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So we're supposed to settle on our newly constructed home in just two weeks (doing a final inspection walkthrough two days from today) and realized that the builder did not follow the option terms as stated in the contract. Specifically, the exterior package colors on the house (i.e. brick front, shutters, and door) are not correct. Bricks are darker than what we chose, shutters are black instead of blue (door is supposed to be blue, but they have not painted yet). In any case, even if we were to get the blue shutters and door now, they would clash with the brick color. What reasonable recourse do we have given that we are not going to walk away? This is one of the nation's largest homebuilder if that makes a difference.

Edit: The reason why we did not realize these differences sooner is because when they first installed the brick front, it did look similar. However, this perception changed as soon as they went and power-wash the facade and the 'real' color emerged. Also, shutters were only installed a couple of days ago.

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Something like this happened to my parents 20 years ago.

The builder compensated by installing a free security system and... (more)

Krazen1211 (Mar. 02, 2013 @ 10:55a) |

OP:
The bottom line is can you and your SO live with the wrong color brick?

-if Yes, as in it is not my first choice but o... (more)

gasaver (Mar. 02, 2013 @ 11:06a) |

To conclude the OP, Krazen and gassaver were right on. Compensation for the mistake was in the form of internal upgrades... (more)

PsychoFan (Mar. 04, 2013 @ 8:09a) |

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I'd get them to tear it down and start from scratch.

Options

1. Paint the shutters. Paint the door. Remember not to re-freak out when normal sun fading and rain residue causes the color shades to change again.

2 Make the case to the builder and the building department that the house is uninhabitable in its current state. Report back here with their responses.

Your options:

1. Deal with it. Building has a lot of issues, be glad its this minor.
2. Walk away from the deal
3. Plead the the builder

Is brick - the bricks simply arent going to match the color in a book. Where I come from "brick" is "the color", and any two bricks side-by-side are going to be rather drastically different in color....

PsychoFan said:   What reasonable recourse do we have given that we are not going to walk away?

None if you are unwilling to walk away.

Is this the play pretend brick veneer that gets put on the front of most new construction vinyl sided houses to make them look constructed with brick? If so, I would make them put new veneer on there on there.

I doubt you are going to have much luck on the brick. The color can vary quite a bit, and I'm willing to bet it said something to those lines when you were looking at the pictures.

I would have them repaint the shutters and the door to a color that matches your brick.

chimeer said:   PsychoFan said:   What reasonable recourse do we have given that we are not going to walk away?

None if you are unwilling to walk away.


This sums it up.

You need to decide if the substituted materials are enough to pull out of the deal. How much sqft brick are we talking about?

Have you mentioned it to the site supervisor/manager? There has to be some mid level construction guy there you can talk to before the walk through. Be prepared for excuses ("our supplier ran out," "we 'upgraded' you to a superior package," etc. ). Be polite, reasonable, and flexible. If it looks bad, there should be little resistance. If their substitution looks good or involves significant cost to redo, expect a big fight.

PsychoFan said:   What reasonable recourse do we have given that we are not going to walk away? Pansies don't get anything in negotiation. You have to tell them up front you are within your contract rights to walk away be prepared to do so.

On a much smaller scale, I take advantage of situations presented by people with similar mindsets as you quite regularly. People to look at items I post on craigslist, they ask for a lower price, I say no, they say OK and buy it anyway. If I knew they were going to walk away, I might consider some concessions. When its only a few bucks on the table, I do it. When its a few thousand on the table, don't you think a corporation would do it?

Are you sure there are two shades of brick Available and they installed the wrong one ? Or did they install the shade you wanted but the lot/supplier is a bit different from the sample ?

If you paid an extra upgrade cost for the Brick I'd demand a credit if it truly is wrong. However if they sense you'll close anyway , they'll offer nothing. This is when it helps to have your RE atty or realtor go to. Bat for you. If your realtor thinks you'll walk from this deal and they'll lose their commission they'll work on splitting the costs to close the deal

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Are you sure there are two shades of brick Available and they installed the wrong one ? Or did they install the shade you wanted but the lot/supplier is a bit different from the sample ?

If you paid an extra upgrade cost for the Brick I'd demand a credit if it truly is wrong. However if they sense you'll close anyway , they'll offer nothing. This is when it helps to have your RE atty or realtor go to. Bat for you. If your realtor thinks you'll walk from this deal and they'll lose their commission they'll work on splitting the costs to close the deal


Yes, there were more than two shades of brick available. In fact, there are four to five different shades. These are 2500-2900 sq ft townhouses, so the difference is definitely there from one home to the next. We chose the color package that was on the model home. Also, I know painting over the shutters is doable (probably would sucks trying to paint over black), but if I'm paying $600K for a brand new construction, am I really expected to repaint over their mistake from not referring to the terms of the contract (would you?)?

Will talk to construction manager in person during the final walkthrough on Tuesday.

PsychoFan said:   but if I'm paying $600K for a brand new construction, am I really expected to repaint over their mistake from not referring to the terms of the contract (would you?)?

Will talk to construction manager in person during the final walkthrough on Tuesday.

That's the part preventing me from saying to just get over it. If you are given the option, they're charging you for the option, and need to ensure you get the right options. You may find its the natural variation in the bricks. But with the painting wrong as well....

Are you sure you are looking at the right house? Not trying to be an ass, but given that they apparently got everything wrong....

I agree with Czechmeout and SIS's lines of thinking. When I purchased from a large homebuilder a few years ago they only had about 4 very distinct options for brick, and our choices for such things were well documented so that we and the builder could refer back to them. If your builder operates similarly, it should be very obvious if they installed the wrong brick. In which case, I would definitely get a concession from them if I were you. Also, if you're buying in an HOA or deed restricted community that specifies such things, make sure the brick they installed is on the approved list, or else I would insist that THEY obtain an ironclad, written waiver from the HOA prior to closing, and I would increase the concession I asked for substantially to account for my future risk in owning a non-compliant home.

On the other hand, my builder also had me sign an agreement stating that I understood building products have "naturally occurring variations", or some similar phrase, and basically establishing that the builder was not responsible if I just didn't like the brick, siding, counters, etc. that I picked, once installed. I imagine you may have signed something similar so if this is actually your situation, I doubt you'll get anywhere.

OP, if you approach this real polite, telling them how you don't think anything could be done about the brick and you're sure repainting the shutters would be a major PITA, you'll end up with far less than you deserve out of this. Besides they can use primer, or more likely, they're building how many other units here and in other developments? Someone else will order black shutters. They can give you new blue ones and sit on the black ones for a few days or weeks. Not your problem, either way. Remember that builders like this operate on volume.

They want to take the path of least resistance here and move forward. Make that path preferable to you. Stand your ground and insist on what's listed in the sales agreement. I imagine they'll bring up some type of monetary compensation for the brick mixup before you have to.

I recently settled on a new home and while there was no major error like yours, the builder was willing to do anything possible to make me happy. So they are continuing to fix all the problems I identified. My advice is to let them know ASAP about the error and that it bothers you or you're not happy with it. Any reputable builder will work with you to get the problem corrected.

dbond79 said:   
They want to take the path of least resistance here and move forward. Make that path preferable to you. Stand your ground and insist on what's listed in the sales agreement. I imagine they'll bring up some type of monetary compensation for the brick mixup before you have to.

I suspect he'll just have to point out the discrepancies, and a subcontractor will be eating the costs of fixing it.

Glitch99 said:   dbond79 said:   
They want to take the path of least resistance here and move forward. Make that path preferable to you. Stand your ground and insist on what's listed in the sales agreement. I imagine they'll bring up some type of monetary compensation for the brick mixup before you have to.

I suspect he'll just have to point out the discrepancies, and a subcontractor will be eating the costs of fixing it.

Only if the sub was told to install brick X and they screwed up by installing Y. It's probably equally as likely that the screw-up was on the general contractor's side.

Plus, regardless of whose fault this was, if ripping out and replacing the brick was the only thing that would make OP happy I'm sure they would do it, but I'm also confident that they would rather appease him with a credit rather than deal with the hassle.

Given this is FWF, I'm both surprised and relieved whenever the crowd answers with something other than "burn it for the insurance money" as the optimal solution to every real estate issue.

BEEFjerKAY said:   Given this is FWF, I'm both surprised and relieved whenever the crowd answers with something other than "burn it for the insurance money" as the optimal solution to every real estate issue.Now that's just unfair.

If OP would have asked what the homebuilder should do in this situation I absolutely would have suggested that.

PsychoFan said:   These are 2500-2900 sq ft townhouses...but if I'm paying $600K for a brand new construction...

You're paying $600K for a TOWNHOUSE...and think the shade of cheap brick veneer and shutter/door color are the biggest problem with your real estate transaction?!?

...guess the real estate bubble is back in full force...

craftsmd said:   PsychoFan said:   These are 2500-2900 sq ft townhouses...but if I'm paying $600K for a brand new construction...

You're paying $600K for a TOWNHOUSE...and think the shade of cheap brick veneer and shutter/door color are the biggest problem with your real estate transaction?!?

...guess the real estate bubble is back in full force...


I guess the area is nice..

Of course you want to get what you paid for, but I would try and do it without burning bridges that may affect them dragging their feet on making any repairs down the road, that may come up under the 1-yr builders warranty.

alamo11 said:   I guess the area is nice..
(...link to random, cookie-cutter D.C. townhome community removed...)


Will be interesting to see whether closing in DC market on the eve of the sequester proves to be a good or bad decision...

You do exactly what the rest of us who have bought Pulte, Complain, Complain and Complain. And you know what Pulte will do? NOTHING!!!!!! Go check out their Facebook page, I have yet to see a single positive review on there. Pulte may be one of the largest builders, but they are by far the worst builder.

craftsmd said:   alamo11 said:   I guess the area is nice..

Will be interesting to see whether closing in DC market on the eve of the sequester proves to be a good or bad decision...
Good gawd...sequester is definitely a great idea.

PsychoFan said:   

Yes, there were more than two shades of brick available. In fact, there are four to five different shades. These are 2500-2900 sq ft townhouses, so the difference is definitely there from one home to the next. We chose the color package that was on the model home. Also, I know painting over the shutters is doable (probably would sucks trying to paint over black), but if I'm paying $600K for a brand new construction, am I really expected to repaint over their mistake from not referring to the terms of the contract (would you?)?

Will talk to construction manager in person during the final walkthrough on Tuesday.


Now that we see a picture... Who cares what color is what - Those homes all look the same!

I hope you don't really care and are just using this to get a concession out of the builder. Good luck!

it sounds like power washing the bricks causes them to change color?
i know wet bricks are a darker color than dry bricks, have you factored this into the equation?
if the bricks truly did change color as a result of a good power washing, then it sounds like the solution lies in powerwashing the bricks a sufficent number of times to cause them to change color back to the desired color. rinse and repeat as necessary.

Case1096 said:   You do exactly what the rest of us who have bought Pulte, Complain, Complain and Complain. And you know what Pulte will do? NOTHING!!!!!! Go check out their Facebook page, I have yet to see a single positive review on there. Pulte may be one of the largest builders, but they are by far the worst builder.


Oh.. There's worse.. And more expensive too..

Shutters are almost inconsequentially cheap here. They will tear the old ones off and install new ones if you raise a stink. We're talking a minute fraction of a percent of the cost of the deal. Painting on the door is also a non-issue. We're talking $5 in materials and $20 in labor for the builder. The real issue is the brick. How different are we talking here? Is it red .vs yellow, or just a difference in shade? They should credit you the difference in any upcharge if paid for a specific color. You kind of have them over a barrel to some degree, but only if you are willing to walk - or at least pretend like you are well enough to call any bluff on their part. If it costs them $10k to tear it off and redo it, they'll be happy to give you 5k back and save the trouble. The closer you get to their actual cost to redo it the more they will groan, but still they will probably give in. Than again, they are also perfect happy to give you ZERO, and that's exactly what you will get if you don't act like you are going to play hardball.

Exact same thing happened to me when building a SFH. The builder got the brick and mortar color wrong. We didn't realize the error until after the construction clean up of the front of the house. I thought it was OK, but the wife didn't like it.

The builder hemmed and hawed when we raised the issue, and he did not want to have it redone. He offered us $1,000 cash to buy stuff for the front of the house to "make it look real nice". This was in the mid 90's and the total price of the house was about $135K. I took the cash and never looked back.

Of course, the wife never let me forget she didn't like the front of the house, wasn't what she picked, etc... Luckily, we moved out of town in two years (surprise job offer) so I only heard about it for a short amount of time.

Paint and shutters are cheap. If you think the wife will drop it eventually, just try to get some cash from the builder and move on.

cherry3m said:   Exact same thing happened to me when building a SFH. The builder got the brick and mortar color wrong. We didn't realize the error until after the construction clean up of the front of the house. I thought it was OK, but the wife didn't like it.

The builder hemmed and hawed when we raised the issue, and he did not want to have it redone. He offered us $1,000 cash to buy stuff for the front of the house to "make it look real nice". This was in the mid 90's and the total price of the house was about $135K. I took the cash and never looked back.

Of course, the wife never let me forget she didn't like the front of the house, wasn't what she picked, etc... Luckily, we moved out of town in two years (surprise job offer) so I only heard about it for a short amount of time.

Paint and shutters are cheap. If you think the wife will drop it eventually, just try to get some cash from the builder and move on.


The take away from this post is don't marry someone who likes to bitch and moan for 2 years over a color.

$600k for a townhouse...

My sides!

How much land are you getting? 2000sqft?

OP, you might be surprised by the answer they give you. My guess is that one of the townhomes next to you had already chosen the color you chose and they had to give you a different color, based on the HOA rules they wrote. I know that in our community, DR Horton had it written into the HOA that no two homes adjacent to each other could have the same exterior color or be the same model. That would make sense with the bricks as well, as they do not want the same color bricks next to each other.

If that is the case, I would fight for a price change to eliminate the brick choosing price.

I assume you used a realtor to purchase this model? Have them handle the battle re brick and shutters. I'm also assuming you have in writing the choices you made?

I am surprised that they let you pick the color. In my experience, townhomes have pre-determined elevations and colors so as not to have two buyers opting for the same thing side by side.

As to those who are in shock of a $600k townhome, this is quite normal for the NoVA/DC/MD area. The home here is in a part of Montgomery County Maryland, in a census tract where the media household income is $140k - meaning half of the people here make *MORE* than this amount. This townhome is also quite large, between 2,457-2,885 Sq. Ft. This is larger than many SFHs in the rest of the country. Land is expensive in this area, so a larger townhome can cost quite a bit of money. There are some townhomes in the NoVA/DC/MD that are over $1M.

wateristasty said:   $600k for a townhouse...

My sides!

How much land are you getting? 2000sqft?


It's the DC area. Doesn't everything cost that much?

If the quality of work is good and these are your only real issues, consider yourself very lucky.

Al3xK said:   wateristasty said:   $600k for a townhouse...

My sides!

How much land are you getting? 2000sqft?


It's the DC area. Doesn't everything cost that much?

Not everything. Just the places that most of us would want to live.

Skipping 33 Messages...
To conclude the OP, Krazen and gassaver were right on. Compensation for the mistake was in the form of internal upgrades, which is fine since it does not delay closing for either party.



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