DEAR BARRY: We bought a new house from a builder about a year ago. Our agent said we didn’t need a home inspection because the home was covered by the builder’s warranty. Since moving in, we’ve called the builder five times to correct faulty conditions.
He fixed some of these problems but not all of them. So we hired a home inspector, and he gave us an additional list of defects. But we’re unsure how to proceed, since the builder has not been responsive to past issues.
Should we threaten the builder with legal action if he doesn’t make repairs, or should we continue trying to work with him? As for our Realtor, we feel that she was not looking out for our interests when she advised not having a home inspection. What is your opinion of this situation? –Ronda
DEAR RONDA: The builder is liable for all repairs for at least a full year, and probably longer, depending on legal requirements for builders in your state. You should present the builder with a copy of the home inspection report and request that the deficiencies be corrected. If the builder does not respond in a prompt and professional manner, you may need an attorney to provide an exclamation point.
Your Realtor’s advice that you "didn’t need a home inspection because the home was covered by the builder’s warranty" was profoundly unprofessional. Agents and brokers usually know better than this.
What good is a home warranty if you don’t know what needs to be claimed? If code violations, substandard workmanship or safety violations exist in concealed locations, such as inside the attic or within an electrical panel, you can’t file a claim if you are unaware of the issues. Without a detailed inspection report, the warranty is of little benefit.
Competent agents understand that no home should be purchased without a professional inspection. Agents who recommend otherwise are undermining the interests of their clients and should be admonished for giving such advice.
DEAR BARRY: My home was recently inspected for the buyers. I wanted to be courteous to them, so I vacated the premises while the inspection was in progress. Upon my return, I noticed that several items of personal property were missing, so I called the inspector to tell him. He informed me that buyer and his kids were there, but the agent was not. I don’t know who to blame for this theft and have no basis for blaming anyone in particular. What can a seller do about this? –Andre
DEAR ANDRE: If the items that were taken are valuable or important, you should raise the issue with the agent and broker, insisting that they look into the matter. It is entirely possible that one of the kids took something. But who knows? It could just as well have been a child-like adult. As you say, there is no basis for making an accusation. It is an unusual and unfortunate dilemma, and you may never obtain a satisfactory answer.