Our Jim Walters Nightmare began in June of 2000 when we decided to have a house built on 5 acres of property we owned.
We had visited the model center in Brandon, FL and decided upon the American model. Our salesman, Mark Watson (yes I name names) promised us that 1. the modifications we requested would be made and 2. the construction debris would be minimal, since the lumber for these homes were pre-cut at the factory. Our modifications were easy, we wanted our studs to be 16" on center for all walls, not just the load bearing walls; and we requested an indoor electrical load center rather than the outside box they typically used.
We first started noticing problems with the foundation footers. They dug deep holes and placed the footers in the holes, but did not refill the holes around the footers. They also did not fill the inside of the cinderblock with concrete as was shown on the blueprints. Of course, when we complained, we got no response other than the receptionist stating she would leave a message for our construction supervisor, Grant Gay.
As time went on, more and more mistakes were made to the framing and flooring of our house. Our framing did not pass the initial inspection, and we would have never known this if we had not checked the inspection reports on a frequent basis. Unfortunately, at the time our house was being built, we lived 200 miles away. Our property is 5 fully wooded acres, and one day we took a walk through our woods and found one of our shower stalls buried under a pile of leaves and brush about 100' from the house.
Lumber and Hardiplank were allowed to sit in the yard for months through the rainy Florida weather, and the lumber they used was totally substandard, water damaged and warped. The TYVEC was only placed around 2 sides of the house instead of all 4. Windows were cut wrong and then patched with sections of 2x4 studding.
Had we not visited the construction site frequently and unexpectedly, I honestly do not know what would have happened! We constantly had to stay on the builders for shoddy workmanship. To this day (April 2003) our Hardiplank is buckling badly, but I cannot say that it is the fault of the Hardiplank, but of the poor way it was installed.
Our front deck was constructed of such poor wood that we demanded that it be rebuilt, which it finally was. Our front and back doors leaked whenever it rained. We were told in confidence by a person affiliated with Jim Walters (who I will keep anonymous) that leaking doors were their trademark. Only after we continually complained, we were given storm doors over the wooden doors. The actual leaks were never fixed however, but the storm doors do provide protection.
The interior of the home was even more of a nightmare. For instance our plumbing had the following things wrong: the kitchen sink leaked on both sides, the water supply in the kitchen was reversed (the hot was hooked up to the cold and the cold to the hot), the outside faucet in front was not hooked up and the rear faucet was hooked up to the hot water supply (we had 120 degree water coming out), the bathrooms both had leaks in the water supply lines. And yes, that shower stall we found in the woods was installed and to this day remains stained with leaf acids.
The electrician was also incompetent and totally mislabled our breaker box (which was installed outside in spite of the inital agreement to move it in- eventually after much complaining again, it was moved). I'm surprised someone didn't get electrocuted, thinking they were shutting off the breaker to the hot water heater and not realizing that it was the breaker to the stove or something.
The drywall installer was equally incompetent, left a 4" x 7' (yes, seven foot) area of wall uncovered, and texture-coated everything on the ceiling (exhaust fans, light fixtures, etc). It took my husband nearly a week of sanding to clean the coating off the walls and fixtures.
Once we started payment, and had obtained insurance, they attempted to foreclose right away, saying our insurance was inadequate. For heavens sake, we had ALLSTATE and were insured for $7,000 more than the value of the property! We were forced to increase our coverage anyway to satisfy Jim Walters/Mid State Homes (Adriana Lezcano was the clerk) and were told by our insurance company that this was illegal for them to do in the state of Florida. We felt we had no choice but to purchase the additional insurance or lose our home. We also ended up having to pay their insurance plus interest in the time our insurance wasn't adequate for their needs.
There is so much more that I could say about this ripoff company, but I am making myself angry by reliving all of this. My only wish is that ANYONE thinking about doing business with this company do their research. I probably would not be writing this today if I had done more research into their company. Please do not fall into this trap! Thank You.
Lake city, Florida
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