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Dealing with a difficult home or house extension builder

Sometimes the home builder who seemed great during the interview process turns out to be difficult. Contractors who don't show up enough, jobs that are way behind schedule, deviations from the original plan and poor workmanship are common difficulties you may face when having a home built.

Communicate clearly and decisively with the builder. Be prepared to make quick decisions about changes. Talk about problems you see as soon as you can, in a calm and reasonable tone.

Keep a positive attitude when communicating with your contractor. Be firm, but not harsh. Don't comment on things that you aren't an expert on. Try not to hover on the job site or nag.

Expect the job to take longer than expected. Even good contractors can be delayed due to unforeseen difficulties. New home construction can take up to a year to complete. Make sure you have a backup plan in place if you need to move out of your old home before the new one is complete.

Schedule a meeting with the builder. Discuss the timetable specified in the contract or write a new schedule on which you can both agree. Specify how much time the contractor must be on site and deadlines for each part of the job.

Stop the job if there is a change in the construction that was not specified in the original contract or plans. It may be difficult to do this when your home is a construction site and you are way behind schedule, but you'll be better off in the long run. Allowing a job to continue implies your approval of the change and makes it more difficult to remedy later.

Contact your contractor, manufacturer or home warranty company if you discover problems. Give them time to respond before contacting lawyers, government agencies or other third parties. Send a typed or clearly written report that includes your name and contact information. Specify what needs to be done and when. Include copies of documents and pictures.

Seek advice from your homeowners association or local building inspector if your contractor will not respond to you. Although they do not have legal jurisdiction, they may be able to act as a mediator.


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