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Still confused- Re the brick:
1)Does the color of the final product not match the sample product 100%, but they did install what you said? In which case- you are a tough tough customer.
2)Or did they flat out install the wrong product?

#2 would piss me off big time. #1 just means you are overly picky likely. Either way, the best (sometimes ONLY) time to get something like this fixed is BEFORE you close. They can write all the contract clauses they want, but once they have your money they stop caring so much. Figure out what you want to do NOW- pre-closing. If the brick color is totally messed up, I would 100% delay closing til you are happy with the reply.

Why on earth are you waiting for the final walk through? You need to say either show me that this is the color I ordered or rip it down - or I'm walking. If the paperwork says dark red #23 and they used light red #1, then you have them by the short hairs. Tell them to rip off the shutters and put up the right color.

bopc1996 said:   If the quality of work is good and these are your only real issues, consider yourself very lucky.

That's the thing. It could really be just the brick ... or the brick could be the Brown M&Ms in the bowl. If it turns out to be an actual mistake and not a "forced error" (for example, if side-by-side townhouses can't be the same color) then the rest of the townhouse needs a good going-over as well to see what else was not done/substandard/etc. Especially with Pulte.

This website might give you some idea of the kinds of flaws people are dealing with.

You need to raise the issue right away - this close to the final walk through, the builder is just as anxious to get you closed and the home off their books. They don't want to have you walk away and be stuck trying to sell it after they just installed all the options you asked for - someone else on the market might not want them and they'll end up with a loss selling it.
The shutters should be easy - you point to the spot on the options sheet where you indicated the color, and then point to the shutters that are the wrong color and tell them to fix it.
For the brick, because it is a bigger cost item, and there are natural flucuations with the color - to make an airtight case, you should be able to (without doubt) show them what style/color of brick was installed vs the one you ordered. Example - you need to be proof positive that it is "gray brick shade #4" and you ordered "gray brick shade #7". You can't just eyeball it and say "eh, I think it looks different". You need to be airtight on this one.

Do not let yourself overly focus on that issue alone. You may miss some other things of greater long term importance.

Let me guess...

You bought a $600k house and didn't want to spend $750 to have a lawyer tag along for the most expensive purchase in your life so far?

CptSavAHo said:   Let me guess...

You bought a $600k house and didn't want to spend $750 to have a lawyer tag along for the most expensive purchase in your life so far?

That's typically how these high income fwfers like to do things

FSBox said:   As to those who are in shock of a $600k townhome, this is quite normal for the NoVA/DC/MD area. 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. There are some townhomes in the NoVA/DC/MD that are over $1M.

I'm aware it's "quite normal"...doesn't mean it's not crazy...especially to buy into the hassles of HOA fees/politics + shared walls...

CptSavAHo said:   Let me guess...

You bought a $600k house and didn't want to spend $750 to have a lawyer tag along for the most expensive purchase in your life so far?


How would a lawyer help here? The lawyer is going to do the home inspection?
Most of these deals are standard take-it-or-leave it contracts with the builder. Could they be negotiated? Maybe.
Regardless, the OP has the ball here. He hasn't moved in... Other than the brick, there isn't anything here that can't be resolved.

OP - talk to the builder fast.

jkimcpa said:   craftsmd said:   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.

Agree that sequester is brilliant 'tough love' event...buying townhouse days before in the hardest hit region may prove not to be...

craftsmd said:   jkimcpa said:   craftsmd said:   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.

Agree that sequester is brilliant 'tough love' event...buying townhouse days before in the hardest hit region may prove not to be...


You must be a psychic because how would I have foreseen sequester in March 2013 when we signed our purchase contract in May 2012?

oops. double post

wp746911 said:   Still confused- Re the brick:
1)Does the color of the final product not match the sample product 100%, but they did install what you said? In which case- you are a tough tough customer.
2)Or did they flat out install the wrong product?

#2 would piss me off big time. #1 just means you are overly picky likely. Either way, the best (sometimes ONLY) time to get something like this fixed is BEFORE you close. They can write all the contract clauses they want, but once they have your money they stop caring so much. Figure out what you want to do NOW- pre-closing. If the brick color is totally messed up, I would 100% delay closing til you are happy with the reply.


It's scenario #2. We definitely do not want to go closing until this is resolved hence the thread trying to determine recourse. We do have an agent and are working with her right now. Just want to solicit the collective wisdom and experience of (some) FWers as well.

dcg9381 said:   CptSavAHo said:   Let me guess...

You bought a $600k house and didn't want to spend $750 to have a lawyer tag along for the most expensive purchase in your life so far?


How would a lawyer help here? The lawyer is going to do the home inspection?
Most of these deals are standard take-it-or-leave it contracts with the builder. Could they be negotiated? Maybe.
Regardless, the OP has the ball here. He hasn't moved in... Other than the brick, there isn't anything here that can't be resolved.

OP - talk to the builder fast.

The lawyer obviously couldn't have prevented the wrong bricks from being installed but could negotiate with the seller now far better than op likely could . The atty can make a credible threat this is a material breach and that builder is obligated to pay the costs of brick veneer removal and replacement and buyers attorneys fees. Could easily be a $40-80k claim that the builder might gladly avoid via a $5-10k concession

PsychoFan said:   You must be a psychic because how would I have foreseen sequester in March 2013 when we signed our purchase contract in May 2012?

Not that it matters...but it was created in summer 2011...(although nobody took it seriously until late-2012...)

craftsmd said:   FSBox said:   As to those who are in shock of a $600k townhome, this is quite normal for the NoVA/DC/MD area. 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. There are some townhomes in the NoVA/DC/MD that are over $1M.

I'm aware it's "quite normal"...doesn't mean it's not crazy...especially to buy into the hassles of HOA fees/politics + shared walls...


That's crazy. Thank god prices are more reasonable here. Can get a larger SFH for 1/3 the price.

PsychoFan said:   craftsmd said:   jkimcpa said:   craftsmd said:   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.

Agree that sequester is brilliant 'tough love' event...buying townhouse days before in the hardest hit region may prove not to be...


You must be a psychic because how would I have foreseen sequester in March 2013 when we signed our purchase contract in May 2012?


May 2012 and just now coming to closing? Geez, everything moves slow in that area.

Townhomes next to my office in the DC area rose from around 300 to nearly a million from the early 2000's to around 2010. There are still a LOT of areas where 600k is pretty average. The neighborhoods here vary wildly, and the prices follow suit. Considerations such as schools and commute times to various locations can cause a shift of several hundred thousand between units that are similar and only a few miles apart. If you want to live in a decent place in this area, you have to pay up.

I just can't comprehend paying that much for a townhome. Or for anything that doesn't come with several acres and lots of sq ft.

dbond79 said:   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.


I was going to guess DC area. Housing cost was the number one reason I left--though I do miss the job market a bit. Traffic was a close second.

craftsmd said:   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...


I live and work somewhere in the DC suburbs... definitely within walking distance of some cookie cutter 600+K townhomes. My decision NOT to buy anything in the area was sealed when I heard a coworker state just a few weeks ago, "I can't think of a better time to buy a home! Prices are sure to go up!"

craftsmd said:   jkimcpa said:   craftsmd said:   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.

Agree that sequester is brilliant 'tough love' event...buying townhouse days before in the hardest hit region may prove not to be...


Former DC person here. I am very happy to have escaped, that said betting against DC in the long run is probably a fool's errand. I grew up lived there from 1979 to 2003 and still go back frequently to visit family. I have seen ups and down but it always recovers and moves higher. Unless there is a radical (think extreme tea party fanatic's wild dream) downsizing of the Federal government it is going to keep going up in the long run (albeit likely at a slower pace than the post 2001 orgy of spending). Also I'd say that while DC is likely to be hard hit by the sequestration it is unlikely to be the hardest hit. Cities and town who rely on large military bases for a huge chunk of their economy are likely to feel the hit harder than DC because even if DC is taking a bigger hit, it is more diversified and thus will feel it less.

The gravy train will come to an end sooner rather than later. $600k condos in DC will be section 8 housing in less than a decade.

Guys - two GS-15's in Washington make over $300k per year. The 3,000 sf townhouse is top of the line and has very little maintenance. People who buy them can easily afford them and prefer the townhouse over single family because they have no time or interest in maintaining landscape or exterior. The kids don't need a yard to play in since they are never home anyway, shuttling from school to daycare to camp to lesssons and sports.

In an area where incomes are lower, land is cheaper and parents stay home with their kids, a townhouse may be a starter home in a tract of "affordable housing." In DC, this is luxury living.

dcwilbur said:   Guys - two GS-15's in Washington make over $300k per year. The 3,000 sf townhouse is top of the line and has very little maintenance. People who buy them can easily afford them and prefer the townhouse over single family because they have no time or interest in maintaining landscape or exterior. The kids don't need a yard to play in since they are never home anyway, shuttling from school to daycare to camp to lesssons and sports.

In an area where incomes are lower, land is cheaper and parents stay home with their kids, a townhouse may be a starter home in a tract of "affordable housing." In DC, this is luxury living.


I swear, not sure if it's a DC thing, but most every couple I know are lawyer-lawyer, lawyer-doctor, doctor-researcher, or retired on a full pension with TS-SCI clearance contractor bringing home 300k+ with a stay at home wife.

I recall going to an open house in the Bethesda area before I decided to buy further north in Maryland, and no joke 2 different spouses broke down at the open house when they realized they either couldn't afford to live anywhere near civilization, or that DC ain't Omaha/etc.

Not to mention, the COLA for senior level duty military officer stationed in DC is north of 3k/month tax free. A VA loan with a 3k mortgage that has no PMI buys a lot of house.

I'm not sure why the sequester is being made to be such a big deal; it will barely make a dent in the size of the federal workforce or the supporting contractors, something like -1.7% of just government functions would be affected.

Lots of cheap money is being funneled to DC... the federal government is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it sends which of course cannot go on forever.

Just imagine how many high paid government employees, contractors, and related workers in Washington DC will be laid off when interest rates rise and government is forced to live within its means (not the fake sequestration cuts, but a real balanced budget - 40% less spending). A lot of people are going to be amazed when the music stops and the party is over.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   
The lawyer obviously couldn't have prevented the wrong bricks from being installed but could negotiate with the seller now far better than op likely could . The atty can make a credible threat this is a material breach and that builder is obligated to pay the costs of brick veneer removal and replacement and buyers attorneys fees. Could easily be a $40-80k claim that the builder might gladly avoid via a $5-10k concession


I'm not sure that I lawyer up here out of the gate. And I certainly don't hire lawyers up front so they "might" do work for me. I mean they'd bill you either way, might as well hire the representation when you need it and not pay for it up front.

The OP is in good shape if the materials are clearly different than what was called out in the contract. Assuming that this is a fact, the builder is going to have to work to make the buyer comfortable with the purchase... And yea, bricks can be torn down and replaced. Don't lawyer up here. I think what I'd do is ask for a list of materials used, maybe even round up the mason / brick contractor myself and see if I can "prove" that the materials are in fact different. After that, I'd take it straight to the builder and give him the list of issues. Most of the builders that I know are rarely on site and don't remember the details - so the doors, window stuff, that's all easy and just details that some contractor missed. The brick is clearly a big deal to the OP and the builder is going to be obligated to deliver what was stipulated in the contract - or get the OP to a place where he/she will accept the residence as-is...

NightEagle said:   PsychoFan said:   You must be a psychic because how would I have foreseen sequester in March 2013 when we signed our purchase contract in May 2012?

May 2012 and just now coming to closing? Geez, everything moves slow in that area.

Being a new construction townhouse, I don't think 10 months from contract to closing is necessarily unusual. Typically the builder needs a certain percentage of the building's units under contract before they can start construction, so if you're one of the early signers it can take even longer than this.

I know of a builder that had a single buyer under contract for a townhouse for over a year and they still hadn't even started construction, back in the dark days of 2007/08. They needed at least 2 more units to sell before their financing company would let them begin work but couldn't scrounge up any more buyers. Not sure how it turned out, but I hope for the buyer's sake he got out of the contract somehow. These large builders don't typically allow buyers' contingencies in their sales contracts.

Pulte Homes? MetroWest development? Just taking a stab at it.

As a DC area resident, I like to spend my time looking for jobs outside of the DC area. The sequester is trumped up. Worst case is it is a blip on the timeline where incomes are reduced for the furloughed staff. I doubt the housing market would react much. In my neighborhood, the new listings have been under contract quickly and some of the older ones have finally moved in the past month. Last foreclosure seems to have been purchased, and if it went for asking price, it was hardly a bargain.

OP, any update? Did you do the walk-through? Are they tearing down the facade, giving you a credit, ???

Are people seriously judging the cost of real estate in the DC area based on how they feel about value of land that is NOT in the DC area?

Real estate is not like Internet service, it's not just about the cost.

PsychoFan said:   wp746911 said:   Still confused- Re the brick:
1)Does the color of the final product not match the sample product 100%, but they did install what you said? In which case- you are a tough tough customer.
2)Or did they flat out install the wrong product?

#2 would piss me off big time. #1 just means you are overly picky likely. Either way, the best (sometimes ONLY) time to get something like this fixed is BEFORE you close. They can write all the contract clauses they want, but once they have your money they stop caring so much. Figure out what you want to do NOW- pre-closing. If the brick color is totally messed up, I would 100% delay closing til you are happy with the reply.


It's scenario #2. We definitely do not want to go closing until this is resolved hence the thread trying to determine recourse. We do have an agent and are working with her right now. Just want to solicit the collective wisdom and experience of (some) FWers as well.



Something like this happened to my parents 20 years ago.

The builder compensated by installing a free security system and upgrading the carpeting.


You can probably extract more 'value' in interior upgrades than raw cash.

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 ok, then you decide what shutter and door color is appropriate for this new brick color, and you walk through the house and decide what cash or option you wish you had selected but did not.
--If the shutters are prefinished, you tell the builder to remove what is there and install the new color. If painted, you tell them to repaint new color with 2 coats.
--Sounds like the door is painted anyway, so that is not an issue - just get a color you like with the brick.
--And you ask the builder what they are willing to do to make this right. They may offer cash or to furnish you with an option you wish you had selected. If you can't get the builder to make the first offer on a concession, depending upon how much brick there is, pick an upgrade that costs $1k-$2.5k to install (I don't mean pick a counter top that was $2k more than the one you have if they have already installed your counter and the original will go to waste; I mean ask for a fence or something else that they can add to what you have without removing already installed work). It will cost them much more than $1k-$2.5k to remove and replace the brick, but it will come out of the hide of the person who made the mistake (one way or another). Builder gets off ok for $1k-$2.5k, and hopefully you select something that will not delay your closing.

- If no, as in every time you look at your brick you will hate it and regret buying the house, tell builder to fix it. Only do this if you really hate it, because construction is done in order, and removing and replacing brick on an almost complete home is not the correct order, so you run the risk of waterproofing details and flashing getting messed up, which could cause problems down the road.

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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