What makes moving one of the most stressful events in your life?
Complaint 4- I paid too much.
Wow, haven’t we all! I had a neighbor who built his house by himself during the recession, saved some good money doing it too. Then a few years later in 2015, he sold it to my new neighbor for what I thought was a ridiculous price. My new neighbor complained one day that they over paid by as much as $40k. They lamented over their folly.
After looking around our market that year, I soon discovered that they had probably paid close to market value. Having just come off a recession, that price seemed too high. When this happens it’s easy to blame the seller for jacking up the price and taking advantage of the next person to buy. And yes, I have known some people who have a more social perspective and sold their house for what they thought it was worth, rather than what they thought the market would allow.
Frankly, they left a lot of money on the table, money that they could have used to pay for their new market priced house. In a free market, the price of a home tends to go up year by year. This is in part due to inflation, in part due to scarcity of new available land. Still, sometimes it seems very unfair, but you’ll notice that nobody ever complains about their home being too cheap, at least, not unless they’re trying to sell it.
Building your own home is not going to save you a ton of money. Not every builder actually turns a profit. First of all, you have the cost of your land, which will still be influenced by market conditions. In a sense, its one of your biggest expenses. Plus, unless you build homes for a living, you might find your time is better spent making more money at what you’re good at to pay someone to do what would otherwise eat into your more productive time.
The real way to save money is to buy your home at the bottom of a down market. Good luck finding that bottom, let alone being confident enough to enter into a home purchase during that time. The only problem is, that if you have your own home to sell, it too will have gone down in value. Thus, with less money to spend on a home, you’ll still feel like you’re paying too much. Thus the only people who can really benefit from this are renters and first time home buyers.
Most people can understand and deal with this. Others are still stuck in the past, and the increased cost of their house may not appear to hold the same value that they’d expect at that price. Mostly this applies to people who have been around for some time, and they may have a hard time adjusting. Some of them are even on fixed budgets. For them, they really need to see a lot of houses for sale before the new pricing starts to work its way into their mental map.
Complaint 3- Warranty is just a selling buzzword, it never seems to get done.
Unfortunately, this is a very common ailment of the construction world. It’s where reputations can be made or broken. This is due to three main causes.
1st– Many contractors hire a sub-contractor to do work for them, but they don’t keep up a long-term relationship with that worker. Once the job is finished, it can be a nightmare for the contractor to get the sub back again.
2nd– Contractors often consist of a breed of “Do-it-your-selfers.” Many didn’t go to college, and many have a hard time running their business the way a business should be run. Still they are often intelligent and hard workers who are good at their trade. Unfortunately, that do-it-yourself mentality often means that their time and resources are stretched so thin that they put off warranty work for a rainy day. Depending on how busy they are, that day might be months, even up to a year or more away.
3rd– The last reason is that the contractor really doesn’t care. Though you might not believe it, this is usually the least common reason for delays in warranty. Most contractors believe that they have a reputation to make and uphold. There are those few though that live under the philosophy that “as long as the house is fine for a year, we’re clear.”
Have you ever heard, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease?” Well it’s true. You might not make many friends by constantly complaining, but sometimes, a contractor can get so fed up by hearing from you that they pull out all the stops and get you fixed up, even if it is just to shut you up.
Keep a paper trail of everything you submit for warranty. If you just casually mention it to the contractor, even if they write it down, they may lose or forget it. You must always keep a copy of whatever dated list or request that you turn in to your contractor.
Concerning the contractors who really aren’t concerned about standing behind their product, avoid them to begin with. They’ll often have a reputation. But it’s sometimes up to you to find out if that is the case. Talking with past customers is often the best way to do this, since the internet is often full of people who only want to voice a complaint. If you’re buying into a new subdivision, don’t be afraid to knock on a few doors. Not only will you meet real people with real experience with that builder, but you might even make a new friend.
Complaint 2- House still has too many minor
There’s a lot of contractors who, despite all their planning efforts, are left with something of a crunch at the end of the building process. Often a buyer will be ready to sign on the new house, only to notice that the house doesn’t feel finished.
Part of this is due to planning, the other part is because a lot of people come in to work on your house, and not all of them are as careful as they should be. Damage does happen. A lot of people know and expect this. What a lot of people don’t expect, is for this to still need fixing after they close on their purchase.
This is probably the easiest of all problems to remedy. First of all, you don’t usually have to close until all those touchups are completed. It may inconvenience you a little, especially if you have to be out of your old house at a certain time. But unless you trust your builder, you can always say, “I’ll wait.”
Since the builder needs the money from the closing, they will be very motivated to get the touchups done very quickly. Sometimes you need only wait a day or two. If you prep the builder inadvance though, and let them know of your expectations and the fact that you might put off closing until they’re ready, they may jump fast enough to get you closed on time with all the touchups performed.
Don’t forget to check your contract though. Most contracts should include a little provision for you to flex your buying power.