Friday, October 5, 2007

Pulte Homes - Bad Experience - Is Pulte Homes Good?

Lengthy Saga of a Negative Pulte Homes Experience
My Pulte Experience at The Reserves, The Timbers, Lenexa, Kansas by Susan Sabin
I had to split this page up as it was getting too large and unwieldly. So please take a look at the links above too. They show pictures of the damage that has and is occurring to this 'quality' built Pulte house. Of particular importance are the links that provide information on builders, binding arbitration, mortgage fraud and predatory lending. Pulte Homes a good experience?
You might ask after reading my site, why I haven’t consulted an attorney and sued. I cannot. Almost all new builders, including Pulte Homes, in the United States have binding arbitration clauses in their sales contract. This clause subjugates your constitutional rights. This means that if there are any problems, you have to use an arbitrating company of their choosing. Arbitration rulings are binding unless you are the builder. If you 'google' you will find that almost all builders, including Pulte have overruled the arbitration company decision and filed appeals. As a homeowner you cannot do that. Pulte Homes Sucks.
Paragraph 17 of the sales contract used by Pulte states:
" 17. ARBITRATION Any controversy, claim or dispute rising out of or relating to construction or design issues (other than claims under the limited warranty) shall be settled by arbitration in accordance with the Construction Industry Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association ("AAA") and the Federal Arbitration Act (Title 9 of the United States Code), and judgment rendered by the arbitrator(s) may be confirmed, entered and enforced in any court having jurisdiction. As a condition precedent to arbitration, the dispute shall first be mediated in accordance with the Construction Industry Mediation Rules of the AAA, or such other mediation selected by Us . Claims under the Limited Warranty will be arbitrated in accordance with the arbitration provision set forth in the Limited Warranty."
What can you do about this? Check out the link on predatory lending . Binding arbitration is considered predatory lending. Cross off this clause before you sign on the dotted line. No one can make you do something or be an enabler for something that is against the law.
Since I have lost my homeowner's insurance, I cannot get insurance from any other company. I also tried to get insurance through the state, but they won't touch this house. Even if Pulte replaced some gravel, and put in another basement floor, it would not allow my homeowners insurance to be reinstated. I was told that to get my insurance reinstated, the foundation would have to be stabilized (and proven to have been stabilized). This means total extensive foundation repair work, not the band-aid repair that Pulte is willing to conduct. This house will never be insurable and it will never be able to be sold or refinanced. This house is a total loss and needs to be torn down. Pulte needs to buy back this defective house and quit blowing smoke up everyone's skirt and pant leg as to the real cause of the demise of this house.
Pulte, the city of Lenexa, the housing inspectors, and the planning and development department do not want anyone touring this house. Why?
As of 12 October 2007 Pulte Homes is unwilling to repair this house to the state that will enable my homeowner's insurance to be restored.
If, after reading my web site, you are also appalled, please write Mr. Dugas , the CEO of Pulte and ask him to buy back my structurally defective house. His address is below. Mr. Richard Dugas, CEO Pulte Homes
100 Bloomfield Hills Parkway
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304
I have linked his email address; however whether it will get to him, is unknown. I appreciate all of the supporting emails and telephone calls I receive.
This house built by Pulte is just going on six (6), now seven (7), now eight(8),now nine (9), now ten (10), eleven (11) months, one year, 14 months, now 15 months old!!!! I lived in this house exactly 28 days before I noticed problems. I am sure these problems were occurring during the building stage and before closing.
I want it to be known right up front that what I have to state below are facts. I am not embellishing, but stating facts that can be verified. In no way I am disparaging the builder. It is up to you to make that determination after you read the facts and see the pictures.
Please check by often. I add to my pictures and include all the damage that has occurred since I last posted. Your indulgence is also requested. There are a lot of pictures on this page and sometimes it will take a while to load. You may have to refresh your browser to get all of the pictures if you have a slower computer. I have divided my documentation into separate pages, but there is still a lot of information. Thank you.
I am a single woman. This is the first house I purchased by myself. As I mention below, I did a lot of research in regard to builders in the area in which I wanted to live. Unfortunately some of the internet web sites I have found since my house started to move, I found too late. I didn't, at the time have any reason to distrust the Pulte salesman, Pulte Mortgage or Pulte Homes. It never once crossed my mind that any transactions that occurred should have been cause for alarm. I am a person that has a strong sense of honor and integrity; unfortunately I thought others did too.
On January 7, 2006 I signed a sales contract for a ranch style house in the new subdivision The Reserve, The Timbers in Lenexa, KS. This subdivision is being built by Pulte. Pulte is one of the largest builders in the United States. Before I decided to purchase a Pulte home, I did a lot of research. My research indicated that in the last five years, Pulte has attempted to clean up their act, and was actually building some quality homes and giving customer service. Pulte even won the J.D. Powers award. I've learned a lot about the J.D. Powers . They do not take complaints. They base their awards on submitted surveys. Now I know why I was being pressured by the Pulte representatives to give them good marks on the survey. The Pulte representatives told me their 'bonus' and promotions were based on these surveys.
Here's a picture of the house. It is a cute ranch that has eye appeal. However, I call it the Hansel and Gretel house. It looks nice on the outside, but once inside - well you are thrown into the oven!

I have been asked to post some other pictures of the outside of the house. I have also added some pictures of the back of the house from afar. Check out the land on the right side of the picture. When it rains really hard, the house on that property can looks like it is sitting on an island.

On June 9th 2006 , I was afforded a walk-through. During this walk-through I was informed that one of the four inch thick isolation rings (the circle) that is situated on top of a four inch thick pier pad in the basement where the steel post that supports the steel I beam had started to crack a bit. I was told by the builder's customer service representative they were monitoring it. It didn't look like much of anything at the time. Little did I know. I closed on June 12, 2006 and started moving into the house on June 16, 2006.
I hired my own housing inspector before I closed on this house. Pulte was not too happy about it and kept insisting their inspectors were good enough. In this area of the Midwest Pulte is considered a good builder by the vendors, subs, housing inspectors and the other trades people. The housing inspector showed me the areas that Pulte did that were a little 'extra' and how well things were constructed.
The same housing inspector I had hired initially has been back to the house and free-of-charge offered to look at the damage and give his opinion. After looking at the damage and reading the results of the September 11, 2006 structural engineer report, he turned to me and said, "You need a lawyer." He said the same as a lot of people do - "What about the warranty?" Well that warranty is only as good as the builder wants it to be. In my opinion the warranty is just a draw to get you to buy a house. Once you need to use it, the warranty becomes a limited warranty and then it becomes nothing. However, this is not about the warranty. This is about defective construction. This isn't a leaking faucet or knobs being crooked, it is about a house that is literally falling apart. This is about a builder who built a house without any thought or concern for the safety of the people that would be living in it. This last statement is made based on what I have mentioned above.
NEW This past summer, 2007 I was included in a flyer given out by the organization Building Justice. The flyer is about Pulte and their home warranty exclusions .
On July 11, 2006 I emailed the customer service representative asking if the basement door and the door to the garage (from the utility room) could be fixed because they were sticking. They stuck so badly that I had to put my shoulder into the doors and shove. Little did I know until I conducted some research on the internet this is an indication of movement in the foundation. At this time I had lived in this house a little under a month.
Since that time period, there are have been four structural engineers conduct an inspection of this house. The first and fourth engineer was hired by Pulte. I hired the second engineer because the problem remained unabated and is getting worse. My insurance company hired the third. Below you will find some pictures. I have posted some of the engineer reports on another page .
The basement of this house was built using four feet by four feet four-inch thick square pier pads. They are placed on sections of the ground once the basement walls have been poured and the flatwork ready to be completed. On top of the square pier pads, there is a circular isolation ring 4" thick. . They are not bolted down and secured in any way. The basement floor is then poured. This is called a floating floor. The theory is if the basement floor moves these pier pads will remain steady and will alleviate any damage. Using these pier pads and isolation rings also allows the builder to pour a 4-inch concrete floor.
The stairway is supposed to be built so that if the basement floor moves and or shifts, the stairway will be able to move. Unfortunately my stairway was not made that way. It was built rigid. When the basement floor moves, it pushes the stair up inflicting damage on the floor above such as the bowing joist in the utility room, buckling and cracking drywall. This is a structural defect and a design flaw. Something to note is that the stairway is only made to be 'floating' on one side, so therefore when the basement heaves even with using the given 'theory', the other side of the stairway is prone to heaving. - a design flaw.
If I wanted to finish my basement I would have to make any walls floating. If not, when the basement floor moved it could do the same thing that is happening now - rising. Since the house was built on expansive soil, there is sufficient evidence to indicate the house will rise and fall depending upon the saturation content of the soil.
In addition on December 8th 2006 , when the Pulte representatives were 'over-seeing' the experts it was discovered by one of them that one of the basement windows is cracked. This is because the floor is rising and causing the basement wall to rise and in turn is putting pressure on the window, thereby causing it to break!
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 in October 2006 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.
As of October 2006 except for fixing that one gas pipe that I insisted be fixed they have done nothing or provided me with a way to fix the problem or to buy this house back.
What did the Pulte operations officer tell me after the first inspection in September 2006 ? "There is nothing wrong with your home."
I continually ask that Pulte find out what the problem is and fix it. They will not address the issue nor talk about it. What will Pulte do for me for this brand new home that holds a 10 (ten) year warranty (especially on foundation problems)?
Pulte will cut down (cut out a piece of the joist) the raised joist so that a new door can be installed so I can close the door to the garage. They will tape and mud over the separated dry wall on the cracked areas. They keep telling me they will do their best to make me happy and will do what it takes, but it is obvious this house needs more than a little band-aid.
Check out above how they fixed the door on December 8th, 2006. Let's see from July to December that is about five (5) months!
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.
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.

In October 2006 I received a flyer from the Corps of Engineers. They are holding a hearing on the property to the east of this house. Evidently the property this house rests on used to be part of that parcel. This specific area was in a canopied tree line. The Corps of Engineers is going to fill in the two farm ponds and the outlying wetlands. Being so close to that property that has been labeled 'wet lands' why wasn't a soil test conducted on this property before anything was built?
If the foundation shifting and moving causing the basement floor to heave and rise and the pier pads to rise and push the steel I-beams upward continues accelerating at the level it is now, this house will be unsafe to live in by the end of the year. In the meantime I have to continue paying the mortgage which BY THE WAY is with Pulte Mortgage. Update Even though Pulte Mortgage and Pulte builders are very well aware of the issues with this house, the loan was sold. Needless to say the new lender is not happy.
Resale value of a BRAND NEW house with foundation problems -- $0
Refinance of a BRAND NEW house with foundation problems -- $0
The sale price of this house was $313,100. Incentives 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
In July 2006 I asked Pulte to find out what the problem was. They offered to fix the door to the garage and to patch the drywall at the end of the basement stairs. As time went by, even after the first structural engineer inspection was conducted, the only thing that Pulte would fix was the door and the dry wall. All of this from the very beginning has been very inconvenient. It is through no fault of my own this house is falling apart. I purchased what I thought was a brand new home FREE of defects. What I received was a house that has major structural defects that continues to accelerate.
Why would I want Pulte to patch some dry wall and replace a door that will continue to damage. The answer from Pulte? They will come and fix it again. This does NOT solve the problem. The damage that is occurring are symptoms of the actual problem. I told Pulte until they find out what the problem is and fix the problem, it was worthless to fix something and then have to fix it again. I have already taken enough time from work. I believe any reasonable person would come to the same conclusion as I have.
Since the October 11th 2006 structural engineering inspection, there are about 10-12 I-joists that have begun to split and a couple have started 'peeling'. This is not a good thing, especially when these joists are made not to split. This means the pressure placed on the foundation of this house is incredible. The stairway continues to come 'apart'.
A technical representative from the joist company came to the house to examine the joists. After his examination, I asked him about the issues regarding the splitting and he looked at me and said, "Splitting joists are the least of your problems." These joists are not supposed to split and he explained why they are. The steel posts are pushing the steel I-beam up. This in turn is pushing the joists up. As the joists are pushed up the ends that are held down by the framework are being pushed down by the pressure and therefore are splitting. I have to monitor the splitting and once they get to a certain length (they are currently between 5" - 15"), it will become a problem with the integrity of the house. I will continue monitoring the joists.
I am truly concerned that in the near future I will be walking down the stairs and the stairway will fall. At least at this point in time I don't have to worry about the gas line getting a crack and blowing up the house. I made Pulte replace the gas line. They had the report that said the gas line was a imminent safety issue and only after four days when I demanded it be changed, it finally was - some 5 hours later. I have a gas fireplace and am afraid to light it.
I have also found that on the north one-half of the house, the framework has come off the foundation 1/2". It may be more, but that was a significant number by itself. This explains why the blue insulation came out. The pressure from the house pushing down on the joists squeezed the blue insulation out just like squeezing a twinkie.
There has been movement in the framework of the garage. I can tell because the bottom corner of the garage and the concrete 'lip' of the garage floor is continually getting further apart. This is a problem but what makes it worse, field mice can enter. I have stuffed papers in the hole, but mice are tenacious. Because the door from the garage to the utility room will not close, I now have a rodent problem. I live in a home that is only four months old and have to contend with serious structural defects and a rodent problem.
It has now been discovered the garage floor is rising!! I probably forgot to mention previously, but the entire garage floor has cracked and separated from the foundation around the perimeter of the garage. As I mentioned above, the framework to the garage has moved and while I and another person were looking at it, he remarked, "look at your freezer!" It was tilted. I have measured it and will post pictures but one side is 15/16" of an inch higher than the other. This is incredible since the movement has happened in the last month.
The posts that hold up my deck are splitting down the middle vertically. However, the housing inspector said that was normal and there was no problem. Since this housing inspector was the one who approved the foundation inspection, I am skeptical. I will post some pictures and if I am mistaken and someone knows, please let me know and I will stand corrected. The deck is also coming away from the house. If that is not the case, the house is falling away from the deck. Either way, it is not good.
The front step to the house is rising now. You can visually see the threshold of the door slanted and the door looks cock-eyed. In addition it is starting to squeeze the siding on the west wall.
I mentioned above that Pulte Mortgage held my mortgage. I received a letter they sold it to Chase Finance beginning December 2006. Chase did not realize they purchased a mortgage on a house that isn't even worth the mortgage, or even the down payment! I am currently looking into this situation. An update on this. Chase is stuck. They are not happy at all.
Finally agreeing to hiring a foundation expert to pull core samples, Pulte contracted a company for December 8th 2006 . There was also another structural engineer inspection and another firm that took laser readings on this December 8, 2006 . I agreed to the inspections so that it will provide the higher management at Pulte the justification necessary to buy back this house as soon as possible.
The geo tech core sampling test results are in. If you would like to read the report, please click on enter.

While walking around with the structural engineer on December 8th 2006, more damage has been found. One of the windows in the basement is now cracked, evidently from the pressure. There is a 1/4" or more crack at the beginning of the hall in the ceiling, which is indication the house is tending to 'crack' in half. Also around the sides of the two back sliding doors, are cracking.
When I made a remark about the garage floor rising on December 8th, the president of the local area said that the floor was made that way. Rising so that the tilting of the freezer is very obvious and the brackets to the garage doors and the garage door openers are bending?
This house continues to degrade and to fall apart. Each time I say that the VP of construction of the Greater Kansas City area keeps saying, "that is your opinion". Structural engineering reports are stating this house is continuing to deteriorate.
I have been in contact with the geotech company since the report has been written. I told the president of the company that even though his 'opinion' that the basement floor would not rise any longer, it has. The problem is not only the expansive soil, but that the soil is saturated at a 97-98 percent. No one from Pulte or their companies on retainer have addressed where the water is coming from and or going and what can be done to stop the water flow. Please remember Kansas has been in a drought for two years now and having 'fat clay' (expansive soil) saturated at such a rate means there is an additional problem.
I continually ask how the basement floor rising pushing everything up will affect the roof. Pulte continually tells me there is no damage. On the 13th of December 2006 I decided to look for myself. The attic opening is in the garage. I put the ladder against the opening and climbed up. I climbed so that I was waist high. I didn't go into the attic since I live alone and if there was a problem, I would be in trouble. So I decided to see what I could just by standing in the opening. I found three boards that are perpendicular to the attic floor joists that are split, cracked and bending. These are not little cracks, they are substantial. I also found that at the top of the roof where it crests and the OSB board (I am sure it isn't plywood) arches together, at one point that I could see, it is separating. Below are a few pictures of what I could see and take decent pictures. The first two pictures are of the same piece of lumber, just better shots. The third board was too difficult to take a picture. I am speculating there is more damage in the attic in areas that cannot be seen. This house is unsafe . If you disagree, please drop me an email. If you know what these cracking and splitting boards will do to the integrity of the roof, please drop me an email.
Upon my insistence a pulte representative in the construction area came to the house on December 14th, 2006. I told him about the boards. He climbed into the attic. He leaned up on one of the boards and it broke into three pieces. He didn't see me, but I saw him. He patted the board back together. His assessment? He said that when the trusses and lumber are delivered it sometimes gets dropped. He is basically telling me that the boards were framed broken. He told me that the movement in the basement is not causing the boards to break.
The Pulte representative, the VP of construction of the greater Kansas City area told me the house was safe. Even though in my email I wanted to know what Pulte was going to do to shore up the roof, I have not gotten an answer. I was finally notified they are not going to do anything. Now that the geo-tech report has been finished, Pulte wanted to conduct a 5th structural engineer inspection in the attic. Why?
I found out via an email received on December 17, 2006 that pulte is telling people that I have not allowed them in this house (at all) to address any of the problems. This is untrue. The president of the pulte Kansas City area and the vp of construction were in this house on December 8, 2006 when the geo-tech guys were pulling cores, the structural engineer (inspection #3) and the foundation laser reading company were doing their thing. Now the vp of construction was at the house and in the attic on the 14th of December. They were in the house on January 4th attempting to fix the one door.
Regardless my comment was that I didn't want anything repaired until Pulte found out what the problem was. I don't want to expend any more time when the same thing is continually being repaired. Until the problem is solved, the 'symptoms' will continue to degrade. The broken boards, rising and splitting wood floors, racked windows, et al are 'symptoms' of the problem.
I have also found out that Johnson County is considered a zone 1 (high priority) for radon gas emissions. I do not believe my house was tested for radon. If it was tested, why didn't I receive a copy of the report? Upon review of the sales contract, it is the homeowners responsibility to test for Radon.
As of 14 January , I have not received either the structural engineer report or the report from the geo-tech on the core samples. The laser readings can be accessed here .
If you look at the numbers from the October 11th laser reading and the December 8th reading, they are still not as they are supposed to be! update
I was told on Wednesday evening, the 17th of January 2007 by a gentleman that came to my house that Pulte people were saying "terrible things about me".
Cosmetic versus structural. I have been informed in writing by Pulte that my I-beams, I-joists, the basement floor and basement (walls) are cosmetic. They are not cosmetic but the answer came to me on page 16, section 2 of Pulte's ten-year warranty. This is in the framing section but gives you the answer. paragraph 2.4 states:
"Cosmetic components will be repaired for a period of one year."
Enough said.
As ofMarch 5, 2007, Pulte is still stating in writing that there is 'nothing wrong with my house".
Pulte is now admitting the problems with my house were due to shoddy construction and poor workmanship, but it isn't their fault. They said it was the fault of the subs and me! (homeowner neglect)
April 17, 2007. I have been trying to ignore the signs, but again the front door is causing problems. The 'band-aid' fix that Pulte used to 'fix' the front door didn't hold. The door is getting very difficult to lock. If I brace myself against the door and hold up the handle I can get the lock and slot aligned to lock the door. The door is still unusable as of 30 July 2007. It is supposed to be repaired again by Pulte for the third time on 2 August 2007
I have seen Pulte's work proposal . Basically except for a few items in the least expensive option the geotechnical company suggested, Pulte wants to basically do very little to fix the problem. They will take out the basement floor, scrape off some of the offending soil, put in a drain and some gravel and put the floor back. They offered to fix the broken window in the basement and to mud over some of the cracks on the upper floor. The structural engineering firm, doing what Pulte tells them to do says the damage to the rising floor and the wood floor slats splitting and separating is because I didn't install a humidifier and it is normal wear and tear. When I filed my complaints with the trades board I made sure I included the receipt for the humidifier which I had installed two days after I moved in.
This house needs to be bought back by Pulte. The damage is getting worse.
April 27, 2006 a HVAC service member came to the house to check the furnace. A Pulte customer service representative was present too. Pulte could not deny checking out the furnace because it is one of the basics that is necessary and by law they cannot deny. I also had some issues with my hot water heater, but it was actually caused by some type of part in the shower faucet. Supposedly a part is being ordered to fix it. The furnace thermostat had an issue and it was fixed. Evidently it caused the fan to go on too much and therefore was sucking in too much cold air and causing the heat to turn on. This in turn caused a high heating (gas and electricity) bill.
We have been having a lot of rain and I mentioned that every time it rains, the one crack leaks. the Pulte customer representative went into the basement to check it out. Of course when it is not raining, you can't tell, so I have posted above the crack a really nice picture of the leaking that occurs. Pulte is evidently going to fix that. This is well and good, but will it restore the value to this house? The answer is an unequivocal NO!!! This damage has to be disclosed when selling and I can't imagine someone buying a house that has or has had leaking issues in addition to everything else.
The damage is getting worse. The floor is rising more causing bending and holes in the pressure points in the furnace duct. The HVAC repair guy told me that. As I mentioned it is difficult to lock the front door again and the threshold to the utility door is slowly but surely rising again even though it has been nailed down securely as was told to me by Pulte. I showed the Pulte customer service rep where the deck is coming away from the house. The cracks in the posts are getting worse also. The crack that runs parallel to the hallway is not only getting wider it is uneven. Pulte knows how bad this house is. Pulte knows this house can never be restored to the brand new house I purchased. Again all I am asking for is what I paid for - a brand new defect free house, as stated in their sales contract. This house was guaranteed to be defect free at closing.
On Friday May 11, 2007 , a representative toured my house. I told him the front door has been 'fixed' twice and because of the shifting of the house, it is broken again. I told him I couldn't lock the front door unless I leaned against the door, pushed up on the door with the handle and worked the lock back and forth until it eventually locked. He said, "Here let me try." So he did and he said, "I guess it doesn't lock." How safe can this be? In addition I cannot enter the door using the keys. It just doesn't work correctly.
If Pulte had found what the problem was when I requested in late summer of 2006, this house would probably not be damaged like this. They continually resisted and in my opinion only after I was on television did Pulte say they wanted to find out what the problem was. Of course now, it is being said that it is my fault. Well, it is NOT. It is not my fault that Pulte resisted time and time again. It is not my fault that Pulte didn't want to find out what the problem was. It is not my fault the damage has escalated. It is not my fault that Pulte didn't take the time to conduct soil testing before the house was built and/or during construction.
During the morning of Friday the 25th of May 2007 , a crack in the basement was caulked/siliconed over to prevent leaking. In addition, there was a malfunction with the shower faucet component in the master bathroom. This was also fixed. I have to believe the shower component will give me no more problems. However, with the foundation walls buckling whether the crack will cease to leak, well that is an unknown.
As of 20 June 2007 , my homeowners insurance was cancelled. My insurance company of over 30 years told me they could no longer take the liability that the house would fall down or someone would be hurt. I tried various other insurance companies and they would not insure me either. I tried to get "forced" insurance through the state of Kansas and I was again turned down. Insurance companies do not cancel your insurance for paltry repairs or cosmetic repairs. This is very serious. Pulte's band-aid patch would not allow this house to be reinsured. Pulte still denies there are any problems except for minor repairs.
Yesterday, Wednesday the 27th of June 2007 Pulte finally laid the last length of sod along the west side of my property, approximately two feet wide and the entire length of the property. I can't tell you how long I have been telling them they didn't finish sodding my property. One of my sprinkler heads was on the unsodded part and as part of the work proposal Pulte did offer to move the sprinkler head onto my property. It was already on my property!!! My question is, after almost a year of arguing this issue why are they willing to put down sod? Is this going to remedy the defective construction? Since I cannot use my sprinkler system nor water my lawn because the geotechnical company recommended I do neither, who will water is in question.
On 28 June 2007 the HVAC guys came to check out the air conditioner. It was not working. I had a problem in the winter in that it was not working. The HVAC guy changed some parts and it supposedly worked. Instead of trouble shooting the system Pulte had the entire unit replaced. That sounds like a good deal. However, I was supposed to have gotten a heat pump when I closed on the house. Instead I was given a 'plain' air conditioner. This was the reason I was given a new unit. Pulte did not deliver the product that was stated in the sales contract. The HVAC guys installed the new unit and the unit still did not work. Upon investigation it was found there was a blown fuse. When they fixed the fuse there were sparks, except not in the right place. Further investigation found that the wire line from the thermostat to the furnace had been squeezed and pinched in between the I-joists and the floor board. The HVAC guys had a hard time pulling out the wire and when they finally got it out discovered the reason the unit did not work and the fuse blew. The floor rising pushing up the I-joists caused the wire to rub in places exposing the copper wires. I was fortunate because this is a fire hazard. I am posting a couple of pictures of one or two areas of the worn wire.

On 2 August 2007 , I met with the Pulte customer representative. We started to go over the list of 56 items I had for the 11 month walk-through. According to the warranty, there are supposed to be several walk-throughs over the year. This is my first one since before closing. I had to demand this walk-through. After going through four or five of the issues, he didn't want to go through the rest on the list. I told him there were two easy fixes on the list and one was the dead tree on the easement, and the screen door. I stated I told the Pulte customer service representative three weeks after moving in they forgot to put a screen door on the slider. The Pulte customer service representative on 2 August 2007 told me, and this is exact, "the screen door is on order." I looked incredulous as I stated, "It has been on order for a year?" I was told by the customer service representative if Pulte went to the trouble to get experts to find out everything that had to be repaired, I had to agree to the repairs. I would not. I would not agree to something I had no idea what it contained.
Also on this date, the front door was 'repaired'. The hinges on the door were tightened, and the part on the door frame was moved lower to accommodate the door lock because the door is being moved because of the foundation rising below. I was told that in order to lock the door I have to either push with my shoulder or my hand and then lock. If I do not , the door lock will not fit in the part on the frame and of course will not lock. This is a band-aid repair and does not fix the door or the problem. (I will be posting pictures shortly)
The garage door railing was also fixed on 2 Aug 07 . The garage door guy, in front of the Pulte customer rep told me the brackets (the hold up the railings)were supposed to be bent. Of course, they are not as evidenced by the one bracket at the northwest side of the garage. The garage door was very difficult to open and shut and being afraid it would be caught up or down or not open, I requested it be fixed. Because I could not get into the front door I could foresee a horrific situation in that I would have to break a window in order to get in if the garage door failed.
The problem was the top railing is bolted to the ceiling and bends around the top of the wall. There is another piece of railing that fits against it and continues to the floor. The top railing had been pushed out of sync with the bottom railing. The garage door guy took a big hammer and started banging on the railing until it was in alignment with the bottom railing. He loosened and tightened some screws, greased the springs, loosened them a bit and the garage door is fixed, for now.
My friend Cindy and I met with the VP of Finance of the greater Kansas City area for Pulte on Wednesday the 15th of August 2007 . I am making the assertion that he is the acting president as the other president is no longer an employee. The gist of the conversation is that Pulte wants to do something that will make both of us (Pulte and me) happy. Pulte is unwilling though to repair the house so that I can get my insurance reinstated. They should garner some integrity and honor and buy this house back. I closed on a house that was promised to me in the Pulte sales contract that it was free of defects. It NEVER was.
On Monday, 27 August 2007 , I received an email from John Conley, the VP of Finance (acting president of the greater Kansas City Pulte) at 9:58.58 a.m. stating that if I agreed to the repairs then Pulte would give me a revised work proposal. I will not agree to a proposal that I cannot review and it would be stupid on my part to do so. The initial work proposal did not address the cause of the damage nor does it address 95% of the damage. In addition it would not allow my homeowner's insurance to be reinstated. As I have mentioned before, Pulte will not even repair this house to the point where I can get insurance. This house has been deemed structurally defective (unsound) by three insurance companies and the state 'fair plan'.
The two pictures below show how the front of my property is sinking. Looking at the house on the lower east side (left) you will see a water pipe. Please note how close it is to the ground. This picture was taken on 30 December 2006 . The picture taken on 6 October 2007 shows how far my property has 'sunk' since December. I posted the full picture so the date the picture was taken can be shown. Then I cut it so that the corner is more easily seen and can be compared with the most recent picture. This is a substantial degradation in the property line since December 2006. This water pipe is in line with the gutter that is sinking also. I do not know what is causing my property to sink.

These pictures were taken on 13 October 2007 This shows what my back yard property line looks like after a few hours of rain. When we have one of the serious storms, the water is about four to five times the volume and is almost to the back of my deck. You can see my neighbor in the back has placed rocks to slow down the water flow. He has two swales around his house and during the last storm, his house looked like it was on an island.

Remember this house is only going on 6 months, 7 months, 8 months, 9 months, 10 months, one year, 13 months, 14 months old, now 15 months. I don't know what is going on beneath this house, but it is happening at an alarming rate. Just imagine the type of force that is required to push the framing off the foundation 1/2 inch in 4 months!!!
I now know what is going on beneath the house and it is not good. Expansive soil. I have found the entire subdivision has been built on expansive soil. Evidently there is a huge area that includes this subdivision that has expansive soil, and wetlands. This is not the only new subdivision being built in this area either. These new findings only validate what I say - make sure the soil is tested before agreeing to the purchase of any house regardless of the builder.
The bottom line up front. the soil was not tested before the house was built. Therefore the foundation was not designed, engineered or built properly to withstand the expansive soil environment. Once the house was built, the foundation failed causing structural damages and defects. This house will never be the same. It will never be what I paid for - a brand new home free of defects. It will never be able to be sold. Who will buy a house when I have to disclose (as stated by the law) the house was built on expansive soil?
If the soil was tested and the foundation designed and engineered correctly none of what I state on this web site would probably have happened. Is this my fault? Of course not. I simply trusted the builder and his sales staff and that was my mistake.
I am posting the work proposal sent by Pulte.
This link will take you to the results of an infrared inspection which found vinyl siding installed incorrectly and moisture is being leaked in between the vinyl siding and the framework when it rains and more. This inspection was conducted on my friend's house who also lives in a defective house. Upon inspection of other homes in the neighborhood, their vinyl was installed the same way.
I have told no lies or embellished the truth on this web page. If you are local and would like to tour the house, please send me an email. I can provide proof for everything I have stated.
Attempting to be a detailed person I have kept every email and piece of correspondence from Pulte since January 2006. I even have some emails between the sales person and I before I signed the contract on 7 January 2006. I have the proof. I decided to post a picture of "the book". It is concise. In fact there is 13 one-half pounds of documentation.
Pulte Homes professes their ten year warranty/home protection plan endlessly. You will find it in all of their advertisements and signs along the roads in their developments. However, if you read the plan, they have breached their own warranty when it comes to this house.
Pulte Protection Plan – Warranty
Case in point: Page 3, Your rights and the rights of your home “The Spirit of the Warranty — Our warranty commitment is easy to understand and is based on COMMON SENSE. We believe The Homeowner has a right to expect a clean home complete and free of defects at the time of closing . Things should work.”
pg 4 What the Homeowner has a right to Expect from the Builder : 1. Soil Drainage — Your home has been placed on soil engineered to withstand the anticipated settlement based on soil conditions found in your area. It should not settle in such a way as to create structural problems during the warranty period.
Under section A. The Limited Warranty, page six (6), the warranty states: Ten Year Coverage — The Builder warrants the construction of the home will conform to the tolerances set forth in the below Performance Standards for Structural Elements for a period of ten years after the closing date, subject to the limitations set forth below. Structural Elements are footings, bearing walls, beams, girders, trusses, rafters, bearing columns, lintels, posts, structural fasteners, subfloors and roof sheathing.
If you tour this house you will see a slide presentation taped all over the house. It tells what has happened and what is happening and when. It also tells you about your First Amendment Rights. Don't ever be intimidated by people threatening your right to free speech. Check out a few of the signs people see that tour this house. It definitely is an eye opener. Yes, the front door has been temporarily fixed. Even though the shifting of the house is causing the door to become uneven and coming off the hinges, Pulte took off the existing rubber insulation and put up a super duper big piece of insulation. The front door problem was not fixed, but was given a band-aid.
The front door has been fixed twice. It is now misaligned again because of the movement of the house. I have to stand on a chair to get leverage (or else stand on the tip of my toes which doesn't give me much power), lean against the door and pull up on the handle to get the lock to align so that I can lock it. The west side of the door frame is being pushed up by the foundation wall. The lock apparatus is at least 1/2" or more from one another. The door has become so uneven, in order to lock the door, one person has to push against the door and hold it up, while another person jiggles the lock until it can fall in place. When people come to the house, they have to come in by way of the garage. The door is scheduled to be repaired again on 2 August 2007 . update The door has been given another band-aid repair.

Amendment 1 - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
More insight into the legal explanation of this amendment can be read on this page: First Amendment - An overview
Of particular interest is the following:
The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech where it attempts to regulate the content of the speech. A less stringent test is applied for content-neutral legislation. The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. The right to free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicates a message.
Despite popular misunderstanding the right to freedom of the press guaranteed by the first amendment is not very different from the right to freedom of speech. It allows an individual to express themselves through publication and dissemination. It is part of the constitutional protection of freedom of expression. It does not afford members of the media any special rights or privileges not afforded to citizens in general.
We are also protected by other laws. USC Title 18, Section 1513, federal whistle blower laws protects those that are informing the public about possible federal crimes such as predatory lending.
If you want to talk, have stories of your own, or would like some information, please send me an email.

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