Let the buyer beware…


While the Olympic Pillage Village was under construction there were TV news clips aired nightly of short cuts being taken to complete the project in time for the athletes.

Should it be any surprise that CTV News reported on March 17th, Nicholas Gao and Yoko Chen, who took possession of their $600,000 suite in June, say they simply didn’t get the quality they were promised when they bought during pre-sales in 2008?

Since we moved in, we have lots of problems, especially for heating and our floor is not even. It makes a squeaking sound, Gao said.

If they delivered what they promised, we’d be happy to live here. But we didn’t get what we paid for.

According to a March 18th report in the Province, “The basic beef is that they didn’t get what they were promised,” said lawyer Bryan Baynham, and added his clients have complained about doors that won’t close properly, uneven floors, ventilation problems, smaller-than expected rooms and dysfunctional appliances.

These results are typical of what new home buyers are forced to accept.  Forced because the 2-5-10 warranty insurance program only covers claims for building code violations, and it is highly unlikely that the term quality was anywhere in the purchase contract, or for that matter anywhere in the building code.

The glossy marketing brochure might have referred to quality, but rarely defines what quality means: “We build to the minimum standard of the building code (if you’re lucky)”.  Can you imagine?

Doors not closing properly, uneven floors and dysfunctional appliances, are not building code violations, and so the warranty insurance companies will say there is nothing for them to do, as they wash their grubby hands.

It is really frustrating to continually read about the buyer’s remorse of people who buy pre-sale real estate, and this has probably been going on unaddressed since at least the seventies.

So what exactly should the new home buyer expect when the residential construction industry still uses a business model that is half a century old, and minimum standards from the same era? That is how old some of these building codes and minimum standards are and yet the industry still has so much difficulty meeting them.

It must be very profitable business model or it would have changed long ago.

I don’t understand how builders can afford to have kitchen cabinets made in a controlled environment to exacting standards, installed on site on warped walls, framed out-of-plumb. What should take little time at all to install can take much, much longer due to the poor level of workmanship.

New home buyers unsuspectingly entering a developer’s sales office without proper representation is a dream. Gotcha!

With red dots rapidly being placed on a unit plan, a fabricated frenzy ensues where people throw all care to the wind and rather than take the time to read the thick disclosure statement (where they will find all the weasel words) they sign a release that says they were given adequate time to properly read it.

I’m not talking here about the speculator either. What I’m talking about is the thousands of disappointed new home buyers in BC every year.

If you’d like to find out more about buying a new home and what to look out for (things you’re not going to hear at a Greater Vancouver Home Builder Association seminar for home buyers), give me a call: 778-878-0778, or “Let the Buyer Beware”!

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