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Thread: Problem buying a new house

  1. #1
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    Problem buying a new house

    I am facing a bit of a problem in my accessible house search. After looking around, we have found a one-story floor plan we like. It is a new subdivision under construction. We asked the builder for some changes for accessibility. They agreed to widen some doors and add some ramps upon advance payment which we don’t have a problem with. However, after much consultation between the sales staff and their superiors, the sales staff has told us that they will not change the shower to a roll-in shower. They will only add a shower bench to their standard walk-in shower. Their shower floor is about four inches higher than bathroom floor. As such it is not usable for me in the present design. It is big enough to be replaced with ADA compliant roll-in shower. The lot we want our house built on is just dirt right now.

    I am frustrated that they are unwilling to accommodate a small but crucial change for me. They have provided me with a copy of Universal Design Checklist pursuant to California law. It says the Seller may not make all the “universal design features” generally available to all Buyers. It says further: “Please let your sales agent know if you are interested in a universal design feature that is listed as “not available” on the Checklist. Seller will consider such requests on a case by case basis.” In the Checklist accessible (roll-in) shower status is shown as “Limited”, not even “not available”.

    What are my options here? How can I solve this problem? Does anybody have any experience with this? TIA

  2. #2
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    If they is this hard to deal with NOW, I would find something else. You want a builder you can work with. This group will just be more of a headache as you continue.
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

  3. #3
    Did you agree to pay for the added costs of the roll-in shower (lowering the floor is expensive) and they still said no? How about having them leaving that space unfinished and you getting an outside contractor to finish it once you take possession? I doubt if you are going to get anywhere expecting them to make the shower roll-in for no additional charges since they really only have to make the doorway wide enough for your access to the bathroom.

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Quad62
    The lot we want our house built on is just dirt right now.
    Find another builder, providing the current one doesn't have rights to the subdivision.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
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    Very good advice given here. I was not able to get my builder to give me any acceptable shower options. He did finally agree to delete several of the bathroom options and provide me with a small discount for the deletions. I managed to get a certificate of occupancy, and later construct the custom roll-in shower of my own design.

    This was typical of the relationship I had with that builder. For a variety of reasons, I continued to work with this builder even after I realized we did not see eye to eye. The project turned out okay, but there was aggravation at every turn. NOTHING was easy. Should have listened to my own warnings. Instead, I talked myself into working with a builder I knew would be trouble.
    Foolish

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

    "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg

  6. #6
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    Thank you all.

    sjean423, Scott, unfortunately I can't change the builder. They own the land and are building houses to sell. I haven't checked, but I am sure a lot alone is not for sale. Even if I could, getting a lot and then hiring a private builder would be a huge management hassle for me.

    KLD, FO, of course, I have agreed to pay additional costs up front at contract signing even at the risk of forfeiture if my loan doesn't go through for any reason. I will explore with them the option of unfinished bathroom, but the sales agent had indicated to me earlier that they have to sell the house finished and ready to occupy. It was in a different context though, having to do with putting no carpets on so we could add wheelchair friendly laminate flooring on the bare concrete slab.

    I still can't believe that they can refuse a very easy reasonable and compensated for accommodation for a disability, and I have no help from ADA or anything except the goodness of their heart. SCI is certainly no fun.

  7. #7
    If you can't change builders, change neighborhoods!! You mentioned in the original post that it'sa small deal. Actually this is a huge deal as demo on the new could get expensive. Plus, staying with this builder already shows signs of non-cooperation.. your changes shouldn't be this big of a pain. Tell them your loan didn't gothru and find someone else more cooperative.





    Life isn't like a bowl of cherries or peaches. It's more like a jar of jalapenos--What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

    If you ain't laughing, you ain't living, baby. Carlos Mencia

  8. #8
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    Thanks 2jazzyjeff. Changing neighborhood is the FINAL option. I wish it were not though, because everything else about this house checks out. Unfortunately, here in my neck of the woods, even in this housing downturn, all the new developers I have run into have very similar attitude to accessibility changes.

  9. #9
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    You are only asking to have your home built with the accessibility you require. This is an ADA issue, since the builder is refusing an accesible shower, and insisting on carpets. The agent may not be versed on ADA. Mention that they are leaving themselves open to a federal lawsuit by denying your requests.

  10. #10
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    SoFla, thanks. I am not well versed in ADA either. However, so far no one has said with any surety from their knowledge/experience that ADA requires the developer to accommodate the changes I need. I will try to find out and see where it leads. About the carpets, they have a tile/hardwood upgrade available. So, that is not a problem.

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