Construction & Real Estate
Counsel emphasizing risk avoidance through contract review and negotiation for builders, contractors and purchasers. Aggressively promote clients’ positions in mediation, arbitration and litigation. I have been involved in more than 100 construction defect litigation matters.
- Review and Draft Agreements;
- Contract interpretation;
- Lien Avoidance;
- Alternative Dispute Resolution;
- Mediation and Arbitration; and
Purchasing a home is one of the most expensive family investments. Before you sign a real estate purchase and sale contract, have the proposed contract reviewed by an attorney. Many standard form or builder real estate and construction contracts substantially limit a purchaser’s rights. Understand if the proposed contract contains adverse binding arbitration provisions, limitations of liability, ineffectual warranties, irrelevant inspection provisions, and loss of escrow funds. You can change the terms of the proposed contract so that you are treated fairly in your purchase. Especially with the purchase of a new home, why would you purchase it from someone who refuses to stand behind his work?
General Considerations Before Meeting With An Attorney Regarding Construction Issues In Georgia:
Review your contract. The contract generally does not only include the 5 or 6 page document you signed. It also includes exhibits, addendum, attachments and documents incorporated into the contract. A limited warranty or home builder’s warranty may have been incorporated into your contract. You may have a responsibility under a warranty to notify your builder in writing within twelve months of closing of any defective conditions which need to be addressed. Georgia has statutes of limitations or time limits for filing a claim against a seller for property damage. Depending on your claims and assuming no contractual limitation applies, generally, either a four year for tort (negligence or fraud) or six year for contract statute of limitations, commencing from either substantial completion or the closing date will apply to residential real estate sales.
The home should be inspected by a licensed and qualified home inspector and/or engineer to discover deficiencies. Take photographs or videos of the defective conditions. It may also be helpful to have photographs of the repair process so that if a problem arises later, you may not have to cut into walls. If the seller is unwilling to make the corrections, find out the costs involved to correct deficiencies which the home inspector identifies.
Communicate in writing with the seller so that you have a written record. You should give notice to the seller in accordance with the contract’s notice provision.
If you decide that you are unable to reconcile differences with the seller from whom you purchased your home, have copies of the following to give to your attorney:
- Sales materials, contracts, warranties, builder handbooks, and all communications between you and the seller. This includes your closing documents (generally other than those related to your mortgage).
- Inspection reports and cost estimates.