********Blog Edited (9/7/07) per management request to remove direct mention of a certain home builder**********

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that it is infrequent that I blog about topics that are very personal or totally not work related.  If you don't want to read about me gripe about my horrible experience with purchasing a new home, please ignore this and move on.

First, let me remind all those who are married about the following statement: "If mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy".

So, last year, a friend of ours bought a "Unnamed Builder" home and told us about it.  Of course, my wife wants to go see the model since she has been “kinda” looking to move from our 2 story home into a single storey home for the last 10 years or so.  Well, we head on over to the development and look at the home our friends just purchased (this is a new build so it still needs to be built).  Our friends did purchase a very nice 2-story home so we are very happy for them.  As my wife looks at all the models available, her eyes happen to catch sight of the floor plan of a nice single story home that she just absolutely loves.  Just our luck – that floor plan happens to be modeled in the community.  Of course we have to go look at the model and my wife starts talking about it as if we already owned it.  We also happened to have the kids with us and they called dibs on the rooms they wanted.

Guess what?  We ended up purchasing this home despite the fact that I really don’t want to move.  [Remember the above statement???].  My wife really, really, really wanted the house and who was I to say “no”??  "Unnamed Builder" is supposed to be a “Luxury” home builder so we get the nice pitch about how great our experience will be and how our home will be built with the highest quality in mind and so on and so forth.  Without going into all the details around what has transpired in the last year, suffice it to say that all those things "Unnamed Builder" “promised” has not come to fruition.

The building process has had more downs than ups.  We have had to hound them about things to get items corrected.  There is nothing more annoying than hearing “That meets minimum industry standards” whenever we bring up an issue that involves poor workmanship – especially when this is supposed to be a “luxury” home.  For example, when we rolled a marble across our tile floor, it definitely did not travel in a straight line – it was more like watching plinko from Price Is Right.  The tiles were so uneven; it was like my 7 year old had laid the tile.  There were also so many hollow tiles, it was pathetic!  When I brought this up to our Project Manager, he would argue that it met minimum industry standards.  After much arguing, they finally agreed to redo our tiles.  Since our bathrooms were tiled, they had to remove the toilets (which I could clearly tell had been used) before ripping out the old tile.  Whoever it was that removed the toilet, decided to place the toilet on top of the carpet padding in our master bedroom.  This was totally gross as we could see the water puddle up on the padding.  We brought this to our Project Managers attention and asked that the carpet and padding be replaced.  His response was that they would not replace anything, but would have the carpet cleaners clean the carpet prior to us moving in.  Yeah, I DON’T THINK SO!  Also, they had the same crew that laid the tile initially (remember, it was about as good as what my 7 year old could do) redo the tile work.  How many tries do you need in order to guess how they did the second time around? 

Needless to say, there were more issues than resolutions which prompted me to call the VP in order to get a higher level of attention and responsiveness.  To top that off, yesterday morning, the supervisor for "Unnamed Design Contractor" (contractor in charge of flooring, counter tops, etc.) had the audacity to yell at my wife and accuse her for problems.  Mind you, this guy is well over 6 feet tall and weighs so much more than my 5’3” wife.  He brought my wife to tears!

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t consider this entire experience a top quality experience.  If someone were to ask me right now “Harold, would you buy another "Unnamed Builder" home or recommend them?”, my answer would be “ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!!!!  "Unnamed Builder" SUCKS!”  The way I see it, they are more comparable to a Yugo from the automotive industry.

Thanks for listening to me gripe!

Harold Wong
harold.wong@microsoft.com