I had a new client who called me because they wanted to make sure that their builder fixed everything from their Year End Form. I went to their house to do go through their form and to look at the deficiencies noted just to see what the problems were. Their house was beautiful, but their list was extensive.
Many of the items listed were things like scratches on granite, scratches on the bath tub and scratches on the oak stairs. Remember, this is the Year End Form, meaning that they had been living in the house for one year. Small scratches can happen just by everyday living. I inspected but I could not see any scratches. Their granite, bath tubs and stairs happened to look quite beautiful. So this is what I explained to them.
First of all I had no idea where the scratches were, so I told my clients to let me look without pointing out the problems. I couldn’t see a thing. Many times when we know where the problems are they tend to drive us crazy even though they are not noticeable to anyone else. I explained to my clients that they had to understand that wood and granite are natural products and imperfections like scratches and even small dents are not uncommon. It’s only if they are damaged with gauges, deep scratches or cracks that they would need to be fixed or replaced if necessary.
I also explained that scratches, whether they are hairline or deep, are not considered a warranted item, unless they were noted on the Pre Delivery Inspection or at least reported shortly after closing and no later than the 30 Day Form. I told them that even if the builder did decide to fix the scratches, the items may end up looking worse than if they had been left alone. Most often scratches are fixed by special patch kits but often times the repairs are slightly visible, and if the homeowner is very particular, the fix will drive them more crazy than the scratches themselves. Don’t get me wrong, the patch kits are amazing, and if the trade is good at what they do, the fix can be quite good, however; if small hairline, barely visible scratches are bothering a person, then a patch would not be acceptable to them either. I advised my clients to leave those things alone.
The most important thing that I can say to all of my clients is, perfection is non existent, but what we should expect is a good product built to builders standard. The Pre Delivery Inspection is the time to find any deficiencies, and they should be repaired or in some cases where repair is impossible, replaced. I also tell my clients that some scratches, dents and dings can happen during the year as we walk, drop things, spill, entertain visitors, etc. It’s best to understand that the builder is not responsible to deal with these sorts of items, and most important that small damages are a result of just living our lives. Knowing this from the beginning alleviates a lot of stress later.