New construction - misrepresentation by agent. Long story.
I need some advice and suggestions. I'll try to make this brief - but it is a long story...
At the end of Jan I purchased (put down my 30%) a home from a builder and am running into problems such that what should be a fun experience, is turning into anything but fun. This is in a development with 4 models from which to choose, not a custom build. Let me add I am buying out-of-state so some things I had to do before I even saw the lot and model home in person, but a relative lives there and was my eyes on that end. And, I requested a delayed build so construction is due to start on 7/1/12.
* The lot is really an oddly-shaped and poorly engineered lot with a lot of square footage that I am having to give back to the HOA because it is completely useless. I thought this was the case early on but the agent assured me it was not, and I have pics she sent showing where she thought the lot lines were. She was incorrect. (My relative didn't read things right either, but the agent should have been able to.) I have lost 500+ feet at the back of the lot, and one of the pluses of the lot for me was the size.
* The lot is nearly too narrow on which to build the model of home I purchased. Yet, this is the only model they will allow to be built on this lot. All the shifting of the way the home sits on the lot to capture the best views, that I was told could be done, can't because there is exactly one way to fit the home on the lot.
* Even with the home fitting on the lot that one way, there is less than 5' clearance on a cul-de-sac side of the lot. The builder doesn't want to build a retaining wall to at least give me as much of my side lot as possible. It will be expensive for them. Too bad, I say. But when I say something like that, although more appropriately, I'm told I'm being "contentious" - probably true at this point although maybe just assertive. Besides which, the lots are supposed to have at least 5' clearance on both sides.
* The sales agent, from whom I bought the home, misrepresented lots of things. She told me "anything could be done" in the way of customizations and that "there were allowances" for things. Wrong and wrong. The builder is actually charging MORE THAN RETAIL for things such as faucet upgrades. So, at this point I'm having all standard faucets, door hardware, and lights put in and will strip them all, donate them to Habitat for Humanity, and put in the ones I want when I get there. I'd rather donate to Habitat for Humanity than to the builder. (I'm not buying my Washer and Dryer from them but they are charging $1000 over retail on both the washer and the dryer. I hope no one is gullible enough to buy them. I have pointed this one out to the builder as in... really??) Oh, and the agent abruptly quit so everything she said that I can prove I have had to, and if I can't they are charging me new options prices (of course much higher) than the original.
* They are charging me a $3200 upgrade for granite for which the slabs themselves would only cost $3600. So the "allowance" I'm getting by not using the standard granite is $400. Really? 2 slabs of the standard granite choices only cost $400? Fabrication should be a relative constant.
The list of issues goes on and on. For example, I was quoted a price per foot by the original agent (and I have an email of this, from before I actually signed to buy the home because it mattered) that to extend the block wall (which is used as the fencing) would cost $10/linear foot. Well, apparently it should have been $10 *per course* per linear foot, and it will be about 6 courses high. So... that's a huge difference when I'll be adding 100+ feet of fencing.
My random thoughts - the lot is still the best in the development. They already offered to let me purchase another lot, but this one only has a neighbor on one side so I don't want another lot where I will be squished between two other houses. I was the first (or second) one to purchase a lot and still have a nice lot despite the issues if they will put in the retaining wall and at least give me 5' clearance all the way along the one side of the home. I do think I want to move to the area - although this has greatly soured me on doing so. It's been fun picking out all the tiles, cabinets, etc. and I will be very disappointed if all that time and effort has been for nothing.
Apparently with a delayed build, written into the original contract should be a statement that prices on all options will be as of the date of the beginning of construction, not the contract date. So they can raise them as much as they'd like and I'm stuck? Luckily my inept agent forgot to put that in the contract so I've held them to some of the original prices.
I don't mean for this to be a rant (well, maybe a little :)- I just wonder what I should do. If I get assertive, they think I'm being contentious and argumentative. (I'm a female by the way. I think if I were a male this would be seen quite differently. Not trying to be sexist, but it is what it is sometimes.) I've been told I've already been "difficult" enough that I should hire an independent inspector to keep an eye on the building process should they try to cut corners because of my holding them to the original cost on a few small items. We haven't solved the $10/linear foot issue yet.
*I am not an attorney but, based on some research I have done, believe I could legally get out of the contract because "material mis-representations were made by an agent of the company that were pivotal in my decision to purchase the home." I'm seriously thinking of asking to be let out of the contract with my down payment reimbursed plus interest. If they give me a problem then hiring an attorney with them having to then reimburse attorney's fees and court costs.
*Build the house with all standard stuff and just sell it. I could probably get slightly more than I paid for it with the exception of the commission. The home is right across the street from the models, so this might look bad to potential buyers. That is so not my problem.
*Build the house with all the standard stuff and then strip it all (floors, countertops, etc) and put in the things I have picked out. Again, a remodel going on across the street from the models may not look so good for the builder.
Thanks for your time reading this. Seriously, this is an abbreviated version of the difficulties. I'd appreciate any thoughts/ideas/suggestions/different ways to see things.