Real estate Q&A: How can I get builder and warranty company to repair new home?

Q: I recently closed on the new home I purchase pre-construction from a builder. The house has problems, and I am getting nowhere with the warranty company. To make things worse, the issues I reported at my walk-through have still not been fixed. What can I do to get them to fix these discrepancies? — Georgette

A: Buying a new from a builder can be a great experience, but there are also some challenges.

Pre-construction contracts are very one-sided for the developer and are challenging to negotiate. The trade-off is that your new home is customized to your tastes.

Building a home is not an easy task, and there can be repairs that need right from the start.

Most contracts also allow the developer to substitute chosen materials for something similar and allow for some variation of the design and floor plan you selected. You will get a new home substantially similar to the plans you signed off on, but it will not be an exact match.

This does not mean that your developer can sell you a lemon. The developer will need to make repairs for issues found on the walk-through and found soon after you move in.

I strongly recommend that everyone buying a brand-new home hire an experienced home inspector to perform a detailed examination before you close.

Carefully review your contract and warranty documents to understand your rights and obligations. Politely but firmly follow up with the developer and warranty provider, both verbally and in writing.

Document the problems, taking lots of pictures, log every conversation and voicemail. Remember that the politely squeaking wheel gets oiled.

In my experience, most repairs will be addressed eventually, but it will take more time than it should.

However, if time passes and they are still not stepping up, you may need to consult with an experienced real estate attorney to enforce your rights.