Featuring America's Home Inspector: Nationally Syndicated Columnist, Barry Stone

The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector

Dear Barry: Our home is nearly a year old. Before we bought it, my husband pointed out to the builder that the french doors were poorly fitted and needed to be repaired. The builder said he would take care of it, but he never did. We’ve continued to ask, but the doors remain the same. Recently, we threatened him with legal action. He just got mad and said, “You just took the game to a new level!” Now he won’t even talk to us. Recently, we had a home inspection, and the inspector agreed that the doors were poorly installed. How can we resolve this situation? Victoria

Dear Victoria: The builder has declared his readiness to work with you on what he calls “the next level.” So let the next level begin. Step one is to document all future communications, the first of which is to send him a certified letter. Inform him that you have made repeated requests to have the door defects repaired and that this is your final demand. Let him know that he has 30 days to complete the necessary work; that if the work is not completed by that time you will hire another contractor to repair or replace the doors and will take legal action to hold him responsible for the costs of those repairs.

In the meantime, get written repair bids from reputable door contractors. If the builder fails to perform, take him to small claims court and get a judgment for the repair costs indicated on those bids. But before you proceed, spend an hour with an attorney who can advise you on the preparation and presentation of your case.