I lived in this new home 28 days (11 July 06) when the door to the garage and the basement were so severly 'stuck', I had to shove with my shoulder. Pulte asked if an operations rep could come look at the house. Little did I know until I conducted some research this is a sign of floor movement.
After pulte just wanted to do a little band-aid repair, I requested a structural engineer to look at the house and pulte offered to pay since "I had put so much into the house". The engineer was, that I know not affiliated with Pulte except possibly to have been on retained. The engineer was followed by a gaggle of pulte people and was led what to look at. This engineer wrote what pulte wanted to hear. However, the engineer did state if the floor movement problem continued and the bowing of the joist under the door to the garage persisted, to have an expert dig into the soil to find out what the problem was. He did state there might be a stream running under the house. The engineer suggested the joist be cut so that the door could be made level (to be closed).
Pulte kept procrastinating about fixing the house, so that I hired my own structural engineer. He took 30 laser readings, inspected the house and gave me a report. It was far worse.
The floor was rising and the pier points were too. The rising of the pier points caused the posts to push the steel I-beams up. This is what actually caused the bowing in the utility room and should have been caught by the first engineer.
A great number of the joists no longer are supported. The floor is bowed so much the door can only come to about 2" from the door jam.
The windows are racked (uneven) and those that are not are difficult to close and open.
The inside doors are all uneven.
The front door can be locked if I hold the handle, push on the door and push the door up.
The furnace and water heater are being forced up.
The pipes to both are bending.
The furnace ductwork is being forced into the joists.
The floors and walls have cracks that continually get larger and leak when it rains.
The entire garage floor has cracked around the parameter of the garage and it gets larger as time progresses.
There are a multitude of cracks in the dry wall along the seams where the walls and corners and walls and ceiling meet.
One wall has been pushed up so much that the dry wall is being squeezed and pushing out from the wall.
The stair stringer has almost been entirely pulled away from the frame of the stairway.
The stringers are cracking and are being pushed up therefore pushing up the treads and forcing them up and downward.
The entire skeltal system of the stairway is being torn apart and some pieces are only held by nails.
The joists are splitting, the small blue insulation piece that is placed between the basement wall and the framing is being squeezed out from the the two.
The bolt that is holding the sump pump pipe in place is being torn from the concrete.
Please remember this house is ONLY 4 MONTHS OLD. The I-beams as they continue to rise have caused bowing in three areas of the living area. This in turn is causing the wooden floor planks to separate and sstart to heave.
The structural engineer I hired said that it should be investigated as to what is causing the movement. His words were, "I don't know what is happening under this house, but whatever it is, it is moving fast." He also said, "I would be concerned if this house was three years old, but this house is only 3 months old and this is over the top."
He also told me that the joist couldn't be cut as it would damage the integrity of the house and would void the manufacturer warranty.
Pulte knew there was a problem with the ground as the lot next to me (there are only two on this corner) sits unfinished in basement form. The floor in that basement is heaving and cracking too. There was and is a problem.
Oh yes, this is getting worse. There has been more damage since the last structural engineer report on 11 October. If the damage continues at the accelerated rate, this house could be uninabitable in the next 4-6 months.
What will pulte do? almost nothing. The warranty is only worth the paper it is written on. They talk a lot about making you happy and making sure everything is done correctly, but I have not seen them do anything yet. Pulte will only fix the door and do some taping of the drywall. They keep talking about the limited warranty.
This house is worthless. It isn't worth what I paid, nor what the mortgage is. I cannot sell it AND if I could I was forced to sign a paper that stated I couldn't sell it for a year. There are about 7 ways in which you can sell it before then, but one is death. So needless to say, there isn't much hope.
Would you buy a house that had foundation problems even if it was fixed? Would you buy a house that has foundation problems and no one knows the cause? Of course not.
Also, I have been a victim of predatory lending. Pulte made my loan rate at least 20 to 50+ basis points higher than market at the time I closed. This means pulte received 2 points on the back end of the mortgage without any requirements to disclose to me. They also require you to agree to arbitration when you sign the contract. NEVER NEVER sign if arbitration is included in the contract. This is only good for the builder NOT for the buyer.
In addition in order to take advantage of their incentives I was forced to use their mortgage company and even though I wanted to use my own title company, I was forced to use their title company. I have since found out the flood certification came from CA and the tax stamp from Texas. This house is located in Kansas. All of the above is illegal and a violation of RESPA (primarily sections 6, 8 and 9). In addition, I was required to get a bridge loan since the sale on my 'old' home had fallen through. I never received a truth-in-lending statement or any of the documents that are required by law. The interest rate on this loan which by the way I found out too late that it was actually a balloon note, was over a point higher than they told me. If I had been given the required information I would have known this. This is deceptive and illegal.
I am the proverbial homeowner out of control in that I have filed complaints and sent letters, give tours and inform people about the facade that Pulte hides behind. I will continue the quest.
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