3 steps to resolving new-home defects

When builder won't return calls, issue ultimatum

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DEAR BARRY: We live in a new housing development, built about four years ago. The builder has a good reputation in the area, but you wouldn't know it by the way he handles complaints in our neighborhood. Many of us have had serious problems with cracks in our foundations, walls and ceilings. Many have also had an unusual number of roof leaks. The builder was slow to respond when the homes were still under warranty, and since the warranty period expired, he won't even return phone calls. How do you recommend that we handle this issue? --Patrick DEAR PATRICK: Builders who do not address construction defects in a forthright manner can be a major problem for buyers of new homes. The best ways to handle this can vary according to the specifics of the situation. In your case, the following guidelines are recommended: 1. Each of the homeowners in your subdivision should have their home professionally inspected by a highly qualified home inspector. A report by a competent inspector...