Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Our experience* with Newmark in Austin (*horrible nightmare of an)

When we signed the contract to buy a house in 2 1/2 years ago, we were so excited. It is exciting in the beginning. Nerve racking and exciting.

At that blissful time, we had no idea what a frustrating and stressful road we were about to embark on. The reason that is was (and is) such a frustrating experience was (and is) because the company that built my house, Newmark Homes in Austin, TX, was so incompetent, unorganized, and generally impossible to work with. (Actually, Newmark went belly up in Austin last year and some of their assets were bought by another company. You can find the name of that company on the Newmark website in the Austin section. Hopefully they'll treat their customers better than Newmark did.) We should have seen it in the beginning, after we were lied to for the first time.

When we were negotiating buying the house, we stipulated that we could not buy the house if they couldn't put a sink in the garage. The superintendent (who always said "yes" to everything) said, "Yes, we can put a sink in the garage. No problem!" Well, as they were beginning with the plumbing, we kept looking for the drain pipe for the sink in the garage. We kept asking him about the drain pipe for the sink in the garage. "Oh, just wait, just wait, we're not done yet, we'll put that in later."

Guess what - NO drain pipe was ever put in the garage. He gave a lot of excuses and said we could still put a sink in there, but it just wouldn't have a drain. No drain for the sink. We were scammed for the first time. We should have backed out then, and we came very close to doing so, but we're positive, optimistic people. Oh, but Jose was so mad a the super. So. Mad.

Another that should have tipped us off to the complete incompetence of Newmark was this next little gem. One afternoon, we were at the site, checking the work (because you HAVE to check everything yourself) we noticed first, that there was only one pipe for a downstairs toilet and, second, that it was in the middle of where the living room was going to be. In our floor plan, there are two toilets on the bottom floor and neither of them are supposed to be in the middle of the living room.

When we told the super, he didn't believe us. I had to convince him that it was wrong. He kept looking at the plans for our house and finally realized that the office had sent him the wrong plans. In short, they were about a day or two away from pouring the concrete for the foundation and they had plumbed the floor plan for different house. Luckily (for them) they hadn't poured the concrete just yet. Unluckily (for us), we still didn't see the writing on the wall.

These are only a few of so many times that I, or Jose, or our Realtor had to call, convince, reorder, argue, etc., with Newmark. However, thanks mostly to our tigress of a Realtor, we got a lot of things done and a lot of money off of the closing price for all of our troubles.

Two years later, however, we are still having problems with the construction of the house. There is water coming into our bedroom wall and just sitting there. There is a water line slowly creeping up the wall and the baseboards are all warped and waterlogged. This was happening in April of this year and Newmark sent people to fix it, but whatever they did didn't fix it and now it's happening again. Normally, it wouldn't be that bad. We would just call and/or email Newmark 5 or 6 times and they would eventually send someone out to fix it again, and hopefully find the leak while they were at it. Except Tousa, Newmark's parent company, went bankrupt last year. Then they closed down Newmark in Austin. If you signed on your house before January 28th, 2008, you have absolutely no warranty on any part of our house. We signed on the house just 2 months before that date. Oh well. Too bad for us!

How about that great selling point of a 10-year warranty on the foundation? NOPE.

And the guarantee that they would come and fix things that they messed up? SORRY.

Hey, don't we have any rights as consumers? We paid for this house! We paid for the 10-year warranty on our foundation! This is all extremely frustrating. Newmark pretty much scammed us and all the rest of the homeowners here in my neighborhood.

My friend says we should just sell the house and move to Cedar Park. We won't do that though. We'll just call the house insurance company and fix it through them, but we shouldn't have to do that.

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