Once a mortgage loan is paid in full there are still some common issues that need to be taken care of, and others that may arise unexpectedly. It is prudent to understand what to do relative to the common issue of finalizing your mortgage, and then there are special issues that may arise that may require simple legal processes and others that are serious enough may warrant hiring an attorney.
Example: John Q. Homeowner purchased a new home from a large developer just about a year ago. Previous to the purchase, he had the home inspected and the inspector found a defect. In one corner of the unfinished basement moisture was seen around the metal tabs that are used to join the poured concrete forms during construction. The inspector surmised it was due to water coming from the downspout outside.
The builder was contacted and he adjusted the downspout. He then performed a test by running water into the downspout for about a half an hour and no new evidence of water was found. John Q. then closed on his new home shortly thereafter.
Now a few months have gone by and whenever it rains, moisture accumulates in that same area, plus it is now showing in other places as well. Next came winter time and frost was seen on the inside of the foundation and so the builder is contacted again to have a look and take some tests. The tests showed that heat was being lost in these areas where the frost had formed so the builder then sprayed more insulating foam in those areas in an attempt to fix the problem, which it did.
However, once the winter had passed, and spring had rolled around, the foundation was again leaking moisture and a professional waterproofing company was hired to inspect and hopefully fix the problem once and for all. The waterproofing technician says that the builder used too little waterproofing material on the outside walls and that is the cause of the problem.
John Q Homeowner then decides to contact the builder again and ask them what they will do to finally solve this ongoing problem once and for all. The builder seems to vanish into thin air and does not reply to John Q’s last request.
The most important thing to check now is kind of warranty did John Q. Homeowner get from the builder? John Q must now review his warranty and all of the different documents he was given by the builder, including any promotional information that he may have received before signing the contracts. He should also now consult with his attorney to find out if there are any laws in his state regarding new-home warranties. His attorney may contact the state’s attorney to get more detailed information and he himself can also look this up on the Internet.
John Q. should also have a certified report written up by the waterproofing inspector and a certified structural engineer that will also show how to rectify the problems and estimate the costs of doing so.
John Q’s next move is to contact the builder again in writing and send a strong letter to the builder, with a copy to your state's attorney general, giving the builder fourteen days to reply. Most often this will achieve the desired results, however if it does not John Q must now decide to proceed with litigation or not.
In many cases the time and cost of hiring an attorney will not be of any real benefit to John Q, his attorney will have to advise him now on his options. If the situation is a relatively small one then it may be best for John Q to just get the repairs done by himself and pay the costs.