There was a time when if you wanted new construction in the Austin area, you’d have to buy in a far-flung suburb. Now, everyone wants to live in the city itself, so older housing stock is being torn down and replaced with luxe new condos and houses. As more people flock to purchase custom homes in the city, we’ve seen an increase in buyers coming to us with issues with their builders after they’ve signed binding contracts.
The Problem With Not Hiring a Real Estate Attorney
Let’s start by making it clear: we’re not blaming the victims here. Many people aren’t making the choice not to hire an attorney before signing on the dotted line—instead, it just doesn’t occur to them. Maybe they’ve never built a home before, maybe they think of signing with a builder as the same as signing with a contractor to remodel a bathroom or put drywall in the basement. No matter the reason, unethical builders often take advantage of buyers who sign without representation.
If you haven’t signed a contract with your builder yet, hire a real estate attorney to review the paperwork and make sure you’re protected. It’s not uncommon for issues to arise both during and after construction. Some potential problems include:
- Discrepancies between the house plans and the finished product
- Contractors not abiding by code or pulling the necessary permits
- Building not being completed on time, which can create quite a mess if you’ve already sold your home
- Changes to the scope of work
- Construction defects, bad workmanship, or incomplete work
Disputes surrounding these issues can all be avoided with an ironclad contract. While we can’t promise your new home will still be delivered on time, what we can promise is that if it’s late, there will be serious consequences for your builder.
How a Real Estate Attorney Can Help with Builder’s Contracts
Real estate lawyers aren’t just there to read your contract, explain it to you, and tell you whether or not to sign. We’ll also help you negotiate more favorable terms. While many parties involved in real estate don’t like to advertise the fact, contracts should always be a back-and-forth process; one party should never be allowed to set all of the terms.
With a good builder’s contract, no stone is left unturned. Every possibility is addressed and there’s a clear remedy for unfavorable outcomes. A well-written contract eliminates the need for attorneys down the road because everything is laid out in black and white without any ambiguity.
What Happens If You Signed a Builder’s Contract Without a Lawyer?
If you signed a contract to build a new home without having it reviewed by a real estate attorney first, you may still have a case in the event of a dispute with the builder. Smaller builders often use boilerplate contracts that are full of holes; even larger builders can be sloppy if they count on their clients signing contracts without reading them. You may still have options to defend your rights—it’s never too late to seek guidance from a lawyer.
Learn More About Builder’s Contracts
Are you building a home in Austin? Contact us at 512-505-0053 to book a consultation with one of our real estate attorneys to learn more about signing a builder’s contract. When you need help negotiating with a homebuilder to protect your rights, We Get It Done.