The new house is draining the life out of me. Yesterday Jim and I decided that we just don’t give a shit. The builder must think we’re picky (and we are) and we think the builder is substandard.
I haven’t really written every detail about this build so far in case the builder reads the blog. Why does that matter? Because I still need to do business with them and me bad mouthing them certainly won’t help in any sort of negotiations. So what’s changed now? Everything… and I’ll get to that in a moment. I don’t plan to sit here and revisit all the bad things that have happened along the way and post them now. I don’t intend to tell you how Jim and I have had many an argument over this house. I try to be excited about it, I try, but I think I just don’t care anymore.
If we break the contract, we lose $1000 deposit, the time and money invested in additional caulk and insulation. NACA will disqualify us from using their program. We lose $275 for the first inspection. The furniture and fridge we ordered and paid for can be cancelled and refunded. We made sure of that before committing. The remainder is worthy of sacrifice.
We’ve come to realize through a lot of the process that Adams Homes isn’t about quality. The moldings in the dining room have been terrible. Admittedly, we’ve examined the moldings in the model and spec home and found them to be pitiful too. The best we could do is snag the major flaws for repair and accept many other flaws on the paint and fit and finish. We figured that maybe we never noticed them because of the furniture in the home AND because we never sat down at a dining room table right next to the moldings to see the flaws in all their glory. My point is that although it seems like we’re picking this house apart, trust me, there’s a lot we said “fine” about.
So we’ve been going back and forth with the builder about some unresolved issues that I mentioned in the entry on the 28th and then the NACA inspection on the 31st. NACA wants us to close before the 15th; the pressure is on. So the builder wants to schedule another walkthrough… but hello, most of the items haven’t been addressed. The builder tells us all is done including replacement of the front door. I was there Thursday morning (not on the inside) and saw the door looked the same. I come home and say that I had just been there. They write:
I just talked to my manager, who just left the house, and he said that he was assured that the door would be done sometime today and painted tomorrow.
As to the items on the inspection/repair list, those have all been done. He has also looked at the original initial walk list and all of those items have been done as well.
But since you have indicated that there are items that still need to be compete he would like to know if you can meet with him sometime Monday afternoon.
Suspiciously I go back out to the house late afternoon. Nope, still not replaced. We say we’d like to look at the house over the weekend before taking time off work. Our salesperson writes:
Ted spent some time out here the other day going through the house. All items from the initial walk through and NACA repair list are complete. Most of the items from your additional list are complete as well, however they had to order another new door as the replacement came in dinged as well. It will be here, installed & painted on Monday. While the painters are here, they will take care of the spot in the dining room & the spot by the stairs. It is imperative that you schedule your walk through & final NACA inspection by Tuesday afternoon at the absolute latest to allow for closing documents to be prepared for Thursday's settlement. The locks have been changed to the new key and I no longer have access to the house. Ted will be able to address any other concerns you may have at the walk-through, and plans to have the painters nearby in case there are additional touch ups that were overlooked. Feel free to stop by over the weekend, however, my key no longer works for your home and I will not be able to get you in.
Now remember, “everything except a few touchups are done.” We tell them several times that we do not want to take time off work until it’s all complete so now they’ve decided to squash that with the whole “we have no key and locks have been changed story.”
Friday night, I get off of work at 9 and off to the house we go. We checked all electrical boxes and found the key in a/c cut off box. Hmmmmm. It fit the lock. How odd. Here’s my email to all parties, minus the photos (click on any photo to open a new window and bigify) I’ve included for you:
It's so unfortunate someone would tell you incorrect information to pass on to us. After work this evening, we stopped at the house and found the key at the a/c cut off switch. It opened the doors. Have the locks been changed? Let's go over the list again and review what had been addressed:
1- The front door repairs/replacement -- Awaiting replacement.
2- There's a gap in the moldings on the stairs opposite the iron spindles. -- awaiting paint.
5- The dishwasher door hitting the drawer knob issue. -- it still hits. It rubs constantly when opening/closing the dishwasher. Someone counter-sank a hole for the knob to slightly recess in and it appears glued in place. It looks hideous. Replace the drawer. Correct the problem. By the way, this is my biggest issue right now… We may consider them changing out (all) knobs to a nice lower profile to resolve the issue if need be.
6- Drainage/grading/sod: I can tell you now we're not happy with the yard overall. We've been stopping by there often and especially after rains to see what the rain has done. We've addressed our concerns multiple times. The sod on the right side of the drive sits higher than the concrete. It should have been graded down to account for the height of the sod. This makes the water pool up against it. We were told that it will settle in. We will not wait for that. Sorry, but we're not going to wait for this to happen only to be told it's normal or too late down the road. We mentioned in an email that we were concerned about the dryness of the back yard. Our email went unacknowledged. On several visits the soil/dirt was so dry it had cracks in it. Grass is growing in some areas and mostly not others and now there's weeds to boot. The care instructions from Roger say the seed should be watered daily to keep the soil moist. There's many dead spots in the sod as well. The yard is so disappointing. It's ugly. The swale looks better but we're still concerned with the drainage and hope that it's been taken care of. We've not seen it with any rain since it was changed. While I say it looks better, it still looks like a swale through the middle of the front yard. When I asked for it to be wider I should have specified how much wider. I was thinking 6-8 feet wide, gently sloped so that it did not look like a swale but that the yard just had some contour like the driveway. None of the other houses in the neighborhood have a swale. Why should mine? It looks crooked and ugly. Do any of you have or want such a feature in your front yard? Will Adam's homes stand behind this solution to make sure the driveway and yard drains and the front yard does not stay wet for days after it rains? -- we didn't look at this tonight.
7- Stove anti-tip. -- wasn't reinspected.
8- The door of the dishwasher had a dent/ding. -- It's still there.
9- The drywall spot above the upstairs guest bathroom light fixture was marked for repair by Roger but they didn't fix it. -- It's still there.
10- The drywall and banister looks a little "rough" at the top of the stairs. -- It still looks horrible and doesn't appear any different.
11- To the left of the master bedroom door (hallway side), up where the rounded part of the wall meets the ceiling there is a "hole" that needs filled and painted. -- Poorly "repaired".
12- I am concerned about the "haze" on the new wood floors. It's kinda like adhesive residue. -- I did not reinspect for this.
13- The drawer next to the fridge space had two knobs on it. We requested it be fitted with one knob as is the spec home and model center. -- Looks great, thanks!
We will not close until they are all addressed properly.
14- New! The carpet on the way up the stairs doesn't meet up to the wall on the right side.
There are 13 items for resolution. We were told all were done, then when I questioned about the door, the status had changed. That leaves 12 items, 8 of which have been confirmed as not being corrected.
Adams Homes wanted us to take off time from work to reinspect our home and marvel at the repairs that haven't been made. When all items have been corrected, please contact us for a re-inspection on a weekend or evening hours, convenient to us, prior to a final walk through with Ted.
Do they think that if it wasn’t on the initial walk through that it isn't gonna get fixed? I got news for them, see item 14, I’m adding that to the list. This is a purchase of over $150,000. A mortgage is 30 years. Get over it. We’re told standard protocol is to walk through the house once, address those items, reinspect and close. I understand that. I understand the reasoning. Perhaps this wouldn’t even be an issue if the work would have been QC’d prior to us even inspecting and then dare I say repaired correctly after noted.
I was so upset at the time I wrote this post on Saturday morning. I went to work and received a reply from Adams who naturally scolded us for going into the house and mentioned “trespassing” and such. They went on to explain the difference between the builders key, homeowner’s key, and what ever else:
I have picked up the key from the AC outlet box and it indeed is different than my builder key that works for all of my homes. The house has been keyed to the homeowner key, and apparently this one was left for the painter to get in Monday in case the door is delivered while all of us are in our sales meeting…
Per the addendum that NACA required us to furnish, you must close on or before September 15th. If closing does not occur by then, it will be up to both parties to determine if the contract will be extended.
Oh really? Well, they’re having you lie, or you’re willingly lying, whichever but what I didn’t tell them is that the key in our a/c box ALSO worked the spec home up the block. So unless you rekeyed those locks too… bull.
So I call Michelle (salesperson). The conversation is heated. I actually felt more comfortable talking to her on the phone than through emails. You see, attitudes are flying to and fro through words which unfortunately may not have any attitudes at all. Written word lacks a definitive tone. Michelle mentions in a off sorta way that the sales manager is at her wits end and is debating on not extending the contract. Awesome! So I said -- actually that’s something Jim and I have discussed and we’d consider the same. We’ll lose a little, get the $1000 back and be on our way!
If you had asked last night we definitely wanted out but now of course after sleeping on it and having talked to Michelle I feel like maybe they’ll make things right. I don’t think they can get everything done Monday before the walk through though. I also think that some of the items we saw are unacceptable. If they had let us inspect before the walkthrough they could have saved us a lot of hassle. They have time to address the other issues as well. Now they’ll have to wait till we point them out during the next walk through.
I called Jim and we agreed we’d continue with the walkthrough (which still seems dumb and doomed to us) if they’ll extend the contract. If they don’t extend the contract there’s no point. We later figured that either way, we’ll proceed with the walkthrough so that we’ve met our contractual obligations.
It would be to their benefit to make this house right and continue with the sale. The spec home that looks just like ours minus the changes and upgrades has been on the market for 5 months. There was a contract on it 5 months ago but it fell through so it’s probably closer to a year.
On Sunday, Jim and I went furniture shopping again and found an awesome bedroom set.