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Is a Home Builder Liable for Reduced Living Area?

By Christopher Combs | April 9, 2018

Question: We contracted with a builder for the purchase of a new 5,000-square-foot home in North Scottsdale. After we moved into our new home, we discovered that an outside wall of the home was located almost a foot closer than indicated on the plans and specifications. As a result, there are 200 square feet less of living area in the home. The homes are worth over $300 per square foot in our community. Do we have a claim against the builder for $60,000 because of this loss of 200 square feet? Answer: Probably not. The builder of a home is only liable…

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Home Construction Defects

Arizona Statute of Repose Limits Claims for Construction Defects

By Christopher Combs | July 18, 2016

 Arizona Statute of Repose Limits Claims for Construction Defects   Question: We purchased a new home in Fountain Hills in September 2010. We recently discovered that the stucco is falling off in some places, and that there are even holes in the stucco near the garage where we can see the insulation and wiring. After we complained to our homebuilder, they said that their homebuilder’s written warranty expired two years after we bought the home. We then filed a claim with our homeowner’s insurance company, but they denied our claim because they said that a homebuilder’s warranty is for 8…

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Seven-Day Right of Rescission is Inapplicable

By Christopher Combs | May 4, 2016

  Seven-Day Right of Rescission Inapplicable to Vacant Lot     Question: We recently purchased from a homebuilder a lot in a beautiful Sonoran desert community in the Fountain Hills area. The construction of our home on this lot was to be completed within nine months. Although we love the lot, the next day after we purchased the lot we realized that the daily commute to our Camelback Road offices would be too difficult. We thought that under the subdivision laws we had a seven-day right to rescind the contract to purchase this vacant lot. Therefore, that next day we emailed…

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Statute of Frauds doesn't Apply to Sale of Homebuilder Services

By Christopher Combs | March 23, 2016

 Statute of Frauds does not Apply to Sale of Homebuilder Services   Question: In a recent column you said that, if the owner of a lot verbally agrees with a homebuilder to have a home built on the lot, this verbal agreement is enforceable.  I am a licensed real estate agent.  In real estate school we were taught that all contracts for the sale of a home or any other real property had to be in writing.  Was I taught wrong?   Answer: No. If a home or any other real property is being sold, the contract generally must be signed…

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Distinguishing a Contractor from an Employee

By Christopher Combs | February 1, 2016

 Distinguishing a Contractor from an Employee   Question: We recently hired a contractor to do some remodeling work on the bathroom of our Glendale home. We asked that he only work between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. while our daughter was in preschool. Before any work was started, we signed an agreement with the contractor that he would be paid every two weeks based on hours worked and materials purchased. Three days ago the contractor slipped in the bathroom and broke his ankle. He now wants us to pay for his medical bills because he said he was our employee, and…

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Builder without a Contractor's License can only Build Self Home

By Christopher Combs | January 5, 2016

 Builder without a Contractor’s License   Question: When we purchased our new home in Chandler last fall we knew that the builder of our new home was not a licensed contractor. The builder said that he had built the home as a retirement home for his parents, but his parents changed their minds and retired in South Carolina. We have had nothing but problems with our Chandler home, especially with the roof and plumbing. The builder has refused to talk to us. We filed a complaint with the Registrar of Contractors but they said that they could not help us…

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A Verbal Contract to Build a Home Should be Enforceable

By Christopher Combs | November 29, 2015

 A Verbal Contract to Build a Home Should be Enforceable   Question:  We want to build a home on a lot we own in north Scottsdale.  After interviewing several homebuilders, we found a homebuilder that we liked.  The reason that we liked this homebuilder was that we had looked at a specific home a mile away that the homebuilder had built which was the same type of home that we want to have built.  The homebuilder showed us the plans and specifications for this home.  We had several more meetings with this homebuilder, and our handwritten notes show that we…

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Homebuilder Misrepresented Square Footage of Home

By Christopher Combs | November 9, 2015

 Homebuilder Misrepresented Square Footage of Home   Question: We signed a purchase contract with a homebuilder for a new house to be built in north Scottsdale. After we closed escrow and moved into our new home, we discovered that an outside wall was in the wrong location per the plans and specifications for our new home. As a result, there is less square footage of living area. The homebuilder has refused to talk to us. Has the homebuilder breached the purchase contract?  What are our damages?   Answer: A homebuilder will be liable for breach of the purchase contract if the new home contains…

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