It is time for another warning about what you're getting into when you buy a new home. This time it was prompted by another of those ridiculous threats recieved from some coward in the home building industry who obviously doesn't like it that consumer organizations are exposing the number of "cockroaches hiding in the dark." This coward not only didn't have the guts to use his/her real name, but hijacked another person's email address to send their drivel. Below is what you should know before signing a contract with a home builder; it may just save you from a years-long nightmare of repairs and legal expenses:
The National Associaton of Home Builders, (NAHB), and many local builders associations, spend millions every year to lobby for LESS regulation--that is, LESS ACCOUNTABILITY--and pay millions to put builder-friendly politicians in office. I have see this personally at the capitols of two states and it goes on in all states.
Don't be fooled by the building industry's claims that they are lobbying for less bureaucratic red tape so your home will be more affordable. Builders are leaving out material, making mistakes, bypassing inspections and soil reports, etc. The money they save from these shortcuts is money the buyer already did, or will, pay out. It's not going into the house, or saving the buyer anything; it's going into the builder's pocket.
The reason they lobby for less regulation is so they can more easily GET AWAY with this. The average home buyer has NO IDEA how little legal recourse they may have, and how worthless their warranty may be. In most states the laws are so weak that home owners are lucky to break even even if they sue, win, and collect, which is quite a feat to accomplish. Home owners try for months or years to get a builder to honor his work and his warranty. Suing is a last resort, and it will NOT make you rich. Lawyers know these cases often don't pay well and it can be very difficult to find a lawyer to help you. In the instances where lawyers take on class actions, typically only the lawyer makes out well.
Consumer complaints in most BBB's and many gov't agencies, including "consumer protection divisions," are kept confidential. Arbitration hides thousands of complaints from public view. Gag orders silence complaining consumers. The methods to research a builder that were adequate a few years ago are no longer sufficient. For starters, read the Buyers Guide on www.hadd.com Books recommended on the hadd.com site are also helpful. Check this site, the ripoff report's, search engine for home builder complaints. Search on a good search engine like google.com for home builder complaints. Make an informed decision based on what you find, not on what the builder tells you to believe.
The integrity of this industry is down the toilet. It has failed at self-regulation. I feel very sorry for true craftsmen--like my late father was--and other honest business people in construction these days. The current situation is an embarassment to the industry and to the nation.