Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What’s in a closing date (Is the 7th’s time a charm)? Norfolk Homes

                         What’s in a closing date (Is the 7th’s time really a charm)?

Well this post will deal with way Norfolk Homes handled our closing.  Very pitiful to say the least but I will just give the facts and let you come to your own conclusion.  Maybe I am naïve and all builders treat their homeowners this way but I seriously hope not.  We first received an email from Norfolk Homes home office on June 15th, 2012 stating our closing date would be approximately a month out on July 13th, 2012.  Below is a copy of the letter.  I was very surprised to see that we were told that we couldn’t have anyone else walk the house with us:


Dear Homeowner,

As we are nearing completion of your new home, we are projecting your closing date to be 7/13/12. Please keep in mind this date is subject to change due to inspections, weather, etc., but we wanted to give you a time frame to begin preparing for closing. 

It is also our practice to conduct a pre-closing walk through with the construction superintendent.  Your first walk through will be 2 to 3 days prior to your closing date.  The purpose of this preliminary visit is to tour your home prior to the pressures of the actual day of closing and create a punch list with the construction superintendent if necessary.  Please keep in mind we are completing the finishing touches in your home.

Please also note that it is Norfolk Home’s policy that the only individuals allowed to attend the walk through are the Purchasers, Realtor (if applicable), and the Norfolk Homes Sales & Construction Team.

To ensure a smooth and timely closing, please contact your mortgage representative to confirm that all necessary paperwork and any outstanding items are taken care of.  Also, please be advised that you will need to obtain your homeowners insurance prior to closing.

As we get closer to the completion date, I will send you a letter confirming the dates and times for your walk through and closing.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us.

Sincerely,


Sheryl Murray
Sales and Closing Administrator
Norfolk Homes


As documented by the blog, I have kept close tabs on our whole build and kept in touch with the project manager as well so I didn’t think there was any way we would be closing on July 13th, 2012 because there were so many things on the punch list that still needed to be done.  I wrote an email to Norfolk Homes and finally received a response back on July 2nd, 2012 stating that our new 2nd closing date would be July 20th, 2012.  We were scheduled to do a final walk thru the day before closing or on the same day as closing.  There was no way I was going to agree to this as I wanted to walk the house alone without the project manager there so I wouldn’t be rushed and I could take a complete look at the house. 

Of course this date came and went as well and we still did not close.  We were told that we would be closing a week later now.  I guess at this point you can see that we have no faith in any of these closing dates at all.  The 3rd closing date was pushed out another week and scheduled July 27th, 2012 @ 4 pm.

I called and talked to our loan officer because I still didn’t feel that there was any way that we would make this closing date as well.  He informed me that Norfolk Homes had not contacted him about the closing date.  He also stated that our home was not far along enough to order an appraisal so there is no way that we would make that closing date.  The appraisal was finally ordered on July 23rd, 2012.  This may sound like exciting news but it wasn’t because the appraiser refused to conduct the appraisal at this point because there weren’t any gutters on the house. 

On a side note a funny story about the gutters that happened was that initially I wanted dark brown gutters on the house.  I even advised I would be willing to pay extra for these.  I was informed by Norfolk Homes that there was no way I could get dark brown gutters and this was a color that they did not offer.  I was very perplexed as this didn’t make any sense to me at all so we were scheduled to get the sand color.  Well I found out that the reason the gutters were not on the house because the sand color was out of stock.  Norfolk’s sales representative called me and asked would I be willing to do dark brown gutters as those were in stock.  Are you kidding me, really?  I didn’t know whether to be upset or happy but I of course accepted as I something finally went in our favor.

On July 25th, 2012 I contacted Norfolk Homes about the closing that was scheduled.  I knew the house wasn’t ready by talking with the project manager but the home office I’m assuming was unaware of this.  When I spoke of having the closing date moved because the house was not ready, Norfolk Homes literally started to threaten us with late penalties and referencing the contract we signed because it’s obvious they were intent on closing out loan before the end of the month of July.  We had moved our work schedules around several times and at this point Norfolk Homes was not very accommodating and just expected us to be able to drop whatever we were doing at the time and work around their schedule.  After all the threats that Norfolk Homes gave us, come to find out that the appraisal wasn’t even back yet as the appraiser had just came out today so there was no way we could close today.  We received another email from the home office stating that our closing date was going too moved again for the 4th time to 7/31/12 at 3pm.

We still knew we would not be closing today but Norfolk Homes was insistent that we were closing today no matter what.  Once again we were threatened by Norfolk Homes of being charged late fees if we did not close today.  Later on in the day I received this email from Norfolk Homes trying to save face because they knew they were rude and wrong for the threats considering communication was lacking between the loan officer (their preferred lender), project manager and the home office. 

Dear Homeowner,

Appraiser was out today.  He will not have it back to your lender for several days.  In order to accommodate this we have decided to move closing to 8/3/13 as you requested the 1st time and not charge you a carry-over fee, in order for your lender to get finished.  As far as walking the home you can get with the project manager and the sales rep to see what is best for you.  We can do 2 days before closing which will be 8/1/12.  This would be your 1st walk.  On your inspector going out to the home you will need to get with the sales rep on that as this is out of my control. You have a great rest of your day.

Sincerely,

Sheryl Murray
Sales and Closing Administrator/Warranty Coordinator
277 Mallory Station Rd. Suite 106
Franklin Tn.  37067


My response back to Norfolk Homes follows:

Mrs. Murray,

Are you serious?  This will be the 4th time we have rearranged our schedules and we aren't closing.  I would hope you fully understand the frustration we are feeling at this point?  Not to sound vain but honestly at this point how can we be assured we will close on the 5th closing date 8/3/12 before we attempt to make additional accommodations for the close?  Earlier this week we were basically being forced to close before the month's end we just assumed all of things were already completed.  Why was there even a mention of a late penalty being assessed to us when the appraisals were not turned in to GMAC nor was the house complete?  We just would like to make sure 8/3/12 is really an attainable closing date before we start making plans.  I will also give you a call now.

Thank you,

I gave them a call and finally we were informed by Norfolk Homes and our loan office that the appraisal should be back on Friday.  After all the rescheduling we had done, Norfolk Homes just expected us to drop our schedules again and leave work for the 5th closing date in order to close on Friday, August 3rd, 2012


Hello Mrs. Murray,

I was writing because unfortunately we are not able to close on Friday, August 3rd, 2012.  Our closing date has been moved several times previously and we have moved schedules around to accommodate those and they did not occur.  Unfortunately we have to have adequate time in advance in order to deal with our schedules.  We will be able to close next Friday preferably in the morning.

Thank you,


I also informed Norfolk Homes at this point that I wanted to walk the house again by myself since I had not been given a date at this point to officially do it.  I had gone by the house during the day while the different trades were there working on the punch list and I could still see there was a lot of work to be done.  They honestly did not want me walking the house because I kept finding things that were not finished.  I was determined that I did not want a huge punch list because I figured if Norfolk Homes wasn’t addressing these items now, what incentive would they have to address them once we have closed and they have been paid. The Sales Administrator informed of an e-mail she received from her supervisor:


Hello Sheryl,

The prospective homeowner is not to be in the house without a Norfolk representative.  Communicate that to him and hold him to it – no exceptions.  If he wants to have a licensed home inspector to do an inspection that is fine because he is insured.  However, make sure he knows that we are not required to do things listed on an inspection report if they are within NAHB tolerances. Let me know if I can assist you further,

Charles Jeter

Well I wasn’t able to walk the house at this point but I wasn’t upset at this point since there still so many items on my punch list to be done.  There was also the issue of the grinder pump which was put into the front yard without any notice.  I ended up having several discussions with the City about the grinder.  My agent advised that we would not close at this point since Norfolk Homes had not addressed the grinder pump issue nor was the punch list anywhere close to being done.  Norfolk Homes as you can imagine was not happy at this point because they were ready to close.   

Over the weekend I was able to get into the house and go thru my punch list.  I thought it would be difficult but the sales rep and the project manager were more than happy to let me walk the house. J  See my previous post on check list to be done before taking possession of house.  http://ourhomebuildtn.blogspot.com/2012/10/checklist-before-taking-possession-that.html
After I had my check list together I emailed it to Norfolk Homes for attention as soon as possible.  Well we now received our 6th closing date, August 10th, 2012 @ 4pm

On the day before closing we were informed by Norfolk Homes we would not be closing again because of a lack of paper work by the developer and Norfolk Homes.  This was a bond letter that needed to be provided before our loan could be processed. 

The next letter was from the project manager:


I emailed a copy of the bond to Sheryl.   The exterior trim on the house still is not done. Our subcontractor has assured me that it will be done next week sometime. I know how the homeowners feel about not closing with anything left on the punch list so I figured I would let you know now.   I also see where he has taped the house again. I do not have a painter today to touch these spots up.  It will have to be done tomorrow. In order to add a switch for the single car garage door in the two car garage there is going to have to be a charge. This is an extra that should have been added when doing selections. Our electrician is paid to wire one garage. Extra garages are obviously extra. We wired several outlets in that garage and did not charge anything. Let me know if any of this is going to affect our walk today.

My next letter went to the sales rep because Norfolk Homes didn’t want to wire the 3rd car garage for a garage door opener in the main garage.  I had already argued with them before because they attempted to tell me that the 3rd car garage did not come with plugs outlets or a light.  I politely informed them that if these items did not come with the garage then I should have been informed.  As far as I knew I ordered a 3rd car garage, not an outhouse so I don’t see why these things should not be included.  Below is a letter sent to the sales rep to be forwarded to the Vice-President:


Hello Mr. Dattillo,

After meeting with Brad (project manager) and the Jerry from the City today, the grinder pump issue has finally been resolved.  Kevin Martin did state that a gift card would be given for landscaping of the grinder pump and we wanted to know when this would be given.  Brad also stated that the rest of the punch list should be completed by Wednesday. 

The problem which has occurred now is the wiring of the 3rd car garage.  When we selected to add a 3rd car garage nowhere on the options upgrade sheet or any literature did it state the garage didn't come with anything and items had to be ordered a la carte.  Blair Oaks standard features state that the garage comes pre-wired for a garage opener and this is what we were expecting as well on the 3rd car garage, with the ability to be able to open both garage from the mudroom entrance.  This is not out of the realm to expect as standard operating procedure when selecting the 3rd car garage.  We could see if we added the option of an outhouse or storage unit then maybe one would expect it to come bare but the 3rd car garage should be comparable and pre-wired as the standard features state and have everything the 2 car garage does as well.

If I recall correctly the last time an addendum was submitted by our agent, Andrea Ranck, we were informed it had to be written up on Norfolk's letterhead.  We would like an addendum basically summarizing the previous issues consisting of:

1.  Any unfinished items on the punch list would be completed within 30 days.
2.  Our 3rd car garage will be pre-wired just as the 2 car garage is (if not completed by closing)
3.  Receipt of the gift card for landscaping of the grinder pump

If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me.

Thank you,


Eventually we ended up closing on the 7th closing date on August 14th, 2012 with the promise of our punch list being completed in the next 30 days.  Now how do you think this turned out? 

The saga continues!!!!

***Sorry it has been a long time since I have posted.  I remember that I hate keeping up with a blog only to see it was never completed :)  I will complete this blog as I still have more post detailing our ordeal with Norfolk Homes***

If you are dealing with or thinking about dealing with Norfolk Homes, leave your email and I will contact you back.  I will delete it from the comments as well.

Thanks,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Checklist before taking possession that, YOU MUST DO!!!!

Below is a checklist that we used before taking possession of our home.  I can't take credit for this as the list was compiled from several online sources with the majority of the list coming from Bevangel's post on gardenweb http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg0809323416911.html

Alot of the sheets are copies and the list can be grouped together:

1.  Bedrooms
2.  Bathrooms
3.  Kitchen
4.  Foyer
5.  Dining Room
6.  Great Room
7.  Exterior
8.  Misc.

If you wanted you could hire out a pre-inspection but if you go this route I would suggest you have him inspect the house during the different phases of construction and not just at the end.  Since we followed the build thru every phase we decided not to pay an inspector.  If you are going to use the following checklist I would suggest that you allow an adequate amount of time.  If you go thru each item and each room thoroughly I would suggest you have at least one person helping you and set aside about half a day.  This should not be done with the GC walking behind you and you will not be able to complete the list thoroughly.  Most contracts allow for you to have a scheduled walk thru.  We made sure to reschedule the walk thru the builder scheduled to a Monday or Tuesday of the following week so that we would have a good weekend to go thru the house uninterupted.  It took me and my dad roughly 4 to 5 hours on a Saturday and I went back on Sunday to finish the exterior checklist. 

Items that you will need for your walkthru are listed below:

1.  Your checklist
2.  Roll of painters tape (mark items that need attention)
3.  House plans and measuring tape (measure all rooms)
4.  List of your included features (verify all are there)
5.  List of your upgrades that you selected (verify all are there)
6.  Camera and video camera (documentation to ensure all items were corrected)
7.  A few dishes (test dishwasher, don't assume it works because it turns on)
8.  Some items for garbage disposal (test disposal, don't assume it works because it turns on)
9.  Hose and sprinkler (test windows for leaks)
10. Ladder (to test vents, returns, and look at roof)

Once we had the house taped off and the checklist done, I went thru and did a short video and took pictures as well detailing all of the things that needed attention.  I was warnted that blue tape sometimes has a way of disappearing without the work being done and this happened to us as well.  There were so many things that needed attention that there is no way I would have remembered them all so having the video and pictures once we went back thru the house helped tremendously to ensure all of the items received attention.


















Don't be afraid to bring attention to items that need it.  I feel if you ask for more than you think you will get, you and the GC can settle in the middle in everyone will be happy.  I sure they thought I was a pain but what can I say, this is a big investment for our family so I had to make sure it was correct.  Below you will see an example of the punch list I had once it was complete and I summarized all of the items and submitted to the GC.

Punch List Lot 11
 Misc.
1.      A/C not cooling – upstairs wouldn’t get cooler than 76 degrees
2.      No Hot water in house
3.      Electric panel does not have a main breaker switch
4.      Front and Rear doors need to be replaced (not repaired). 
a.        They have numerous dings and marks.  The rear door hole for lock was cut out to large.  These doors were on the house the entire time while the house was being built.  There should have been temporary doors during construction and permanent doors brought in after the house done.
5.      Shower enclosure needs to be replaced (not repaired), fiberglass surround is cracking and scratched (blue tape)
6.       Blower door test for energy start certification
7.      Can property be re-staked so there is no confusion on property lines (when lot was being graded they were moved
8.       There is no landscaping around grinder pump. We did ask Mr. Martin about faux rock and haven’t gotten a response back yet. 
9.      Sod for all purposes is dead due to heat, can we have more sod put down in Fall when others houses under construction are complete and get sod

Foyer 
1.      Crack in drywall next to front door
2.      All trim on stairs need to be repainted (paint is on stain & stain is on paint)
3.      Drywall above light in foyer needs repair
4.      Light in foyer needs pole to be lowered
5.      Windows in foyer(front gables) needs to have colonial grids to match rest of windows on front elevation  
6.      Inside of end caps on the stairs need to be stained
7.      Staircase lights are leaking light on sides
8.      Front door needs to be replaced.  It has numerous dings and marks (door was on entire time house was being built.   There should have been a door for construction and then permanent doors brought in after house done.
9.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

Hallway Closet
1.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

Dining Room
1.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

Kitchen
1.      Cabinet are marked/scarred (blue tape)
2.      Large gap between dishwasher and cabinet (blue tape)
3.      Pendants that were pre-wired over bar are covered by drywall
4.      Granite edges on bar not polished (blue tape)
5.      Trim under bar needs to be caulked and supports need another coat of paint
6.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

Great Room
1.      Pre-wire for motion detector in the corner covered by drywall
2.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)
3.      Back door needs to be replaced.  It has numerous dings and marks and hole for lock was cut out to large (door was on entire time house was being built.  There should have been a door for construction and then permanent doors brought in after house done.
4.      Gas fireplace needs to be tested
5.      Where is location on inside of house for gas shut off valve

Hallways
1.      Plug in hallway does not work
2.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

Master Bedroom
1.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

Master Bedroom Closet
1.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

Master Bathroom
1.      Wall next to mirror is not straight and mirror needs to be replaced (blue tape)
2.      Shower cracked
3.      Shower head cap not fixed
4.      Fan and light should be on separate switches (they are currently on same switch)
5.      Top of wall is dirty
6.      Ceiling vent fan not flush with drywall
7.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

2nd Bedroom
1.      Bi-fold doors not even & need oil rubbed bronze hardware
2.      Wall by window needs to redone from midway down
3.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

2nd Bathroom
1.      Mirror has silvering at the top (blue tape)
2.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

3rd Bedroom
1.      Floor is squeaks (blue tape)
2.      Hardware for bi-fold doors
3.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

3rd Bathroom
1.      Shower/tub fixture are loose
2.      Cabinet has scarring (blue tape)
3.      Wall not straight against mirror
4.      Window is missing screen
5.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

4th Bedroom
1.      BR is supposed to have attic access door over garage per Kevin Dattillo at pre-construction meeting
2.      In corner floor is very squeaky (blue tape)
3.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

Bonus Room
1.      Attic access door to attic over 2nd floor needs a light
2.      Switch at top of stairs should be a 4way (missing switch for light for pre-wire for fan)
3.      Touch-up paint drywall/trim/baseboards (blue tape)

Main Garage
1.      Missing pre-wire (brown wire by mudroom entrance) for 3rd car garage (only 1 is there for main garage)
2.      Windows in garage have some type of rubber sealant on them

3rd car Garage
1.      Garage not pre-wire for garage door opener
2.      Crack in left corner of concrete floor

Exterior of House
1.      Frieze board is missing on porch, garage and gables
2.      Siding on porch is horizontal and should be vertical
3.      Siding has overspray when gas meter was painted black
4.      Window trim (exterior) on porch needs touch up
5.      Two steel bars sticking out of concrete on back patio
6.      Sod needs to be put down to the property line (on lot 10 side) which goes over past the trees so we don’t have any issues with lot 10 on where the property line ends
7.   Side of driveway needs to be regraded where water is not draining away from driveway and house properly.


Usually you have a walk thru a couple of days before you close.  As you can see there is no way they would be able to finish all of this in a day or two so I requested to have my walk thru a week out.  When I walked the house with the GC I pointed out all of my concerns and he wrote them down on the builder's official punchlist and we both signed off on them to make sure they would be complete and not just a verbal agreement.  Even with the week in advance all of items were not done by closing.  Our agent did make sure to make a copy of the punchlist to add to our closing papers and had Norfolk type up an addendum to sign that the items would be completed within 30 days of closing. 

Well we closed on August 14th, 2012 and as you guessed it, it has been more than 30 days and all of the list is not complete yet.  I have started contacting Norfolk via email so that I will have a paper trail to make sure all of my items get corrected.  I will follow up with the post to document when things are done.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE 10/01/2012

GC came out today to back over punchlist of items that haven't been completed after many phone calls and emails to the office.  He made a couple of phone calls to contractors to schedule times for the work to be done so hopefully it will be done soon.  I will update with the status as well!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our Issues with Norfolk Homes (Part 1)

Issues wtih Norfolk Homes

I must start off saying that I thought I was very diligent in researching Norfolk homes and the model we chose.   Norfolk builds in several differnt communities in Tennesse and the surrounding area so I have actually seen from begining to end the build of 14 Camden model homes.   I can surfice to say that I do know this particular model inside and out and exactly how they build them so when it came to build our house, I knew exactly what to look for.  Now some of my complaints are big and some are small but I am the kinda person that wants what I paid for, nothing more, nothing less. Some of the issues we have run into I would just expect for a builder to pay attention to and don't see why as homebuyer I have to check behind just to make sure things are done correctly to their plans!  I don't expecting nothing more, nor anything less, just do things the right way the first time.  Seems logical but unfortunately it hasn't been during our build!  Hopefully some of things will help others to know what to look for and hopefully others won't go through some of the drama we have gone through.  Its kinda difficult as if building a house is something that most of us don't do daily, "You don't know what you don't know!"

Issue #1. -  We have a BIG issue with the grinder pump that was put into our lot with no notice from the builder at all! We have weekly updates every Wednesday and at some point the City informed Norfolk homes that a grinder pump would be needed on the lot since the septic sat lower than the sewer on the lot. When I first saw the grinder pump I immediately asked the GC what it was since I have no knowledge or am not familiar with them at all? He explained the situation to me and then I asked if it had to be located in the front yard right beside the front door? His response to me was that it had to be put in the front yard and there was no way around this. I then asked could it be moved? His response was that it could not be moved without being damaged.

At this point I called the Cith and spoke with the Director of Water and Sewer. I asked several questions and his reply to me was that Norfolk homes was incorrect! The grinder pump can be placed anywhere on the lot. We would have rather for it to at least be moved to the side yard and not right in view of the front door. I was then curious whether it could be moved and the Director stated to me that the grinder pump could be moved without being damaged It woud have to be dug down deep enough around the cement on the bottom which the pump sits in and then it could be moved.

At this point I contacted Norfolk and advised of my conversation I had with the Director of Water and Sewer.   We are the only lot in the subdivision that has a grinder pump in our front yard.  The Director also advised us that this could have been avoided if Norfolk would have built the house up an additional 15 inches.  We feel that this is very unfair to us to have this put into our front yard without any notice.  We did our part by going through the weekly updates and was never informed of this by the builder.  We feel that this is no fault of our an that the grinder pump should be moved.  So far they have not responded back to us.   Knowing Norfolk and if their past actions are any indication of what to expect, they are going to try and wait us out or lie about the whole situation.







Issue #2 - The framing for the ceiling in the master bath was done after the house was already framed and honestly it looks horrible. It seems to me it definitely was not framed by the same guys who framed the house. There was not enough lumber on site and you can see where they ripped their own 2x4's out of gluelams, etc. and they are not even at all. I brought this to the GC's attention back in May who assured me this would be ok. Well once drywall was put up it was not ok and you can see with your eye the ceiling sloping. They have tried several times to fix this by cutting pieces of drywall out and repatching but in our opinion it ALL needs to be taken down, reframed and drywall added again. This is just flat out 'SHADY' craftmanship! It seems that if the builder sees this they would correct it immediately but Norfolk and the GC have tried time and time again to patch this up without correcting it the right way.





 Isuse #3- I have gone over our plans, the Camden model,  so many times its not even funny and I somewhat consider myself an expert on our model! :) When we first signed our contract back in July 2011 the current agent then, Amy, gave us copies of our floor plans.   I later on received some other copies of our floor plan from the company designer, Linda Totok, a upgrade pricelist sheet from Karen Cassada, as well as a copy of our plans before the final revisions were made.   Interesting thing at the pre-construction meeting was that the V.P., Kevin Dattillo, did not want to give me a copy of the plans (which I already had) and wanted them to stay on file at the office.   I really didn't understand this as this will be OUR house but I didn't make a fuss about it and low and behold the final plans got emailed to us mistakingly by the home office to confirm they were correct.   It would make so much more sense for Norfolk to send us the plans to review BEFORE the pre-con meeting so that any corrections could be made.  If this were the case everything should be correct at the pre-con meeting and this would have saved us an additonal 2 to 3 weeks of downtown waiting for our plans to be redrawn.

Issue #4. - I must say that my builder is a liar! My wife and I attended the pre-construction meeting along with our agent, new GC (it was his 1st day on the job), Norfolk's agent and Mr. Datillo (Norfolk's Area VP). This would normally be a 30min meeting at best but I tried to be prepared for every little detail so our meeting turned into about a 1hr and half ordeal and I felt pretty confident I did get most of my issues addressed. We were very concerened at the meeting because we were told by their designer Linda Totok that we could add our final selections (as long as they weren't structual) at the pre-con meeting. We wanted to add a gas line to the stove, a gas line to the garage for a tankless water heater at a later date and a refrigerator wall cabinet. Mr. Datillo(Area VP) admitted to us that Linda was incorrect in that information that she gave us and that today at the meeting everything was suppose to be finalized and could not be changed. He apologized but did state he should be able to spec this in for us as the gas line was already being ran into the house and attic for ac unit and gas fireplace. He also stated that all items had alread been ordered but did offer to allow me to buy the refrigerator cabinet from their supplier at wholesale. Of course not the answer we were looking for but we were ok with the fact they did try to attemp to rectify this matter. We could understand adding the refrigerator cabinet later as this was something that could be easily done. The gas line on the other hand was a totally diffrent issue. If we were building on a crawlspace I wouldn't have had any complaints because the gas line could have been easily added afterwards through the crawlspace. Since we were building on a concrete slab it would be impossible to add the gas line with out tearing up drywall and being very expensive.

Now the funny thing if you just noticed what took place was Mr. Datillo just stated earlier in the meeting that everything at the pre-con meeting was suppose to be final but the funny thing is there were still errors on Norfolk's part that he could go back and correct. If this was the case, then everything DID NOT have to be final at the pre-con meeting and he had the authority to change them, if he wanted to! Still not happy at the fact we were lied to about the gas lines we contacted the CEO, Kevin Martin, to try and get this issued resolved. Mr. Kevin Martin was no help at all and basically stated that he would allow Mr. Kevin Datillo, V.P., to run his development as he saw fit. At this point we are very upset that we were LIED to by Mr. Datillo at the pre-con meeting and honestly feel he had NO intentions on adding the gas lines as he said he would do, especially when everyone was there and heard him state that he would. To make it even worse, we attempted to go to the CEO who basically agrees with the actions of his V.P. Even though the CEO didn't make the decision, he backed the decision in which we were lied about and we hold him just as responsible as well! From our experience Norfolk Homes just seems to be a company about deception. We have encountered some good people along the way but for the most part we have been nothing but lied to and mislead and Norfolk doesn't seem to have a problem with this at all.   For them it seems to be "Business as usual!"   This was just over the top and did it for me that I have made it my goal, my mission to warn as many people as I can of the terrible experience that we have encountered with Norfolk thru all forms of media possible. I can't understand how a company can continue to do business through deceit and just flat out lies, I honestly just don't understand!

Issue #5. - Our builder lied to us several times by making offers and then taking offers back that was made. Norfolk homes has no integrity at all. see link below for more information:
Issue #6 - Our lot was an engineered lot due to a hole on the lot which needed to be engineer filled.  Norfolk was not helpful in this issue at all as we went back and forth and this delayed our build as well.  It ended up with me having to call the Director of Codes for the city and the Mayor just to get some clarification on how the hole would be filled.  We just wanted to make sure an engineer would come out and survey the lot with the hole undisturbed and then give instructions on how it should be filled.  After Norfolk filled the hole we wanted the engineer to come back to ensure the hole was filled correctly and to have a letter on file with the city as well.  This delay could have easily been avoided but for some reason Norfolk did not want to put in writing the simple guidelines they would take to fix the hole.  We didn't feel this was to much to ask but it intially got resolved with Chris Jeter, sales manager, emailing over a generic form stating the steps that would be taken.  Norfolk felt I was being difficult but I think anyone who is making a large purchase would want to insure that there family is safe, they are not buying a house on a sink hole and ensure that the proper inspections were done.  I felt much better once we got the paperwork and the city involved because I overheard the previous GC saying how back in the day they would just rinse out some concrete trucks in the hole and pour dirt over it...really???


Issue #7 -  When we first signed our contract one of the reasons we went with Norfolk homes is because they were an Energy Star Rated Builder (you can  see it is still advertised on their website) http://norfolk-nashville.com/  The energy star ceritification will consist of a blower door test.  When I asked Norfolk when the test would be done there first reponse was that they were no longer an energy start partner but built to energy star specs.  If this is the case then why is Norfolk advertising they are an energy start builder if they can not get the certification.  I went back to read over our contract and it does state that our home will be energy start certified and this is what is in our contract.  Some of the building practices by the subs makes me really wonder if our house will even pass the blower test.  A lot of the cut of drywall from light fixtures to plugs on the exterior were not we felt sealed correctly.  When I asked the GC would these be sealed?  He advised me that Norfolk does not seal these opening and gave me the option of sealing them myself(what? I'm the home buyer and I have to do the sealing?  What kind of sense does this make?


I started sealing them myself but didn't have enough time to finsih so I gess I will complete this project once we move in.  This is yet another example of poor craftsmanship and on attention to detail and when bringing this to Norfolk's attention, it seems to be not a problem at all and business as usual.

Issue #8. - When engineered wall was put up and the house prepped for the slab to be poured the workers left alot of lumber around the hole which alot of it I did pick up myself.   Alof of the stakes were broken into the ground and some of the wood left which I have asked the GC several times to remove as these will be a breeding ground for termites.   Unfortunately these were not  gotten up as I was told they would be and instead just filled over with dirt.  I will pay attention to this later on down the road.

Issue #9 - The floor plans state that I would have an open staircase. When house was intially framed, it was done with an open staircase but they came back in and I could see where they were trying to close the staircase. This honestly is just being cheap by the builder, Norfolk Homes, in my opinion because they didn't want to pay for stained endcaps. Well after debating this with GC they are going to go by the floor plans and do an open staircase.






Issue #10. -  Norfolk homes did not put in plugs per our floor plan in the garage.  I mentioned this to our GC on several occassions who would only reply they were not on his plan.  I felt this was absolutely crazy as the 2 car garage had plugs in it so why would the 3rd car garage not?   We added on a garage not an outhouse so we definitely felt plugs should be included as well as the garage pre-wired for garage door opener.  After speaking with Norfolk's on-site agent who went up the ladder for me, Norfolk decided they would put plugs and pre-wire for the garage opener.



Our concerns during our building process is if we are paying a company to build a house, should you really have to stay on them everyday to ensure they are building your house correctly.  We felt Norfolk was just like alot of other builders who cut every corner possible in order to make a profit which honestly doesn't make any sense to me.  Your house is your reputation and word of mouth is the best advertising out there.  Why cut corners?  We just feel that our builder has no integrity and is just in it to do as least as possible and move on to the next house!  I personally would nevery build another house with Norfolk Homes nor would I recommend that anyone else do as well.  This is the primary reason for m blog is to give other insight when they begin to build and to also warn homeowners as well as agents to stay as far away as possible from Norfolk Homes.  (see Part 2)

****I will update blog with the result of our complains to Norfolk Homes****





Our Issues with Norfolk Homes (Part 2), cont....

Issues wtih Norfolk Homes (cont....pt 2)

I must start off saying that I thought I was very diligent in researching Norfolk homes and the model we chose. Norfolk builds in several differnt communities in Tennesse and the surrounding area so I have actually seen from begining to end the build of 14 Camden model homes. I can surfice to say that I do know this particular model inside and out and exactly how they build them so when it came to build our house, I knew exactly what to look for. Now some of my complaints are big and some are small but I am the kinda person that wants what I paid for, nothing more, nothing less. Some of the issues we have run into I would just expect for a builder to pay attention to and don't see why as homebuyer I have to check behind just to make sure things are done correctly to their plans! I don't expecting nothing more, nor anything less, just do things the right way the first time. Seems logical but unfortunately it hasn't been during our build! Hopefully some of things will help others to know what to look for and hopefully others won't go through some of the drama we have gone through. Its kinda difficult as if building a house is something that most of us don't do daily, "You don't know what you don't know!"

Issue #11. - Framers did not use precise cuts on wood attaching to gluelam (eng beam) on first floor. They did later on come back attach the metal hangers to secure them. Other than this I must admit that this framing crew did do a good job and much, much better than some of the other framing crews they used in our neighborhood.




Issue #12. - The electricians wired my doorbell to put in the formal dining room. Now this was not done in the model home, which is the same floor plan as ours, nor any other camden models so I definitely was not expecting this as well.  I informed the GC that I wanted the doorbell moved to the foyer and he was response was, "Are you serious?" My response was YES I am serious and I did want it moved to the foyer.  I even had pictures of the model home as well as other Camden models built to show what I was talking about.  It seemed to be hassle but eventually the doorbell was moved to the foyer.




Issue #13. - When slab was poured water pipes for the master bathroom shower were put in on the wrong side. I did inform the GC of this error and the plumber was able to run the pipe around the shower to the correct side.



Issue #14 - Attic access doors were left out of my home.  As I stated I do have floor plans and there was suppose to be an attic access door on the 2nd level to upstairs attic and also an attic access door in the 4th bedroom.  I have debated back and forth with the builder on this issue and even showed them on their own plans where the attic access doors are suppose to be.  So far they have agreed to put the attic access door on the 2nd floor to upstairs attic and we are still going back and forth on the door in the 4th bedroom that goes to attic space over the garage.  These doors are very important to me in the fact that alot of low voltage wiring I did not pay the builders ridiculous prices because I was aware of where the attic access door would be and I knew I should be able to run my own wire access at a later date.





Our concerns during our building process is if we are paying a company to build a house, should you really have to stay on them everyday to ensure they are building your house correctly. We felt Norfolk was just like alot of other builders who cut every corner possible in order to make a profit which honestly doesn't make any sense to me. Your house is your reputation and word of mouth is the best advertising out there. Why cut corners? We just feel that our builder has no integrity and is just in it to do as least as possible and move on to the next house! I personally would nevery build another house with Norfolk Homes nor would I recommend that anyone else do as well. This is the primary reason for m blog is to give other insight when they begin to build and to also warn homeowners as well as agents to stay as far away as possible from Norfolk Homes.


***I will update blog with the result of our complains to Norfolk Homes***