PROBLEM RESOLVED! - Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

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synthfan23
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PROBLEM RESOLVED! - Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:56 am

PROBLEM FIXED AS OF 6/26/2019 - DON'T NEED ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE

So, we're buying a new construction inventory home. "Punch out" is this afternoon. And we close by the end of the week. Our home was still under construction when we went under contract and there wasn't a proper model for that floor plan when we made our decision. Paying a pretty penny for a tiny house on a postage stamp lot but in a location we really want to be. Builder gave in some, but not much, during negotiations with our Realtor. I even went high up the exec chain, seeing if I could get at least another 3-5K credit, as we'd run into a contingency that would have allowed us to walk away with 100% of our earnest money.

I made a last futile attempt to negotiate with their VP of sales last week. Even at this late in the process, they wouldn't budge. And even made a one-time exception that would allow us to walk away with our earnest money. A nice gesture since no other contingencies were in effect at that time. I gave all my arguments for the slight cost reduction ask and again, the VP wouldn't budge. Cited all sorts of sales figures. The VP even contradicted him/herself on an item I'd mentioned. I could see I was getting nowhere. So after about 30 minutes of cordial chat with the VP of Sales, we ended our call. Must be nice to be a Builder so confident in their market pricing to potentially lose a sale over 3K-5K.

This past weekend, I visited a slightly different model in another new construction community from the same builder this weekend. Was taking photos for decoration ideas. And what did I see--this lovely little Window Seat. Occurred to me immediately--um, oh yeah, aren't we getting one of those in one of the bedrooms? Great feature for a small home (efficient use of space). On-site, I checked the the Floor Plan on our builder's community web site--for the one where we're buying. Sure enough, it shows a window seat in one of the bedrooms. The structural and other features that were optional are clearly marked OPT. When I got home, I pulled up our Sales Contract. There was a nicely hand-modified diagram of both floors, x'ing out the options the home didn't have. And subbing-in a diagram for a paid option our inventory home did have (loft space vs. open space over dining room). The window seat was still there.

I want my window seat. Or the builder to retroactively install one. Or to credit me what it would cost to hire a contractor to put one in, inclusive of materials, labor, and taxes. I doubt we're talking big bucks here--many people know that upgrades are a huge profit center for Builders. Ridiculous mark-ups. If the window seat isn't a standard structural feature, then in my opinion it ought not appear in the floor plan. Couldn't find an upgrade list for my floor plan anywhere online; so I don't know what's going on here.

A few points:

1) This seems to me like a small Ask
2) This seems to not be a real Ask at all--but rather, a contractual obligation.
3) At what point in the process would it be optional to ask, um, where's my window seat kind sirs? Today at punch-out, a day or two after punch-out, or the day of Closing?

I don't want bad blood between me and the Builder. But it's our money. And I believe (with good evidence--I did a lot of research on recent comp sales the Builder made in the same community as ours) we're being overcharged anyway. What do you all advise?

This is in the Orlando, FL area by the way if that helps any. I don't do Small Claims court stuff. 'Lil ole Me vs. a huge corporation? Seems ill-advised. Thanks in advance for any Rapid Responses y'all can provide by early afternoon eastern time today. :-)
Last edited by synthfan23 on Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by mak1277 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:03 am

If it's on your plans and in your contract, then you should ask. I would ask as soon as possible. While you might not want to be litigious, I think this is a situation where at least the threat of a lawsuit would help you move things along...if for some reason they don't just agree to put it in.

I think you're more likely to get a good resolution on this matter than you are getting additional money off the price after you signed the contract.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by fabdog » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:08 am

It wasn't clear to me in the original post if you were asking for $3-$5K on additional upgrades, vs asking for a credit off the price of $3 to$5K. Builders in this situation usually will not reduce the contract price of the house, as it messes up their future sales plus angers folks who've already bought. They are much more flexible on tossing in upgrades as a form of price negotiation.

If your plans called for a window seat and it's not there, then ask them to get it done, and commit in writing as not likely complete before close

Mike

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ResearchMed
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:11 am

Yes, if it is in the plans, you should get it.

And by the way, with new construction, when there are other similar or identical homes (vs. a one-of-a-kind custom home), builders are typically loath to lower prices, as others can typically find the selling price, and it can cause difficulties with subsequent buyers (or even contemporaneous buyers).

However, it's a lot easier for a builder to "add stuff" or upgrade stuff, while keeping the price steady.
Some do, some don't, but for the future, this may be a way to go.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:31 am

Whether on your contract or not, do everything you can to get the house however you want, within reason IE: structural changes. Some changes will be to remedy what is missing, some changes you will pay for.

Builders and developers go through this every day.
They can do it, even reluctantly, but they can and do.

Just persist. And don't wait. The earlier the changes the easier to do.

. . . squeaky wheel gets the oil . . . . .

Regarding the bay window. This is unclear. Is it simply a seat build out on an existing bay window? Or is it a flat wall window now and you want a step out bay window which requires a complete reframe including floor joist extension, etc. The latter would be unreasonable unless it was in the contract and specs specifically for you. To add the later retroactively as a change order at your cost would be . . . . interesting.

j
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
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synthfan23
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:34 am

fabdog wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:08 am
It wasn't clear to me in the original post if you were asking for $3-$5K on additional upgrades, vs asking for a credit off the price of $3 to$5K. Builders in this situation usually will not reduce the contract price of the house, as it messes up their future sales plus angers folks who've already bought. They are much more flexible on tossing in upgrades as a form of price negotiation.

If your plans called for a window seat and it's not there, then ask them to get it done, and commit in writing as not likely complete before close

Mike
Sorry for the ambiguity and thanks for the rapid response. I was asking for a credit off the price of 3K to 5K. Thanks for the explanation. Yeah, the latter explanation, I believe, is one of the items their VP of Sales mentioned. And I get it. I'm reasonable.

But yep, it's in the floor plan. I'm trying to get any/all floor plans from the County that were submitted with any permits the builder applied floor. I know they're required to submit a floor plan. No response yet.

Would you advise waiting until the end of the punch-out later today to mention? Then follow-up via email? Or get on this ASAP? I did some data forensics last night:

1) Instructed Archive.org (AKA The Wayback Machine) to take snap shots of our floor plan's page on our Builder's community web site.
2) Downloaded the image of the floor plan and checked the metadata. No original creation date in the EXIF (used Gimp to inspect)--but the image itself had 10-9-18 in the name. We went under contract in May.
3) Downloaded the PDF of the floor plan and checked its metadata. It was created on 3/10/2018 and last modified on 10/02/2018... guess my days as Mr. Metadata for my employer may have paid off. :-)

From DocuSign, I can see the Builder's VP of Finance signed off on our Sales Contract on 05/22/2019, making the Contract truly binding--by the criteria in the Builder's own verbiage.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by mortfree » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:35 am

I would just contact them and ask when they are planning to put that window seat in if you are close to wrapping things up.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by miamivice » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:47 am

I think you will lose this argument. You already have agreed on a price, and now you would more than what was previously agreed upon.

This isn't your house right now. This is the builder's house and if you back out, they will sell to someone else. If they can sell it for more than what you agreed to pay, they are ahead.

Lawyers cost $200/hr and lawsuits might run $10,000 to $100,000 (or more), so a lawsuit isn't likley over this issue.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:51 am

You will win this if a window seat is in the plans that are attached to your contract. You will not win a price concession, but you will get your window seat. Reason being, someone on the framing job forgot the window seat and that means the builder can charge back the entire cost of the window seat installation to the framer. A price concession comes directly out of the builder's pocket but fixing a construction error can be put back entirely against a sub.

I would mention it immediately. There is no advantage to waiting.

Insist on a document at closing that says "we still owe you a window seat," kind of the like "we owe" sheets at a car dealer.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by miamivice » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 am

8foot7 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:51 am
You will win this if a window seat is in the plans that are attached to your contract.
What if there are no plans attached to the contract?

When we built, we defintely did not sign a contract that had plans attached. Rather, we said we would buy a particular floorplan number. It's hokey, but that is how the builder protects themselves.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by Dilbydog » Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 am

Add the missing window seat to the punch list, and then CRAWL over every inch of the house. Inconsistent gaps between the bottom of the doors and floor finish, are the reveals around the door perfect, add it to the list. Are the light, fan and accessory switches in the same order in every room? If not, punch list. It the paint cut in perfectly around jamb, fixture, etc? Pay particular attention to floor finishes. Does tile grow or shrink along a wall? If so, something’s out of square, punch list. Find things that would require the builder to invest more work to “fix” to your standards than the bench would cost. Go from there.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:00 am

miamivice wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:47 am
I think you will lose this argument. You already have agreed on a price, and now you would more than what was previously agreed upon.

This isn't your house right now. This is the builder's house and if you back out, they will sell to someone else. If they can sell it for more than what you agreed to pay, they are ahead.

Lawyers cost $200/hr and lawsuits might run $10,000 to $100,000 (or more), so a lawsuit isn't likley over this issue.
True, I understand it's the Builder's house until we successfully Close. Makes sense that I wouldn't get a price concession. But will I put myself in any jeopardy whatsoever if I ask about the window seat today, prior to punch-out? While I'm not a lawyer, I've got a degree in Anglo-American/Analytic Philosophy. So I'm accustomed to reading the Fine Print. Not all of it, always. But I try to carefully review any contracts I sign--starting with the last page first. I swear there's what I informally call a Pain In The Ass clause somewhere in the Sales Contract that allows the Builder to walk away if, in other language since memory's failing me, the buyer gets too uppity. So I may need to review that verbiage, right?

My wife would kill me if I backed out over this. So we're not backing out. But I do want what was contractually promised to us.
Last edited by synthfan23 on Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:01 am

miamivice wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 am
8foot7 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:51 am
You will win this if a window seat is in the plans that are attached to your contract.
What if there are no plans attached to the contract?

When we built, we defintely did not sign a contract that had plans attached. Rather, we said we would buy a particular floorplan number. It's hokey, but that is how the builder protects themselves.
I've built three houses and in every case the plans were attached as "exhibit A" with specific things X'd out and circled when it pertained to floorplan options (like mudrooms, sinks, optional windows, etc.). I'm surprised that's not standard.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by Watty » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:01 am

The marketing materials and what is on the web site really don't mean a lot so you should focus on what was in your contract.

Be sure to also know what the cost of your "plan b" is if you walk from this deal.

Even if you get your earnest money back there are a lot of other costs you will not get back like for the home inspection.

Home prices may have also increased a in your area so if you buy a different house just down the road you could end up paying more for it than the cost of the seat.

By all means add it to the punch list and push back on it but when it comes down to actually canceling the deal try to take the emotion out of it and look at it as a business transaction.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by miamivice » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:04 am

synthfan23 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:00 am
My wife would kill me if I backed out over this.
This is very important.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:06 am

Somewhere in the process you should have initialed or signed something with a drawing or set of drawings, see if the window seat is on those drawings rather than what is on the website.

It is not clear what a window seat means in this case. If it is tied to the structure and extends from the face of the house it won't be added during punch list.

Keep breathing and being objective. For production builder, a $5k deduct on a $200k home is not a small deal.
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by Glockenspiel » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:09 am

mortfree wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:35 am
I would just contact them and ask when they are planning to put that window seat in if you are close to wrapping things up.
I would phrase it exactly like this. Especially if it is already in your plan. You should have received the floor plan drawings of the house in your contract. Phrasing it like this sets the expectation that it will get done and it’s their fault for forgetting it.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by Watty » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:15 am

WhyNotUs wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:06 am
It is not clear what a window seat means in this case. If it is tied to the structure and extends from the face of the house it won't be added during punch list.
+1

If it is some sort of Bay window that would be difficult to add at this phase even if they wanted to.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by HomeStretch » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:22 am

mortfree wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:35 am
I would just contact them and ask when they are planning to put that window seat in if you are close to wrapping things up.
+1. If the window seat is not completed by closing, as suggested get a written commitment for completion after close.

You can also request an escrow at closing for the amount necessary to cover the cost of having another contractor complete the work in the event the builder doesn’t live up to the commitment. Your attorney should be able to advise.

ETA - or you can negotiate a discount off the house price equal to the cost of having another contractor install the window seat after close.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by Kenkat » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:05 am

I would contact them separately and tell them as you were going through the punch out list, you noticed that there is a window seat spec’d out in the contract that does not look like it made it into the build. It will depend on the builder from this point, but a decent builder should try to accommodate the request either by putting in the right window or offering something else up. I’d try to be reasonable in expectation that the builder do the same.

I’ve built two houses. In my most recent build (which we’ve been in 20+ years at this point), this situation came up at least a couple of times that I can remember. One was we were supposed to have a stained wood door and sidelights and they put in steel painted. When I asked about it, they said yup, we messed up. They offered me a stained mahogany door (instead of pine as was spec’d out) if we’d keep the steel sidelights. Said it would look great. I said deal - and it does look great to this day. The second, we were to have garage doors with window cut-outs at the top as there were no other windows in the garage. They installed solid doors. I made them fix that one which they did.

On the price, at this point it’s set. I’d just accept that and move on as $3-5k is not a lot and not worth losing the deal over.

The thing with building a house is that there’s going to be things that come up and there’s a lot of compromises. With ours, there were things that, while not 100% right, were things that were just easier to let go or for me to take care of and there were things that I said “you guys need to fix this”. If you can find a reasonable balance, they will be much more willing to work with you on things.

p.s. Tell them your wife teared up when she saw the window seat wasn’t there. Tell them she’s not mad, she’s just very disappointed because she really liked that about the plan... :wink:

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by randomguy » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:20 am

miamivice wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:04 am
synthfan23 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:00 am
My wife would kill me if I backed out over this.
This is very important.
Well that would solve the sequence of returns issue😁 OP sounds like a nightmare customer off just this post. Also sounds like a bit of buyers remose which is somewhat normal on expensive things.

Ask for your window seat. See what they say. You might accept the current situation along they way. I remember signing off on a zillion things when building a house. Or the builder might just go your right and put it in

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by HornedToad » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:21 am

You need to separate your attempts at last minute negotiation that they rightfully declined to not having a window seat that is contractual.

Phrase as above and ask when it will be installed per the plans. You won't get a credit, you'll get the seat.

In future, it's easier for builders to add complimentary credits than drop price

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by fru-gal » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:21 am

I would be calm when talking to them about the window seat (you're probably already on their nuisance list from the repeated attempts about the price reduction, which I agree you shouldn't have gotten), so you want to appear calm and reasonable.

I would get money put into escrow covering the cost of the window seat and a time limit on the builder installing it. These keep you from stressing out if time stretches out with nothing done.

Heck, they probably can install it in a day, maybe even by the scheduled closing, so the sooner you call them the better.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:30 am

OP: I assumed that the "window seat" wasn't the huge deal that some here seem to be describing (such as an entire bay window).

Is this something like a bench (where you might put a cushion) that is set into a small bay window alcove, or perhaps is just in front of a window along a wall, or maybe is in front of a window, with built in closets on either side, so it looks "enclosed" by the sides of the closet?
If so, this should be doable.

But DO have a reasonable amount escrowed, or there is little incentive for the builder to do it promptly (or maybe at all?). Plus then you would at least have $$ to hire another contractor to put that in. (And hey, maybe you'd rather have it done a bit differently? :wink: although it would be a pain.)

And yes, even though you are upset about some of this, do try to be friendly/cooperative, and treat this as a sort of "matter of fact" issue: "the window seat isn't there, and you do expect it to be completed of course".
Treat this one thing as though it was an honest oversight, which it may well have been. But treat it that way nevertheless, unless/until there is evidence to the contrary, including any reluctance to complete it.
You could even say (IF this is true) how nice everything looks, except for this one thing that seems to have been overlooked... the point being that they have a hint that this is "it", rather than one of an ongoing list that will never end.

Keep in mind they are probably upset about the attempts to get a discount at a late stage, especially given how any such "thing" would have been more likely to be "extra or fancier stuff", keeping the sales price constant, etc. They may be a bit wary now, too.

Try to help the process along, so that you - and your happy wife - can close and move in to your lovely new home, and then enjoy it! :happy

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by Info_Hound » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:37 am

8foot7 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:51 am
You will win this if a window seat is in the plans that are attached to your contract. You will not win a price concession, but you will get your window seat. Reason being, someone on the framing job forgot the window seat and that means the builder can charge back the entire cost of the window seat installation to the framer. A price concession comes directly out of the builder's pocket but fixing a construction error can be put back entirely against a sub.

I would mention it immediately. There is no advantage to waiting.

Insist on a document at closing that says "we still owe you a window seat," kind of the like "we owe" sheets at a car dealer.
^^^This^^^

They have a contract with you to build per the contract specs. If you have a window seat in your specs, they have to build it out once you let them know it is missing.

I was in the same situation regarding a window. I was willing to buy an extra window but the builder said no. However they were willing to move a window (in the plans) from the side of the house to the back of the house in the same room. (Back has a killer view, side looked at neighbor's siding).
My realtor sent photos as construction occurred since I was living 1,700 miles away. Spotted the wrong window placement and notified them immediately. Got push back from the sales rep until we showed them it was in the contract (explicitly), window was moved to the right location at no cost to me.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:09 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:31 am
Whether on your contract or not, do everything you can to get the house however you want, within reason IE: structural changes. Some changes will be to remedy what is missing, some changes you will pay for.

Builders and developers go through this every day.
They can do it, even reluctantly, but they can and do.

Just persist. And don't wait. The earlier the changes the easier to do.

. . . squeaky wheel gets the oil . . . . .

Regarding the bay window. This is unclear. Is it simply a seat build out on an existing bay window? Or is it a flat wall window now and you want a step out bay window which requires a complete reframe including floor joist extension, etc. The latter would be unreasonable unless it was in the contract and specs specifically for you. To add the later retroactively as a change order at your cost would be . . . . interesting.

j
Thanks for the advice. And great question! From look at the floor plan, it looks like the Window Seat juts out beyond the bedroom wall. It's not flush with the remaining horizontal lines on that side of the house. So wow, that's structural evidently. Never thought about that. But damn, it's everywhere on all the floor plans--the one on the web site (no changes since 2018), the one in my Sales Contract, etc. I can Play Dumb and ask about the Window Seat vaguely... Perhaps they'll say they can't do *that* but offer me something else. But truly, I'm going to mention how much I love Window Seats--I do. Smart design feature for efficient use of space in smaller dwellings. I was really into Tiny Homes about two decades ago before it became the fashion it is now. So I remember seeing those in many design books.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by HomeStretch » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:14 am

All that matters is the design covered by your sales contract. My advice, for what it’s worth, is not to “play dumb and ask about the window seat vaguely.” Deal with it in a direct, timely, unemotional way. Usually get better results this way.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:16 am

miamivice wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:57 am
8foot7 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:51 am
You will win this if a window seat is in the plans that are attached to your contract.
What if there are no plans attached to the contract?

When we built, we defintely did not sign a contract that had plans attached. Rather, we said we would buy a particular floorplan number. It's hokey, but that is how the builder protects themselves.
Damn. Sorry your contract merely had a floor plan number. Glad mine included annotated floor plans. Working through reading all your great responses and will share what I've learned by reading all 60+ pages of the Sales Contract soon. Going through them sequentially, so I'm sorry if I ask questions that someone has already addressed. Got to keep moving. Punch-out is in a few hours. So as contracts are wont to say, "Time is of the essence!" :-)

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:22 am

Watty wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:01 am
The marketing materials and what is on the web site really don't mean a lot so you should focus on what was in your contract.

Be sure to also know what the cost of your "plan b" is if you walk from this deal.

Even if you get your earnest money back there are a lot of other costs you will not get back like for the home inspection.

Home prices may have also increased a in your area so if you buy a different house just down the road you could end up paying more for it than the cost of the seat.

By all means add it to the punch list and push back on it but when it comes down to actually canceling the deal try to take the emotion out of it and look at it as a business transaction.
Roger that. For all the great reasons you mentioned, we won't be walking away. And will try to remain dispassionate through the process. It's Business, Not Personal.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:28 am

What does the 3-5k credit have to do with anything? Why were you still negotiating price at this point?

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unclescrooge
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by unclescrooge » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:29 am

It's so easy to overlook details when building a house.

We got 17 custom doors made for our house rehab. We had to go through 7 work orders before all the doors were correct. Every time they fixed one door, they made a change to something else.

In the case, bumping out a window seat could require extending the foundation, reframing, and reroofing. Might be easier to add a large picture window with a bench underneath, which is what we did. But if it's in the contract, I would politely ask for it, under threat of breach of contract.

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synthfan23
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:32 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:30 am
And yes, even though you are upset about some of this, do try to be friendly/cooperative, and treat this as a sort of "matter of fact" issue: "the window seat isn't there, and you do expect it to be completed of course".
Treat this one thing as though it was an honest oversight, which it may well have been. But treat it that way nevertheless, unless/until there is evidence to the contrary, including any reluctance to complete it.
You could even say (IF this is true) how nice everything looks, except for this one thing that seems to have been overlooked... the point being that they have a hint that this is "it", rather than one of an ongoing list that will never end.

Keep in mind they are probably upset about the attempts to get a discount at a late stage, especially given how any such "thing" would have been more likely to be "extra or fancier stuff", keeping the sales price constant, etc. They may be a bit wary now, too.

Try to help the process along, so that you - and your happy wife - can close and move in to your lovely new home, and then enjoy it! :happy

RM
Thanks RM. Wow, wondering if I should even mention it now given the circumstances.

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hand
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by hand » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:34 am

synthfan23 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:09 am
Thanks for the advice. And great question! From look at the floor plan, it looks like the Window Seat juts out beyond the bedroom wall. It's not flush with the remaining horizontal lines on that side of the house. So wow, that's structural evidently. Never thought about that. But damn, it's everywhere on all the floor plans--the one on the web site (no changes since 2018), the one in my Sales Contract, etc. I can Play Dumb and ask about the Window Seat vaguely... Perhaps they'll say they can't do *that* but offer me something else. But truly, I'm going to mention how much I love Window Seats--I do. Smart design feature for efficient use of space in smaller dwellings. I was really into Tiny Homes about two decades ago before it became the fashion it is now. So I remember seeing those in many design books.
Don't overthink this or get too fancy considering what else could be offered, or how to sweet talk the defficiency. The builder dosen't care how much you love window seats - especially if you've allready escalated other issues. Simply point out that the window seat you paid for was not delivered. If you want to get fancy, ask how long they expect closing to be delayed.

What the builder does care about is 1) making money, and 2) not breaching a contract in a way that will cost them money or to a much lesser extent reputation. More than likely they'll add back the window seat - building cheaply and fixing issues is likely part of their business model 3) closing timely.

Perhaps more importantly, consider what smaller items might be missing / underdelivered / lower quality than expected if the builder didn't care enough to ensure something as obvious as a window seat was delivered properly. (Air sealing proper? Insulation complete? Any plumbing against outside wall? Light fixtures in proper locations? Can you safely change light bulbs? Are windows properly installed? Do all network connections work?)

My (second hand) experiance with production builders is that the business model appears to be:
1) Do a great job marketing,
2) Build as quickly and cheaply as possible
3) Fix the subset of issues identified by buyers before close, with expectation that selected fixes are cheaper than doing everythig right the first time

A new house from a production builder often requires more due dilligance / tighter inspection than a broken in house.

Posters suggesting closing before all issues are resolved are nuts - your leverage is gone once you close.

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synthfan23
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:42 am

Here are some of the findings from my review of the contract. Based on these clauses, should I not even bother mentioning the Window Seat?

* Disputes & Remedies - builder has right to cancel contract if a pre-Closing dispute arises. If ANY dispute arises and builder determines dispute is unable to be resolved on terms acceptable to builder AND buyer, then builder has unilateral right to to cancel contract and refund all earnest money.

* Seems like there are a lot of opportunities for the Builder to walk away, which they may or may not already be able to invoke going into this. Dunno.

* Repurchase Right after Closing - If we initiate any claim or action following closing and defect / deficiency exceeds 10% of purchase price, builder has right to repurchase home

Given those clauses, what's the best play here?

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by veindoc » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:46 am

I would still ask about the window seat. Only if you say no deal without window seat can they back out.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:47 am

synthfan23 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:32 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:30 am
And yes, even though you are upset about some of this, do try to be friendly/cooperative, and treat this as a sort of "matter of fact" issue: "the window seat isn't there, and you do expect it to be completed of course".
Treat this one thing as though it was an honest oversight, which it may well have been. But treat it that way nevertheless, unless/until there is evidence to the contrary, including any reluctance to complete it.
You could even say (IF this is true) how nice everything looks, except for this one thing that seems to have been overlooked... the point being that they have a hint that this is "it", rather than one of an ongoing list that will never end.

Keep in mind they are probably upset about the attempts to get a discount at a late stage, especially given how any such "thing" would have been more likely to be "extra or fancier stuff", keeping the sales price constant, etc. They may be a bit wary now, too.

Try to help the process along, so that you - and your happy wife - can close and move in to your lovely new home, and then enjoy it! :happy

RM
Thanks RM. Wow, wondering if I should even mention it now given the circumstances.
Sorry if I went overboard about this!

Yes, you SHOULD indeed mention it, and even politely insist upon it if there is indeed reasonable documentation that this should be there. You paid for a house with specific features.
I just was trying to emphasize why you should try to be firm but pleasant/cooperative, at least until/unless there is evidence of bad faith by the builder.

They've dealt with this type of thing before, unless these are the very first few houses they've ever built. "Stuff happens", not matter what the context/situation :annoyed

I was concerned that you had sounded so annoyed/angry at the start of this thread, and that probably wasn't going to be the best way to approach this.

The builder wants to get this finished, get paid, and continue on with other homes in process or yet to be started.
You want them to get this finished too. Common goal. Try to keep "all the features" as part of a calm, matter of fact discussion, one where your approach is basically, "this window seat is included, let's make sure it's there".

So... is it just an interior bench seat, or is there in fact some portion of the exterior wall that needs to be changed. Those are two very different "things remaining to be done".

Again, this stuff happens. Let's hope you end up with a wonderful home!

(We went through this with a customized home, with MANY changes orders from the start. We think the builder got in over his head, but we held his feet to the fire, although the date kept slipping. We also realized that builder realized how much better the new plan was, and was hoping we'd back out so he could sell it to someone else for more. NOT A CHANCE :happy There wasn't bad faith, just a builder over-extended. Turned out to be a fantastic house. One example: This was in an area with frigid winters. They put a sink on an outside wall of a bathroom, instead of an inside wall as shown in the plans. We had them move it. We didn't want burst/frozen pipes in the future! That involved moving pipes - ugh. But that is what the plans showed, and that is what we wanted... and got.)

RM
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Hayden
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by Hayden » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:52 am

I think you are way overthinking this. Ask them about the window seat.

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by hand » Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:57 am

synthfan23 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:32 am


Thanks RM. Wow, wondering if I should even mention it now given the circumstances.
You just finished a discussion with the builder's managemnet where they stressed the importance of keeping to the letter of the contract.
Why wouldn't you expect them to follow the contract with regards to the window seat?

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synthfan23
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:03 pm

Just wrote to those concerned inquiring about the window seat. Short and sweet. Thanks again to everyone here who contributed; especially on such short notice!

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Sandtrap
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:25 pm

synthfan23 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:09 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 8:31 am
Whether on your contract or not, do everything you can to get the house however you want, within reason IE: structural changes. Some changes will be to remedy what is missing, some changes you will pay for.

Builders and developers go through this every day.
They can do it, even reluctantly, but they can and do.

Just persist. And don't wait. The earlier the changes the easier to do.

. . . squeaky wheel gets the oil . . . . .

Regarding the bay window. This is unclear. Is it simply a seat build out on an existing bay window? Or is it a flat wall window now and you want a step out bay window which requires a complete reframe including floor joist extension, etc. The latter would be unreasonable unless it was in the contract and specs specifically for you. To add the later retroactively as a change order at your cost would be . . . . interesting.

j
Thanks for the advice. And great question! From look at the floor plan, it looks like the Window Seat juts out beyond the bedroom wall. It's not flush with the remaining horizontal lines on that side of the house. So wow, that's structural evidently. Never thought about that. But damn, it's everywhere on all the floor plans--the one on the web site (no changes since 2018), the one in my Sales Contract, etc. I can Play Dumb and ask about the Window Seat vaguely... Perhaps they'll say they can't do *that* but offer me something else. But truly, I'm going to mention how much I love Window Seats--I do. Smart design feature for efficient use of space in smaller dwellings. I was really into Tiny Homes about two decades ago before it became the fashion it is now. So I remember seeing those in many design books.
Pop outs for full stand up bays are part of the original frame up. The TGI's have to extend out to that shape, then rim joist, then frame up from there. To retrofit one in would require a 1/3 t 2/3 cantilevered TGI's inserted and scabbed into the existing TGI's. Just a doable for your project.

If it was just a matter of a missing "window seat" not installed inside of that bay, then that's not a big deal.

j
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synthfan23
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:19 pm

Turns out the window seat wasn’t structural at all.
There was already an inset in the wall for it. I misread the floor plan. They apologized for missing it and I thanked them profusely. All was friendly and civil. Great outcome. The Window Seat will be installed by Closing. Thanks again to everyone here! The builder did the Right Thing and I never had to open either my iPad (for the inspection list) or my manilla folder of backup paperwork.

Kudos have just been sent to the Builder praising all the associated staff for doing a stellar job, truly. Looking forward to Closing. Thanks again gang!

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:21 pm

synthfan23 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:19 pm
Turns out the window seat wasn’t structural at all.
There was already an inset in the wall for it. I misread the floor plan. They apologized for missing it and I thanked them profusely. All was friendly and civil. Great outcome. The Window Seat will be installed by Closing. Thanks again to everyone here! The builder did the Right Thing and I never had to open either my iPad (for the inspection list) or my manilla folder of backup paperwork.

Kudos have just been sent to the Builder praising all the associated staff for doing a stellar job, truly. Looking forward to Closing. Thanks again gang!
Glad it worked out for you.
Enjoy your new "home".
j
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synthfan23
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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:20 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 5:21 pm
synthfan23 wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:19 pm
Turns out the window seat wasn’t structural at all.
There was already an inset in the wall for it. I misread the floor plan. They apologized for missing it and I thanked them profusely. All was friendly and civil. Great outcome. The Window Seat will be installed by Closing. Thanks again to everyone here! The builder did the Right Thing and I never had to open either my iPad (for the inspection list) or my manilla folder of backup paperwork.

Kudos have just been sent to the Builder praising all the associated staff for doing a stellar job, truly. Looking forward to Closing. Thanks again gang!
Glad it worked out for you.
Enjoy your new "home".
j
Thanks! The Builder seems to have made things right. Looking forward to it. Small but beautiful home with lots of standard Smart Home features included. I mean, I'm sure we're paying for them. They're just not upgrade line items in a Sales Contract. Also very energy efficient.

Two items I'm excited about:

1) Ring Video Doorbell Pro
2) Kwikset Kevo Convert smart lock

The beginnings of an inexpensive DIY home security system? I'd at least like to add some motion-sensing flood lights, front and back. Just enough of an incentive for a crook to choose an easier target. Hate paying for monitoring.

At some point I'd like to start a DIY / Frugal home security thread. Unless one already exists that I can add to? Interested in seeing what you can do with Ring products. Or if I would invest in some SimpliSafe hardware like I think Clark Howard advises. I know to steer clear of ADT--too many proprietary sensors (e.g. good luck switching providers), terrible contracts, etc. A friend uses Rampart but advises not to pay for their monitoring. Not sure how that works. Anyway, I'm satisfied with my forthcoming home purchase. All parties thus far have been, or have been made to be, Good Actors. :-)

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by Bacchus01 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:53 am

barnaclebob wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 11:28 am
What does the 3-5k credit have to do with anything? Why were you still negotiating price at this point?
This makes no sense and sure makes the OP look petty. If I was the builder I would have told them to pound sand. You have a contract, why are you still nickel and dining the builder?

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Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by ResearchMed » Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:57 am

OP: IF this is resolved now, why not add a few words to the Post Title (e.g., "Problem fixed") so that others don't scroll though all of this, hoping to be able to help.

And do enjoy your home!

RM
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synthfan23
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PROBLEM RESOLVED: Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do?

Post by synthfan23 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:44 am

ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:57 am
OP: IF this is resolved now, why not add a few words to the Post Title (e.g., "Problem fixed") so that others don't scroll though all of this, hoping to be able to help.

And do enjoy your home!

RM
Great idea, thanks! Don't know how to change the Post Title, but added this to the first line of the first post in the thread:

PROBLEM FIXED AS OF 6/26/2019 - DON'T NEED ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE

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Re: PROBLEM RESOLVED: Re: Buying new construction inventory home. Seemingly standard feature appears missing. What to do

Post by synthfan23 » Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:50 am

synthfan23 wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:44 am
ResearchMed wrote:
Thu Jun 27, 2019 6:57 am
OP: IF this is resolved now, why not add a few words to the Post Title (e.g., "Problem fixed") so that others don't scroll though all of this, hoping to be able to help.

And do enjoy your home!

RM
Great idea, thanks! Don't know how to change the Post Title, but added this to the first line of the first post in the thread:

PROBLEM FIXED AS OF 6/26/2019 - DON'T NEED ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE
Figured out how to modify the thread's title. Thanks for the suggestion!

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