hertel_house

Builder responsibilities for touch ups

Nate Hertel
2 days ago

I am a homebuilder in SC. I have done large-scale renovations exclusively until a new construction home I finished three months ago. We put it on the market before sheetrock and let the buyers select cabinets, fixtures, tile, colors, and all finishes. They were on the site once a week and then nearly every day at the end. When our final engineering inspections got pushed back (in the teeth of covid shutdowns) and closing was pushed back 10 days, we let the buyers move their possessions into the house as the closing on their other house went through as planned. We delivered the house before the penalty date (even with covid related delays) and had an agreement that buyers accepted the condition of the house with a short punch list of items; it was my understanding that this list was exhaustive and the punch list items were the extent of our obligations unless something broke. This was not their understanding. They claim that the first year warranty covers paint touch ups (warranty language: "the seller will make any repairs that shall become necessary by reason

of faulty construction, labor or materials or non-conformity of construction to the Plans and Specifications"). They had more time in the home before closing than 99.9% of other new home buyers, but are still finding items they would like to be addressed three months in. For instance, there were sheetrock patches that were done after the walls were rolled; the patches were brushed in the final painting and have a slightly different texture, not having the stipple of a roller. There are a few places on the front porch where there is gray floor paint on the white trim paint (less than 1 sq inch). There is a screw head in the ceiling above the shower in the upstairs bathroom where the sheetrock compound did not fully fill the phillips head X. The buyers are telling me these are warranty claims and that other builders would come back for anything in the first year that wasn't caused by the owners. We had vastly different expectations and didn't know it before now.


I'd love to get other people's impressions, I've never bought a new house or sold a new house (before this)... what is normal? This home sold for more than other homes in the neighborhood, but near the same price per SF; it is a corner lot bordering a busier road and a smaller lot, but is a high performance near zero energy home with solar array and a Tesla Powerwall, European windows, minisplit HVAC systems and a lot of features no other house within 5 miles has. I guess I was selling this as a super-engineered, high performance home with the very rare opportunity for the buyer to pick all the finishes, and they were expecting immaculate finish work that isn't feasible with the spec-home crews I hire. Any feedback on ongoing obligations would be greatly appreciated.

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