COMMUNITY FORUM

sudipk123

03:44PM | 12/14/04
Member Since: 12/13/04
5 lifetime posts
Bvrealestate
I am closing on a new home in a few weeks. My builder says he won't permit a private home inspector to crawl through the attic, walk over the roof, open the electrical panel prior to closing.Seems to be he is hiding something

This sounds absolutely ridiculous to me. Is there any action I can take. Are there are financial/legal implications if I cancel closing on account of this.

Please respond/advise ASAP.

theeagle

05:32PM | 12/14/04
Member Since: 11/27/04
174 lifetime posts
call the building inspector for an inspection. as you have reason to beleive the builder is trying to hide some work before final inspection, that possibly does not comply to code.

tell this also to your mortgage holder/bank as a ''last resort''' to get out of a contract ,by him trying to hide posssible problems that would devaluate the home from the banks estimate of value.


k2

05:57PM | 12/14/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hi sudipk,

I have 'called for backup' and asked for a few moderators' opinions on this one.

No home is perfect--new or old. I'm very surprised by this attitude!

Is there no "inspection contingency" in your contract?

Keep in mind that houses get granted "certificates of occupancy" even with problems. City inspectors won't catch every problem. With the cost of this investment, I'd say you need to know a bit about what you're buying!

I'm not qualified to answer to the legal implications. But a couple things I'd be thinking about:

1. Can you call an inspector to get the home inspected anyway--maybe after hours?

2. Is there some way I could devise an "exit strategy" to get out of this deal somehow--especially if things really start going sour?

We've bought and sold several houses over the years--only one of which was new. It was far from perfect.

I also like theeagle's comment about the mortgage bank. They have a lot of power and I wouldn't be surprised if they could order an inspection. Or, maybe refuse to grant the loan. This could jeopardize the financing contingency--not necessarily a bad thing, in this case (?)

I mentioned "when things go sour." The best chance of getting from here through closing is when everyone gets along. Someone starts playing hardball, it can become a downward spiral. If buying a home is like a marriage, there's a lot that can happen between engagement and wedding day!

Good luck; please keep us posted!

Regards,

-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum

http://www.bobvila.com/BBS/Miscellaneous

tomh

07:21PM | 12/14/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
558 lifetime posts
I think K2 pretty well covered it. Your rights to access the property should be spelled out in the purchase contract. Often, builders have agents working on their behalf and you had no representation in the purchase agreement. Have a buyers agent involved? Contract clauses providing for reasonable access, inspection, warranty clauses, disclosure, etc. are your ticket to get an inspection. You need to read the purchase agreement.

Still, the attitude of a builder that refuses a qualified inspection leaves you with suspicion. Its not right, but since he is the property owner until closing, he may be within his rights. He may also distrust and resent an inspector second guessing his work that has passed all legal government inspections. Frankly, I don't think a builder should be directly involved in any sale; he is too close and should just leave it to third parties.

IF this is a deal breaker, I recommend you approach him again and let him know the closing is contingent upon an inspection. Theeagle'suggestion to involve the mortgage banker sounds like a way to get leverage if you don't have it in the purchase agreement. The inspection does not require him to do anything, but provides you only with a condition report. That information may be cause to negotitate for repairs or terminate the purchase agreement for SIGNIFICANT defects that remain unresolved.

Even though we are good on the forum, I suggest you get professional representation on your side of the deal. good luck.

tomh moderator

Handyman

04:28AM | 12/15/04
Member Since: 11/18/98
188 lifetime posts
Many contracts in my area (Florida) have the out clause stating if the home does not pass inspection the seller must fix the problems prior to closing or it falls on the seller. However, if your contract is an "as is" contract or "no inspection" or the seller has fully disclosed the problems in the contract or this is a distressed property (foreclosure, probate etc) you may not have the right to inspection. As this is a new home, the builder may also be providing you with a warranty on workmanship as well as any problems you may have. I am not a real-estate lawyer, however if you have serious doubts you want to buy this home and the seller won't negotiate a reasonable withdrawal from the contract you may need to seek a lawyer’s assistance.

sudipk123

05:16PM | 12/15/04
Member Since: 12/13/04
5 lifetime posts
Thank you all for your prompt feedback. At this point regarding mortgage company getting involved since the mortgage company belongs to builder (vested interest and they contribute towards closing) I think that option is ruled out as I tried the same already.

However the follow up action I have taken at this point is called up my realtor (buyer agent) and told him I am planning on cancelling contract if builder is not permitting an inspection since I suspect something fishy going due to attitude shown by builder. Also this unwritten rule (not permitting roof/attic inspection) is not present in contract anywhere. On speaking to the board of realtors in Florida and some of Hillsborough county inspectors I they told me they found it quite surprising too ,but they mentioned the builder owns the property prior to closing and thus might be within his right.

Also a little bit of groundwork revealed in other communities by same builder they did permit full fledged inspections. Although I have a 11 month warranty I do not want to be dealing with too many hassles latter on.

Thank you all for your feedback and will keep you posted.

k2

05:27AM | 12/16/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Thanks for the follow-up post.

Also, as I mentioned, we once purchased a new home. I can tell you from personal experience that a one-year (or, in this case, 11-month(!)) warranty can go by VERY fast. Especially if they don't respond in a timely manner to issues.

I like your response to your agent. I'm curious as to what they're telling you--can you 'break' the contract--or will they nail you for earnest money, etc.?

Also, are there any other "outs" you can use?--for example, if the house isn't completed by closing date--do you (maybe) have a way out of it then?

Regards,

-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum

http://www.bobvila.com/BBS/Miscellaneous

Glenn Good

06:25AM | 12/16/04
Member Since: 09/10/03
320 lifetime posts
Unless you were forewarned there would be no inspection of the property allowed before you entered into this contract you should have a legal right to withdraw from it without penalty. If there is a "No Inspection" clause in the contract and you signed it you will likely need to seek legal advice to find a way out.

Recent disclosure laws require the seller to disclose any KNOW defects or problems with the property prior to selling. The key word here is KNOW. If they do not disclose a problem that is not readily apparent they can always claim they were not aware the problem existed.

I would insist on having the house inspected by an ASHI certified inspector or withdraw from the contract. ASHI is the most trusted nation wide associations for home inspectors. Some states do not require home inspectors to be certified at all and that could be the main reason the builder does not want to allow the inspection. He could have been burned by a poor inspector in the past. Any ASHI certified inspector will be professional and qualified to do the inspection properly. You may wish to seek legal advice but this demand is not unreasonable and you should be within you rights.

Keep in mind as others have already stated…the builder may be within his rights to prevent you from doing an inspection of HIS property but on the flip side you should have the legal right to refuse to purchase it without an inspection. (Unless there is a "No inspection" clause is present in your signed contract)

If you do end up having to purchase the house I would recommend you hire an inspector to do a thorough inspection immediately after you finalize the sale. Then insist that the builder repair any defects that were found. Keep records of everything you or your inspector finds and take plenty of photos. Keep good records of when the builder made any repairs, how the repairs were done, how long it took, etc. When the repairs are completed have the inspector go through the house again to insure everything was repaired properly. Keep records of ALL your communications with the builder and make all communications in writing, keep a copy, and if you are having or anticipating any difficulty from the builder, send the correspondence by registered mail (receipt requested). Should you have problems down the road you will be well prepared for any legal battle that may ensue.

Glenn

Moderator: Construction Systems, Foundations, and Masonry & Stone

For more information about me and/or my qualifications please visit my website at:

www.consultationdirect.com

sudipk123

01:18PM | 12/17/04
Member Since: 12/13/04
5 lifetime posts
It worked!! I threatened my realtor to pull out of the contract if the builder did not allow inspectio and fight in court to recover deposits. Also I checked with few of other communities with same builder and managed to get both a verbal confirmation and fax saying they permit full fledged inspection. There were series of discussions between realtor/ construction mgr and they finally agreed to permit a full inspection on inspection producing insurance proof which never was an issue.

This was indeed a learning experience for me and I hope things will go OK during inspection . Thank you all for the posts and quick feedback. I am impressed by this forum.

k2

04:14PM | 12/17/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hi Sudipk123,

Thanks so much for the status report!

So many times we pour our hearts out to help people, and never hear anything back. It's great to hear such positive feedback!

Very glad to hear that some posturing on your part was able to turn the issue around. Hopefully the builder will have a new-found respect for you, and everything will go smoothly from here on.

Hopefully we'll see you on future posts. And you're right, it is a nice forum; we have a good time here!

All the best on your closing and on your new home!

Regards,

-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum

http://www.bobvila.com/BBS/Miscellaneous
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