Summary of problems: 1) warranty issues not fixed and builder waited until deadlines had passed for us to file complaints before telling us nothing would be done; 2) landscaping not done properly and builder refuses to acknowledge a problem; 3) items promised by the salesperson were not included and we later had to pay extra for them; 4) misleading promotional information seemed to indicate our properties would be part of the Holmes Approved Homes program; 5) promise of “highest quality materials” not fulfilled.
1) Several issues were noted on our 1-year warranty inspection. As soon as the warranty period expired, the builder informed us all issues were either resolved or the builder declared them to not be issues and said they would do nothing further. Later, we discovered several of the issues had not been fixed. We filed a BBB complaint & some issues were then fixed. Recently, my tenant informed me at least one of the issues on the warranty report had still not been fixed. The builder’s representative was there when the tenant told me this and the rep said nothing about having the item fixed.
2) We had added a landscaping allowance to the purchase of the property. After possession, the builder informed us we had no choice but to use their “preferred” landscaping contractor rather than choosing our own. There are several issues with the landscaping, especially the “install” of the patio. The landscaper ignored our requests to have the issues fixed. The builder claimed it wasn’t their problem because the contract was between us and the landscaper. The builder and landscaper later visited the properties and declared there were no issues and that the landscapers had fulfilled their contract. We included these issues in our BBB complaint and after a VERY long debate, the builder finally agreed to return our $7500 in landscaping holdbacks, but only if we sign a blanket release. Since that release could potentially be interpreted to limit our ability to address all issues with the property rather than only gagging and limiting us regarding the landscaping issue, we could not sign the release. Without our funds in our possession, we had no leverage to convince the contractor to fix the issues.
In October, we went to mediation with the landscaping contractor, costing me $3000 in legal fees. Landscaper agreed to direct the landscaping holdback funds to us. But Dolce Vita still demands we sign a release form. Plus now we are out $3000 in legal fees because Dolce Vita is being so difficult.
4) Saleperson said items were included as standard in our package and later denied this. We had to spend thousands of dollars on “upgrades” for items we were led to believe were included in the package. We hadn’t noted the items on any of our pre-sale documents or notes because we were told they were standard. Company owner said “houses can’t be built on conversations.”
5) Promotional material for properties mentioned the “Holmes Approved Homes” program and seemed to indicate our 3 properties were part of the program. We later discovered they were not. Part of the reason we chose this builder is because of the added assurance of quality and high standards associated with the Holmes Approved Homes program.
Literature on the properties promised they use the “highest quality materials” but: a) our interior doors easily crack at the latch, b) the carpet underlay is average (so our carpets looked ten years old after only a year), and c) the builder installed discontinued appliances (most of which had to be repaired within the first 18 months, and repairs are expensive because the appliances are discontinued).