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rated:
I'm considering the purchase of a newly constructed (but completed) spec home.  The builder is a smaller player but has communities in multiple states, and we placed an offer which was "provisionally" accepted.  

The problem?  The sales team is requiring us to sign the same contract that customers sign when they initiate the homebuilding process from scratch.

This includes:
Binding arbitration (with poor terms)
Ceding mineral and gas rights to the company
A "change in policies anytime" clause (such that the contract can be modified at anytime in the future, including changes to the home warranty)

According to the sales team these terms are non-negotiable and are set by the corporate office.  Walking away is an option, although we really like the house. 

Has anyone else had this experience?  Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.  
 

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rated:
Personally, I would never sign such a builder's contract. 
There are certain to be problems with any new house (as the builder well knows).  Hence, the arbitration clause.  So builder can avoid paying for the problems.

There are lots of houses in the world.
 

rated:
+1.
I hope you have a RE lawyer review the contract (this one and anything else that you ultimately end up signing/buying). You RE agent cannot offer legal advice.

rated:
To help OP, I'll just provide here one proverb that is widely acclaimed:
don't mix emotions into a buying transaction

rated:
walk

/thread

rated:
Binding arbitration (with poor terms) - Likely non-negotiable, but rarely an actual problem. This sounds scary, but it's not a deal breaker for me.
Ceding mineral and gas rights to the company - This is set in stone. Unless you're looking at a multi-acre homesite (which seems unlikely for a completed spec home), there's no way around this. Plus, the royalties for a normal lot would be minimal, so it's not a big deal.
A "change in policies anytime" clause (such that the contract can be modified at anytime in the future, including changes to the home warranty) - This is completely unenforceable, but have a lawyer tell you that. It wouldn't prevent me from signing, but I would be prepared to have a lawyer send a letter if they try to enact this provision at any time.

rated:
supersnoop00 said:   Ceding mineral and gas rights to the company - This is set in stone. Unless you're looking at a multi-acre homesite (which seems unlikely for a completed spec home), there's no way around this. Plus, the royalties for a normal lot would be minimal, so it's not a big deal.
Still worth caution: I had a mineral rights contract offered as part of a (speculative) multi-property consolidation for fracking a while back.  One of the terms was that the other party could arbitrarily decide that MY homesite might be the proud host of a wellhead for the consolidated properties, and/or pumping apparatus, storage tanks, pipelines, access roads, etc.  With no further remuneration in that case (other than cleanup).  Sucking the gas out a mile down is one thing, but... !

rated:
What is the difference between signing these contract terms before the house is built vs. after the house is built? Obviously, if the house has not been built, the prospective buyer can see the progress and do inspections. Also obviously, you've lost the chance to customize your home because it's already built. But assuming that the warranty for these homes are the same, why would you agree to these contract terms before the house is built but balk because the house is already built? I understand if the terms itself are bad and you don't agree to them either way but I don't know why one would hesitate to sign if built vs. not built.

rated:
I echo the earlier poster that yeah the terms suck, but it won't likely be an issue - and the onerous parts aren't enforceable. I've bought several spec homes with contracts similar to these and I never had issues w/ warranty work not being honored, etc. Now, if you ask for something on day 366...that's a different story. Just understand the terms, get help if you don't understand it.

rated:
After hearing about a friends battle with a large CO builder over hidden defects post-closing, I'd run screaming from mandatory arbitration.

http://kdvr.com/2016/11/29/consumer-complaints-flood-colorados-l...

rated:
anthonyu said:   What is the difference between signing these contract terms before the house is built vs. after the house is built? Obviously, if the house has not been built, the prospective buyer can see the progress and do inspections. Also obviously, you've lost the chance to customize your home because it's already built. But assuming that the warranty for these homes are the same, why would you agree to these contract terms before the house is built but balk because the house is already built? I understand if the terms itself are bad and you don't agree to them either way but I don't know why one would hesitate to sign if built vs. not built.
  
No difference, really, although for existing home sales it was my impression that it is rare to have such onerous terms.  

At this rate it seems like eventually we'll have to click "agree" to binding arbitration before entering a store, eating at a restaurant, or using a public bathroom...

rated:
TravelerMSY said:   After hearing about a friends battle with a large CO builder over hidden defects post-closing, I'd run screaming from mandatory arbitration.

http://kdvr.com/2016/11/29/consumer-complaints-flood-colorados-l...

  Ehh.. Many people in FL have had to rebuild large parts of their bubble-year homes. The builders who are still in business stepped up and paid for it. For myself and others whose builders went under, we had to foot the bill. 

rated:
run like the wind

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