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by Mish

Before diving into the house from hell let me first mention The Plight of The Implode-O-Meter. Implode-O-Meter has been sued, a motion to strike has been denied, and anyone wanting to help and/or anyone seeking more information can click on the above link for more details.

The Pulte house from hell:

My name is Susan Sabin.
I currently live in a house I purchased from Pulte Homes. I moved in on June 16, 2006 and after 28 days started experiencing problems. Almost one year later, the damage has accelerated to the point I have lost my homeowners insurance and Pulte denies any responsibility. I am not the only person in a subdivision that Pulte has built throughout the United States that is experiencing the same treatment. The website My Pulte Experience documents my experiences in detail.

I am fighting a multi-billion dollar company that couldn’t care less about me as a homeowner. Their treatment of me is the antithesis of their well defined campaign on customer satisfaction and delight. I have filed more complaints than I can count. I have gone to agencies and offices where most just offer a response similar to “what do you want me to do about it?”

If you would like to read more about my journey through hell, I was featured in the Money magazine in March 2007 (Shoddy construction), There are also two media broadcasts dated Nov 06 and June 07 on where my house (and another homeowner with a defective house) was featured on KMBC 9 (local Kansas City).
Thank you for your time. I appreciate it.
Susan Sabin

Excerpts from Susan’s Website: My Pulte Experience

Since the October 11th 2006 inspection, the living floor has bowed in three places which can be visually seen causing the wooden floor slats to begin to separate. There are more cracks in the drywall in various rooms in the house. The plumbing pipes are begin to show stress from being compressed by the floor rising. The ductwork and pipes from the furnace and the water heater are bending more as the floor rises. The stair way continues to separate from the wall, the boards are being pulled apart and the stair frame is splitting and cracking. The stair frame is also rising above the steps. This can be visually seen. The blue insulation strips that are placed in between the basement top and the framework continues to be ‘spit’ ‘squeezed’ from between the two. The bolts that hold the sump pump pipes to the wall are being pulled from the concrete and the concrete is also cracking off in small hunks. The hairline cracks have gotten larger and one of them leaks when ever it rains. The one gas pipe that leads to the furnace was replaced with a flexible pipe because of an impending safety issue.

When I first moved into this house, the floors did not squeak or sway. They shouldn’t because a silent floor type material was used for the joists. Now (posting this October 26th 2006 ), when I walk across the room, things I have on my table jiggle or move. The mirror above my dresser in the master bedroom sways back and forth. The floor makes noises. Of course the reason for this is the floor is heaving in places, and the more it heaves upward, the more uneven it becomes. In addition there is no support for these joists. They are just ‘out there’ within nothing to rest on. Of course they can’t rest on anything because they have been pushed up.
The Pulte lawyer has stated they (Pulte) don’t believe my engineer’s report. Pulte believes there is nothing wrong with the house that a few years of settling won’t fix.

In the meantime, the damage gets worse on a daily basis. What is worse is that in my heart I know that Pulte knew there was a soil problem before this house was built. I live on a corner and there is only one other lot on this corner. Pulte chose not to build it after pouring the basement and the flatwork. They told me that it was because the lot had not sold, but since out of approximately ten houses being built mine and the one across the street were the only houses that were not speculative (spec), that doesn’t pass the logic test. In addition the floor in the basement next to me is cracking and heaving AND there is no weight on the basement. I also noticed that Pulte has added extra pipes for drainage and run an extention cord to run the sump pump. This is not normal procedure for a house that is in the basement stage.

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Because I have talked about the lot next to me that was halted after the basement/flatwork stage, I have decided to show some pictures. Click enter to take a peek! I have added some new pictures. We have had some horrific rains and the basement now looks like a pool!

A day or two after I posted the pictures of the basement, Pulte people were there fixing the sump pump and pumping out the water. I have just discovered ( June 23, 2007 ) the lot has been sold. Before the sold sign went on the placard (see pictures), Pulte had taken out the basement floor, they pushed dirt against the areas that have sunken to hide the “holes” and spruced it up. It is unfortunate the people who purchased this lot bought a house that has foundation problems even before the first board is nailed with a hammer.

The sale price of this house was $313,100. Incentives (another story) brought the sale price to $294,130.00. This was the appraised value of the house when I moved in June 16, 2006. The appraised value of the house on 1 January 2007 is $174,900 . This is a devaluation of the house of $119,230 in just SIX MONTHS!!!
Could I sell the house for $174,900? No. However, I was offered $40,000 for it a short time ago.

A Cure for Shoddy Work

Additional information can be found in the CNNMoney article The Cure for Shoddy Work. The dark side of the housing boom: too much subpar construction and renovation. But you don’t have to simply sit and take it.….

But that was written back in March. Nothing has happened since then according to Susan.

Reply to Susan

Susan, other than publishing your story, and wishing you the best of luck, there is little that I can do for you other than to suggest getting the best real estate attorney that you can afford.

General Thoughts

  • For anyone that has purchased but not yet closed on a Pulte home, a Lennar home, a Meritage home, a KB Homes home, a Dominion home, Beazer, etc, etc, etc, and even a privately built custom home ….. consider hiring a home inspector before you close. Know what you are getting.
  • Consider renting until this all blows over.
  • If you have a down payment especially on a Florida condo (or any other property that will immediately put you hugely underwater), hire a good attorney and see if you have a legal reason to break the deal. If you can’t break the deal legally, then consider walking away after consulting a legal professional about possible consequences.
  • If you bought a home but since realize you cannot afford it and have not yet closed, consider walking away from the deal after consulting a legal professional about possible consequences.
  • Be very leery of those who claim to find a renter for for your home, will save your home, will do a lease buyback or any other thing that seems too good to be true.
  • If it seems too good to be true, rest assured it is, no matter how hard anyone tries to convince you otherwise.

Market tops and fraud go hand in hand. We saw it with the dotcom bust, we saw it with housing and subprime lending, and we are seeing it happen yet again as I type. I am speaking of course about “buyout bingo” aka leveraged buyouts and other debt funded nonsense that is now starting to implode affecting a wide spectrum of financial equities and the market in general.

Nothing in this post to anyone or even in general should be taken as financial advice or advice of any kind. If you are having difficulty with housing or personal finances please consult your financial advisor and/or attorney for personal advice specific to your situation.

Mike Shedlock / Mish/