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When Your Home Builder Makes a Mistake

When we started the process of building a house several months ago, I never thought I would be writing this post. But here it is.

We selected a home builder based upon location, quality of the product, the design, floor plan, price, and overall confidence in the ability to have our needs taken care of when building our first home.

I have owned two homes before, but never built one from the ground up so this is definitely a new experience for me and for our entire family.

In case you are unaware, you have so many options when building a home. It is enough to give you a headache and make your head spin. We were very happy in our selection, and visiting the Design Center was not as traumatic as I had thought it would be. The choices were made in every color option for our house and the construction site has been changing rapidly.

It came to a screeching halt a week ago when I discovered a major mistake made by the home builder.

The cabinets in the kitchen, bathrooms, and built-ins were in. They just were not the cabinets we ordered.

Lighting could affect the coloring but I was certain my eyes were not deceiving me so I pulled out my cell phone to view the pictures I took at the Design Center. Surely the lighting could not be this different. It definitely was not the lighting that had changed. We looked through all the cabinets and drawers looking for a model or design number but there was none. Turns out cabinet colors are only noted on the box they are delivered in.

We stood there dumbfounded. The granite counter tops and ceramic tile flooring was installed. Definitely not the ideal time to make this discovery.

A visit to the sales center began a week of phone calls, emails and even more phone calls. After the sales center visit I quickly emailed my real estate agent, who was on vacation with her family. She made a brilliant recommendation to ask the superintendent to remove a cabinet door and drive to the design center to match the cabinets. That seemed the only way to truly discover if the cabinets were the correct ones.

The Design Center left a message stating that they ordered the correct cabinets and verified with the superintendent that indeed the ones we ordered were installed.

I still was not convinced. I was 100% certain that the cabinets were wrong.

When I mentioned asking to have a cabinet removed to drive to the Design Center, I was then told I did not need to make the drive. I was given the personal cell phone number of a gentleman at the cabinet company and was told they were expecting my phone call.

After a quick introduction I heard words I never thought I would hear.

“For the very first time in 12 years we made a mistake.”

Those very words confirmed in fact, that the cabinets in the house were not the ones I ordered. They were the ones the home builder had pre-selected for the home. Somehow one tiny piece of paper slipped by and the change order was not followed/received.

We ultimately had three options available to us.

1. Walk away from the house.

After all these months of visits, pictures, and our boys watching our house build with excitement we could have walked away from it all. It was not the house we picked out and designed and we could just walk away, when we are literally inches away from getting the keys in our hand. It was an option.

2. Reject the cabinets and insist the ones we ordered be installed.

This would result in possible damage to the walls, granite, ceramic tile, and worse. Yes, they would have to fix it all to the pristine shape it should have been in the first place. But what if the ceramic tile does not match up exactly as before? What if …? A friend told me that the first install is always the best. Sounded exactly like what my father would have said.

3. Accept the wrong cabinets that are already installed.

My husband and I discussed our options and I reached out to our real estate agent again for advice. Then my husband talked with his father and the next natural conclusion came about. I asked friends on Facebook what they would do in this situation. Of course it is easy to be on the outside looking in but it is another to really and truly make the decision when it is your own house.

I was having a really hard time because Option 2 meant we would delay the close on our house, lose the lock on the interest rate, and who knows what else. But I would at least have the cabinets we ordered. Option 3 meant I was giving up on the dream and settling. Option 1 meant just walking away and ultimately I would have to look at my two little boys and explain to them about grown up issues that lead to heartbreak.

Nothing seemed like the right choice but we had to make one. Our decision will be revealed tomorrow.

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Wendy Wright

Head Geek at Plugged In Family often found at Comicon, Disneyland, or online increasing her gamer score on Xbox. As a member of the 501st Legion, Wendy spreads her love of Star Wars across the Galaxy in her handmade Jawa costume volunteering for charities with her husband and two sons.

2 thoughts on “When Your Home Builder Makes a Mistake

  • May 27, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Can you tell me what you did?? We are in the same position – and supposed to do walk through tomorrow. The cabinets are not correct. I’ve asked them to bring the cabinet we selected from the design center. Ugh. Not looking forward to this. I think we will “settle” and take the house with the cabinets that are there – but what is the compensation? It is the cabinets in the kitchen and 3 bathrooms. Thanks.


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