Woodside made a mistake during the sales process. You might think that because it was Woodside Homes’ mistake that they would cover the $7,000+ it would cost to fix it. WRONG! Even though our purchase agreement had already been signed by all parties, my purchase price went up over $7,000. I felt they should have done more to rectify their mistake. They could have eaten it (since it was their mistake) or split the difference with me. They could have only charged me the actual cost to them (not the $7,000+ retail cost of the mistake.) They did not. Rather, they offered to let me out of the contract and they gave me a $50 gift card as a token apology (accompanied by a written apology) but they would do nothing more.
A SPEC Home
To adequately explain Woodside Homes’ mistake and why they raised the price of my home by over $7,000 after all parties had signed the purchase agreement, you need to understand that I bought a SPEC home. What is a SPEC home? This is my understanding: A SPEC home is one of the first homes of a certain floor plan that the builder builds in a new community. This is far from a guinea pig of a home as the blueprints for the home are completed. But during the process of building the home for the first time either the builder or the contractors may learn a few things. A home builder may tweak some things after building the home. Contractors learn how to follow the blueprints and may make some mistakes which the home builder requires them to fix. What sort of things are they realizing at this stage? Well, on my home they realized a few things:
- An entire wall was moved 3 inches to provide extra space in the laundry room for an exhaust vent. This had been overlooked in creating the blueprints.
- The attic access was moved to a different location for aesthetic, and presumably for safety, reasons.
- In homes where the owner upgraded to the pony wall (i.e., half wall) to a railing, the power outlet in the pony wall should be installed in the floor rather than not having an outlet on that wall at all.
- The window located 15+ feet off the ground is for scenic purposes only and as such does not need to open nor should it open since that functionality blocks part of the scenic view.
- The light switch in the master bathroom should be on the right side of the entrance rather than the left.
- The master bathroom opening (no door) should be larger than the standard door size.
- The placement of the Ethernet and coaxial cables in the master bathroom made zero sense in any of the scenarios of where the bed was placed and so it should be moved to a different wall
- The drain in the master shower (if upgraded to large shower with no tub) should be located in the center of the shower instead near closer to the faucet as it would be placed in a tub.
This is the sort of stuff I believe they learn with a SPEC home. Leaving things unfinished is not.
The Sales Process
I negotiated during the sales process that I would be able to pick my own counter tops (and sinks.) I was given a list of the upgrades that the home came with (and how much they added to the base price.) The list was somewhat detailed. It didn’t list model or part numbers but said things like: Appliances: “Standard layout – Electric – Silver Package – GE Appliances – Stainless Steel”. Cabinets: “Timberlake – Group 3” with “Cabinet 3 Color: Linen” and “Cabinet group 3 styles: Barnett”. But when it came to the flooring section it said: “Flooring – Carpet”, “Flooring – Tile” and “Flooring – Laminate”. Without any details here how did I know what I was getting? Well, that’s simple: they had a picture they showed me that was taken in the design center which showed the carpet, tile, laminate, counter top, and cabinet samples next to each other. After we signed the contract and I paid my earnest money / deposit I had a date set to go to the design center to pick out the upgraded counter tops. To keep this part short I’ll just say what happened: I got to the design center and they pulled out my carpet, cabinet, tile, and laminate samples so that I could have them visible as I chose counter tops—the problem is that what they pulled out for me was not what was in the picture I’d been shown (and therefore what I’d been told I was buying) during the sales process before signing the purchase agreement. I learned at this time that the flooring I had been shown in the picture was not what my home was going to come with. There had been a mix up on Woodsides’ part. It seemed like an honest mistake, but the result was to get what I’d been originally told my house was coming with it would cost me over $7,000 extra in addition to my purchase price. I thought it was unfair and felt deceived. They apologized and explained what had happened. They hadn’t meant to deceive me. But they didn’t offer to give me what I’d been told I was buying when I signed the agreement. Isn’t that illegal? They offered to let me out of my contract and refund my earnest money even though the deadline for doing that was now past. But I’d finally settled on a location I wanted to live and then I’d settled on a floor plan of the town home I wanted. I chose to stay with Woodside and pay the extra $7,000 to get what I’d originally been shown / what was contracted that I would receive / some might say “what they promised me.” They gave me a $50 gift card as an “I’m sorry. We hear you. But we aren’t able to give you what you were originally told without you paying the extra $7,000+ for it.” I appreciated their acknowledgement of the mistake. I think they should have either given me what I was shown or at least give it to me at their cost (rather than the overpriced ‘upgrade cost’ that builders charge.)