Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Relocating- First Hand Experience Part 13

Relocating- First Hand Experience Part 13

I'm going to just vent for a minute, because I don't think I've done enough of that.

Look at these pictures:

Do I even have to explain what's wrong here?  I want to scream.  We sent my in-laws over to the house today because we had not heard from our new builder since we met with him over a week ago.  We were afraid nothing was getting changed, and of course, we were right.

However, they did start to stucco and brick the house.  What that did was make two HUGE mistakes scream out at me.  Look at that squared window!  It's supposed to be arched to match the other front window at the study. It's an flow thing.

Also, look at the roof line.  I'm completely missing a roof line above my window!  How could such a mistake happen.  In all my almost 9 years, I've never had a client's house built with the wrong elevation.

My husband was right (did I just say that??).  We should have bought pre-owned. We're just two completely jinxed people and this isn't working out...

Comment balloon 20 commentsDonna Harris • January 04 2009 04:21PM


Donna, this exact same thing happened to us building a home from scratch. Do the construction people not follow blueprints? We had them blow up what they did and rework the whole thing. Don't even get me talking about "interior" things that were not done right and had to "do over." Make them do it right. It is your house.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 12 years ago

As Realtors we tell our relocation clients that we will check the house and take pictures weekly and email the pictures to them. It gives them a sense of someone checking on the house. And yes, we have found many things wrong.

Are you using a buyer's agent in your new location or relying on the onsite agent? Remind yourself that the onsite agent WORKS for the BUILDER, but a buyer's agent works for you!

Have them change the elevation immediately!

Posted by Linda Jandura, Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist (Raleigh Cary Realty) about 12 years ago

The window open was framed a certain way and that should have been an indicator even before they wrapped your house.  You did receive a list of the windows with a checkoff did you not?

If you want the arch and the cost to repair is too much for the builder, then make him remedy it another way.  If you want to have that arch still but money is the factor now, then I'd suggest putting an arch type design above that window to duplicate it - there are plenty of concepts out there to remedy and definitely this doesn't conform. 

Have you asked the builder how he anticipates to remedy the situation? 

Next, it's not easy building a home.  You have one side but the otherside of the coin for builders is and sometimes a different story.  There checklists upon checklists.  Then changes made all the time.  Then we, as builders are asked:  "What do you think?"  The perverbial chain that is sure to linch us down the road.

It had to do with the framing?  your drywall is not in yet on the inside.  Look at the inside framing.  Look at the drawing of your plans and compare.  If he made the mistake - then he has to rectify it to make you content.  BOTTOM.  It's not about .... well, the stucco and brick is up - if you signed off to have that arch in there, then he had better get his butt over there and get it done.  His COST!  His LOSS.

Builders do make mistake but all the change orders and everything - just piles up if that builder is building more then one home especially, if he/she can't chew gum and walk at the same time.

Frustrating, yes.  But I will tell you this:  You know how your home was built.  You know every last beam, piece of wood, pipe, etc - where it is and how the insulation will go in, etc.  The pre-owned home - you don't.  Makes a difference.

BTW, I'd STRONGLY SUGGEST taking interior photos of the framing right now when the plumbing and electrical is in for future reference should they need to go into the walls.  Those videos and photos are a blessing in disguise down the road.

Patience - it's worth it.  Good vent though!




Posted by Barb Van Stensel about 12 years ago


Yes it can be very frustrating building a house. That is why I won't do it again. My first house was built for me and it was not fun. Don't want to do it again. Good luck to you though!!

Posted by Kathy Knight, BROKER, ABR, CRS, GRI, SFR, SRES (Intracoastal Realty Corp) about 12 years ago

My gosh, girl.... I honestly think you should go to the builder, look at his blueprint to see if he is working off a right one. It doesn't sound like it. Really. Either that, or somebody is smoking something they shouldnt on the job.

Now, stay cool because getting mad wont get you anywhere plus the builder is probably sipping wine right now with his beautiful wife, watching the dog chase his tail in the yard as you write this post.

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) about 12 years ago

I fired 3 builders before hiring myself to do the work. $200,000 lesson and two years later, my home got finished.

Posted by Sonny Kwan, 206-819-8228 (Quantum Group Commercial - Residential - Lease Seattle, WA ) about 12 years ago

So sorry, but that is why I will never have a home built.  My patience level will not accomodate all of the junk that goes with it. 

As my grandmother always said.  "Tomorrow things will look better" UGGHHHHHHHH!

Posted by Lesley Wagstaff, For Real Estate and Mortgages (Re/Max Results Realty in Vancouver, BC) about 12 years ago

Donna - Communication...  obviously the guy that framed the window didn't look at the elevation, looks like they are going to have to eat that fix.  I'm going back to read the other relocation entries, I'm interested to see what's happening now that you have a different perspective.

Posted by Debbie Summers (Charles Rutenberg Realty ) about 12 years ago

Iwww, and the window for the wrong configuration is probably sitting in the garage. Did you guys initial an elevation when you purchased? Donna, if I were the two of you, I'd write immediately (pic enclosed) to whomever is responsible for the entire company. I don't know the size of the builder, but someone made an error ordering, and it should be corrected for you. Oh- and the house is GORGEOUS (saw a previous post)- just aggravating. If you'd bought a resale, you'd be risking dirty toenails in the carpet.

Posted by Laurie Mindnich about 12 years ago

Gary, We're definitely having our fair share of interior issues as well as one of my previous blogs talked about the showers head being so low the water hits you in the chest.

Linda, I'm not relying on the onsite guy for anything. I'm relying on the builder guy to give us updates on changes he's made.  We have our own eyes and ears around all the time and they know what to be looking for, plus we're down there every couple of weeks.

Barb, Thanks for such a detailed response. First, it's not actually a window, it's an opening, but it was easier to describe it as a window.  Second, builders don't give window counts so I'm not sure what you mean by that, except for the basic meaning of a list of windows for the house.  No, builders don't provide such a thing.  They don't even allow you to have copies of the prints, no builders do for copyright issues.  Third, the scaffolding has been in the way for weeks for them to work at the top, so it was impossible to see what the front looked like until they got this far with the scaffolding removed.  Our builder was laid off, and we received a new one a couple of weeks ago. We asked for the guy who has built this plan before. The problem is he's never built this elevation before and it's very different to the one that closed last week, very different.  The other house was all squared, everywhere.  I guess he assumed he didn't need to double check his workers' stuff. Fourth, Yes, we have TONS of pictures of the interior electrical and plumbing.  My husband is an engineer and is already planning where he's putting in more stuff.  Read some of my other horror stories.  They also have to completely move the low voltage box because they put it on the wrong wall!  Nightmare!

Kathy, Thank you!  It looks like so much fun when it's other people!

Loreena, Get this, they can find the blueprints that we marked up during our pre-construction meeting. They have disappeared.  They swear the guy who got laid off wouldn't have done anything with them, but they're gone...

Sonny, I don't have that luxury, we're in a track home community.

Lesley, I don't have patience either, and it's showing...

Debbie, The other stories make for some good reading.  We're having issues all over the place!

Laurie, Yes, we initialed an elevation.  It's a very large national builder.  I sent an email with pictures to the sales rep and the builder.  They're trying to say things were miscommunicated when they switched from a shake siding to stucco, not by our choice.  There is no way stucco would change the look of the elevation as drastically as it has.  If we don't get the answers we "want", I'll be contacting higher up.  I don't want to burn bridges since I might work with them selling more houses in the future in other communities.  I've sold several of their homes in the Dallas market over the years.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 12 years ago

Donna, if it isn't corrected a.s.a.p., they're facing the task of ripping out the wrong opening after interior painting/trim (by the time they'll get approval from "above" after having to admit a mistake at the on-site level)- without animosity (in fact, compliment your sales staff/builder in a minor way) get a letter to the corporate office and the VP of sales, as well as VP of construction. You won't burn bridges if you're not throwing the onsite people under the bus- you'll get a faster response and less aggravation. Don't forget to mention how much you look forward to working with them in the future.

As an on-site person for years, going above my head was always aok as long as the buyer understood that I'd done everything possible to correct the problem. In fact, sometimes the phone # was offered. (that it's a national builder is a really good thing for you).

Posted by Laurie Mindnich about 12 years ago

Laurie, So far, no call this morning... but they do have Monday morning corporate meetings, but I really hoped they would have called before that.  We'll see.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 12 years ago

OK, here's an update. I spoke with our builder.  He is on top of everything. He will change out the opening to be arched to match the window on the other side along with the window on the front to the study.  He doesn't want to, but he is going to create a new roof line to "make the house look like the picture."  It's not currently framed to hold the weight of a new roof line, so they're going to completely tear the front down and redo it.

The windows in the kitchen have been remeasured AGAIN and will be reframed this week along with the electrical being moved away from the cooktop.  The back porch went from 4 columns to 2 columns, which we like better, so they're double checking 2 columns are enough to hold the weight of the balcony before adding the other columns back in.  We also reiterated to not make design/costmetic changes like that again without consulting us.

The workers are back on site today from their 2 week long hiatus to Mexico, so hopefully more work will be completed, and quickly. 

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 12 years ago

Donna, glad you have someone there watching it for you, and can visit often. Builders try to pull this shit stuff all the time. If they're doing it to a realtor, can you imagine what they think they can get away with for a buyer working without a realtor from a distance?  The buyer wouldn't know until he came to close on his house and of course by then it would be too late to change it. The buyer would be sitting there with his stuff in a moving van, and the builder would just shrug and tell them that's the way it was supposed to be.

And now builders are wondering why people are not anxious to buy a house from them!

I'll be looking for more posts from you- hopefully Episode 14 will be something good!

Have a great week!.a

Posted by Linda Jandura, Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist (Raleigh Cary Realty) about 12 years ago

Linda, THanks! Yes, I'm glad we're able to be in town often.  Many builders like to say a drawing rendering is just an idea and that it might not look like that.  My clients always get what they contracted for, including me as my own client!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 12 years ago

Apparently you have a great Realtor working for you!!!!

Posted by Linda Jandura, Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist (Raleigh Cary Realty) about 12 years ago
Donna-Wow, What a nightmare!
Posted by Joseph D. Federico, Eastern Massachusetts Real Estate (Donahue Real Estate Co.) about 12 years ago

Linda, Nothing but the best!  You get what you pay for!! LOL

Joseph, Yes, yes thank you.  At least I'll be sleeping better tonight.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 12 years ago

wow, what a cluster.  nice house though, despite the problems.

I suppose if builders would spend more time focusing on building houses and less time trying "dabble" in the mortgage, title and insurance business, maybe the job would get done right the first time.  just my opinion.

I'm curious what the completion date is right now compared to when they originally said they would be done. 


Posted by John Jones (Briggs Freeman Sotheby's International Realty) about 12 years ago

John, Hopefully it will be nice, but it's hard to tell since it's going to look very different than what I had imagined.  No completion date as of right now.  The original date we were given back in August was end of January.  Then it was early February.  Then it was February 23 and very firm... then the new builder took over, many delays, and he won't give us an estimated close date until the sheetrock goes in which might be a couple of more weeks.  Mike and I have bets going.  I think they'll make it happen by mid-March, but Mike thinks it'll be April.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - about 12 years ago