How to protect yourself when building a new home

Originally published at RTV6 Indianapolis

By: Kara Kenney

Central Indiana seeing “tremendous growth”

INDIANAPOLIS— The new home building market is strong right now, with neighborhoods under construction across Central Indiana. But new home construction has been the subject of hundreds of complaints with the Attorney General's Office.

In Marion County, records show that permits for new family homes were up 23% in 2018 compared to 2017.

“We’re seeing tremendous growth all around Indianapolis,” said Jerrod Klein, VP of Sales and Marketing for Davis Homes and a member of the board of directors at BAGI (Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis). “Consumer confidence is strong and interest rates are still very, very good. This is a very strong time right now in Indianapolis.”

In Central Indiana, Hamilton County has the largest market share of new single-family home permits with 35% , Marion County has 22% and Johnson County has 13%.

Call 6 Investigates obtained consumer complaints filed with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and found hundreds of complaints since 2010 about new home construction. Consumer claims against builders include failure to honor warranty, poor workmanship, unsatisfactory performance, defective product, refusal to cancel a contract, and billing disputes.

To protect against these issues, Klein recommends having a contract with the builder.

"If you have it all in writing, you can always go back to the paperwork,” Klein said. “There should never be oral agreements. It should be in writing to eliminate confusion."

Klein also has the following recommendations:

  • Use a realtor
  • Research builders beforehand. If you choose a builder that’s a BAGI member, the builder has agreed to follow quality standards.
  • Check with your city or county to make sure the home has been issued a certificate of occupancy, which is a document indicating the house or building is safe to live in.
  • Hire an independent inspector and work with the builder to fix any issues before you buy the home.

“If it’s any kind of code circumstance, those should absolutely be addressed before closing,” Klein said.

If the builder does not fix the problems, you can walk away and lose your earnest money.

Call 6 Investigates uncovered some communities do not have a certificate of occupancy.

One Indianapolis couple learned that the hard way while building their new home. Tonight on RTV6 News at 11:00, why the family calls their home building experience a “nightmare” and what they want you to learn from their story.

Date : 5/16/2019