making sure you are covered under the contract is important to address. I don't think that you're overreacting. 

Now would be a good time to get a quick consult with a real estate attorney so that you understand your contract and so you can get suggestions about how to cover yourself if quality issues do arise. Don't wait until you are in a corner. Get a quick appointment to ease your mind and get a professional read on the situation.
  • March 26 2014
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I always say you need a realtor or attoney by your side when building.
You are right to be concerned, but not a lot you can do now but buddy up to the builder.
Not the company, but the person on site who might also be referred to as a construction manager.
They will be the key to getting your job finished in the right way.
You likely will need frequent meetings with them and be on site frequently to ensure you get a great product.
You might also want to consult with a real estate attorney about your contract.
The real time to do this was before you signed, not after.....but you have to live with what you signed now.
They may can advise you on what is acceptable workmanship, etc.
Don't be afraid to ask for corrections or that the work be done right.
Assure the on site construction manager it is best for both of you to get a great house built.
Be sure to hire  a 3rd party inspector to inspect the house before you close and make sure all your punch list items are complete.
  • March 26 2014
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It sounds like you signed a builders contract and had no Realtor advising you. So you have a contract that totally favors the builder and no one helping you. You are in a place that can be rough if your builder is one of those builders with attitude. If you have a good builder with some desire to maintain a good reputation then you should be ok. Most builders want a stress free project but adding lots of custom and a buyer that has lots of hands on input will drive some builders a bit crazy to the point they can shut down communications. I wish you luck and advise to not expect more than you paid for in the builders mind.
  • March 26 2014
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