Builder did not leave enough room for standard fridge

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Hello everyone. I thought I would stop here and ask everyone's advise about a problem that we have ran into on the house we are having built.
We have been building the house long distance and just moved to the area this week. We are supposed to close on the 25th.
We have ran into a problem with the fridge opening in the kitchen. The height and width seem fine, but there is a drawer and door in the cabinet corner that will open onto the fridge. The problem is that if you allow space for the drawer to open the depth of the fridge can not be any larger than 27 inches. A standard fridge is at a minimum of 34 inches, not including the door handle. We spent the evening going from store to store measuring and pricing cabinet depth fridges, and it looks like the ones that may work are about twice the price of regular fridges (about $1900 versus $1000 for the regular fridge). And it is questionable if the counter depth fridge will even work since they measure about 29 inches with handles. (we did find a fridge that measured under the well under the 27 depth but it was $2800)
We had our realtor meet us at the house today and she said that she didn't think it was a problem. She didn't think it would be a big deal to put a regular sized fridge there and just not use the door and/ or drawer.
I really think this is unacceptable. We have asked the the realtor and builder since the beginning what size fridge we should buy and they have told us repeatively that a standard size fridge would work. We never planned on spending so much for a fridge.
A picture of our kitchen from a couple of weeks ago can be found here (if is finished now): http://s155.photobucket.com/albums/s290/dawn3432/House/June4/?action=view&current 7-4797_IMG.jpg
Am I being unreasonable wanting something done about this or at least expecting the builder to pay part of the extra cost for the fridge?
Thanks, Kris
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kris3432 wrote:

I feel your pain Kris, and if nothing has been left out of your story then it sure sounds to me like your realator and builder are both real assholes. I HATE people like that who won't admit to and correct their mistakes.
However, if they are standing firm on their positions and you have no detailed construction plans and nothing in writing about the installation suiting a "standard sized" fridge, you may be stuck.
Maybe you could find a "halfway solution" to the problem by giving up on using the drawer and, as it looks like the cabinet door hinges are on the right side, living with only being able to open that door partially.
Jeff
--
Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Well I can't call the builder any names yet since he does not know about this problem yet and has not spoke to me about it.... but we are not very happy with the realtor at this point. I was under the impression that her job was to represent myself and my husband and it we had a problem that she would make it her problem, instead she seems to take the position that it is no big deal. (In a past problem a window on the front of the house was obviously misplaced and she didn't think it was a big deal either, but the builder was embarrassed about it and sent an crew to the house the same day a fixed it.) I just was wondering if I was being irrational bringing it to their attention and asking what could be done about it.
My personal opinion is that he should split the cost of the "upgrade" refrigerator with us.
Kris

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kris3432 wrote: ...top posting repaired...

> about this problem yet and has not spoke to me about it.... but we are > not very happy with the realtor at this point. I was under the > impression that her job was to represent myself and my husband and it > we had a problem that she would make it her problem, instead she seems > to take the position that it is no big deal. (In a past problem a > window on the front of the house was obviously misplaced and she > didn't think it was a big deal either, but the builder was embarrassed > about it and sent an crew to the house the same day a fixed it.) I > just was wondering if I was being irrational bringing it to their > attention and asking what could be done about it. > > My personal opinion is that he should split the cost of the "upgrade" > refrigerator with us.
I remember the previous conversation (and my advice as well... :()
Same thing goes as before, did you get the relationship of the realtor and yourself worked out or find out what fiduciary responsibility she had after the last snafu like I suggested? That would settle who's payroll she's on and give you either some leverage that she's not fulfilling her end of the bargain or let you know you aren't her primary client. W/O a clear understanding there, you're kinda' in limbo (again, or more accurately, still).
Second, I agree w/ Jeff -- what do the kitchen design drawings show and who drew and prepared and approved them? This is an obvious foopah to any even half-way experienced kitchen designer that shouldn't have shown up on the drawings. So, first question is, "is this what is _supposed_ to be there and are they installed where they're supposed to be?"
Again, until you know that you don't know what your standing really is on the issue.
Lastly, remember the last go-round? It started out the same way and as my Dad used to say when I was a kid, "Don't cry 'til you have something to cry about!" When you pointed out the previous problem, the builder was responsible and took care of it.
That bodes well that he's conscientious, even if your realtor is still (as I suggested last time) either on his payroll or simply a doofus. After I found out the deal on the design, I'd contact him and if it's not as supposed to be, I suspect he'll correct it. If it is, then, you've got a decision to make. I agree I think the arrangement as present is simply unacceptable, but it may cost you to get it fixed at this point if it is in line w/ the plans.
How you work it out in that case depends on how adamant you are about what you are willing to accept and live with (and remember, you're going to be living with it for a long time and it will probably only rankle more as the inconvenience continues and doesn't go away).
It's not possible to tell from the picture whether there would be room to insert a filler or make some other adjustment, but if the whole thing is complete, whatever (other than the special fridge) is going to entail some effort. There's where you need to know who's right/wrong...
If, otoh, the builder hasn't seen it himself as w/ the window, if he sees it, maybe he'll agree it sucks...
Again, while it's to late, I can't help but throw in a "told ya'" from my earlier advice that despite the distance you really needed to get down there and check up on what was going on much more frequently rather than just hope things worked out -- stuff like this always comes up and w/o some input, you're certainly at their mercy and it makes rectifying what could have been as simple as sending back a cabinet and getting a different one a major pita and real $$$ out of the builder's pocket. Of course, if he did make a mistake, that's part of the risk he assumes by not being more careful himself and relying on his crews, just as you took a chance to try to save some time/effort/trouble...
I do hope you get a satisfactory resolution and, based on the previous, incident, expect the builder will be more reasonable than the realtor (who I repeat, I think is incompetent at best, on the payroll of the developer at break-even, and a double-dipping two-faced crook at worst).
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Woah, Nellie. You thought "your realtor" was there to represent YOU???
First off, you have a serious problem with that. I don't know what state you live in or what the laws are there, so I can only address New York law. In New York, the real estate agent represents the selling. The agent has a whole list of responsibilities to the seller, but only honesty and fairness to you. Every confidence that to tell the agent, if it to the advantage of the seller, the agent MUST tell the seller. But the agent cannot disclose confidences to you. So of course, the agent thought it was no problem. That's the agent's role. Plus the agent get's no commission if you don't close.
Now, if you've entered into a buyer's agent arrangement, then the situation is different. But in NYS, the agent had disclosures to make to you in either case.
So go find out who the agent works for.
Now, given that. Get out the plans and check the kitchen plans. See if the builder did what the plans say. If so, well you approved it. If not, the builder much correct it. If you want the builder to change what you approved, then you go discuss cost with him. Hopefully you have plans that an architect or engineer designed and stamped. Then they will help straighten it out. If some kitchen designer did it, then go talk to them if it isn't right and have them fix it.
My guess is that the building is doing something "off plans".
In any case, It would have it fixed and go with a larger fridge. If you don't, you hate your kitchen forever.
Good luck with it.
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Looks like the cabinet guys messed up made some type of filler cube in the corner (what a waste of space..there doesnt seem to be any access from the cabinet) and then dropped the base cabinet [ is it a 24" cabinet?] in there to the left of the fridge.
Wouldnt it be a lot cheaper to pull out the "cube" and the cabinet and replace that cabinet with a narrower one..say a15" or 18" with a blind corner base to allow some access to the corner area.
IMO, tinkering with one or two cabinets to get a proper clearance for the (standard) fridge would be a lot better than spending a pile of $$ on custom fridge,
If the cabinet "planner" won't eat the cabinets, use them in your laundry room or garage.
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On Sun, 17 Jun 2007 03:30:03 -0000, Pat

I'm pretty sure that even in NYS, which representing the seller might be the most common or the assumption or even the default, a contract can be written so that the agent represents the buyer.
In addition, the situation here is that a home is being built. Is it being built to the order of the buyer, or does the builder own it until a sale is made after construction?
To the OP, I am not sure what else is meant to be on the left side of the picture. The fridge goes on the back wall right, and to the left of it is only cabinets.
Seems to me the cabinets should be redone, not that you should buy a different fridge. Even if they were to pay the extra 900 dollars (and I think it would be cheaper for them to redo the cabinets, no?) what happens the next time you need a fridge. Will they even make one that size then.
What is so hard about moving the cabinets closer to the camera, to the left along the wall?
What sort of cabinet is just to the left of the fridge? It has no doors. Can you store things there from the cabinet to its left. I have a space like that, and it's not very useful, but I keep things I rarely use in it, and I can get to them if I have to. At any rate, the system for that will probably be the same no matter what, just that can't that cabinet/space extend closer to the camera?

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kris3432 wrote:

Realtors sell houses. Realtors are not builders. Realtors are not construction superintendants. __________________

That depends upon the plans...if it was built according to plans he *owes* you nothing; if not, he is obligated to correct to specs...if he doesn't want to/won't do that, THEN you can haggle over who pays what.
--

dadiOH
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The problem that I am having with my realtor is that I have been told that I can't contact the builder directly, but have to go through her with any problems. The problem with that is that when I have a problem and tell her about it, she acts like it isn't a big deal. Then I have someone contacting the builder who doesn't seem to agree that there is a problem. I would prefer to deal directly with the builder. I feel like the realtor shouldn't have to go to the builder with every little problem, that I should be able to discuss things with him. Oh, and we do have a signed contract with her... she is a buyer's agent. The problem we are running into is the her boss and broker, is the seller's agent... and he basically makes her handle both sides.
We didn't have much of a choice but to build the house long distance, we are military and did not really have the budget to live in a rental while waiting for something to be completed. We drove down here a couple of times to deal with problems directly, but we were told by the realtor that she handles long distance builds all the time and she would go buy the building site and take pictures and make sure everything was on track. But, due to some vacations she went on and the seller's agent went on it put a lag time between addressing my issues. The plans to the house were shown to us by the realtor and I am not entirely sure whose plans they were. I believe they were from another local builder, that our builder could have got the plans for, but instead he just redrew the plans himself. When we finally received a copy of "his" plans we found several "issues," but he had all ready poured the foundation before we received them. So, it resulted in a few of our wants getting left out... and we just lived with it.
I will never build another house with this arrangement. In the future I will want to deal directly with either the builder or someone in his office... not a realtor that they go through.
The plans that we received are just an overhead plan, that does not outline what kind of cabinet goes where, all we see is countertop... and no exact measurements. From what I can tell the counter placement is with an inch or two of being correct... but without exact measurements it is hard. Hindsight is 20/20 and I know what I should request from the next builder.
I think we are going to go ahead and order a counter depth refrigerator at our cost and hope that it will work. We hope that the builder will be willing to change over the front of the cabinet to a single door design and get rid of the problem drawer if it is an issue.
This is the first house we owned, and I had no idea what to expect. I guess I just figured that the builder knew what he was doing and when he said that the spot would hold a regular-sized fridge that he knew what he was talking about.
I think counter-depth fridges are becoming pretty standard now and we shouldn't have a problem replacing it in the future. I just wish it didn't cost double for a smaller fridge... but that is a entirely seperate complaint.
A couple responses to your direct comments:
1) Many of you have suggested just not using the drawer.... my personal opinion is that this is a NEW house.... and it would look pretty ridiculous to have a drawer blocked by the fridge.
2) dpb - As for not crying until I have something to cry about... I was posting her to get some opinions on how I should handle the problem.. not complaining about the problem... I do not want to go off on the builder/realtor if the majority of people I discuss this with says it is not their problem/fault...
3) Pat - We have a contract with the realtor, she is a buyer's agent for us.
4) Marilyn and Bob - not sure how if a narrower cabinet would fix the issue...
5) Rudy - the enitre "blind" corner cabinet is accessible... just very hard to get to
6) AEM - I wish a lazy susan cabinet would fit there... unfortunately it requires another 10 inches... then the spot will be too narrow for a standard fridge
7) Homer - I am entirely confused by your response... Yes we did build it long distance... but at the same time I believe the builder doesn't get a license to mess up on things because I am not here to catch them. I am not mad at the realtor for not catching the problem... because it was not incredibly obvious until you measured it. But, I did ask about the fridge opening multiple times and was told that it would fit a standard fridge.
8) JimR - We did budget more money for the house than originally planned... but I believe the fridge issue is something that should have been caught by the builder or the cabinet designer. The builder did not want to get the original plans and insisted on creating them himself... so I am not quite sure where he got the kitchen cabinet layout from. I do agree with you that a cabinet-depth fridge would be the best solution even if he will fix the cabinets for us. Unfortunately there is not enough room in the spot for a lazy susan.
9) dadOH - not sure where you got the idea that I think my realtor is my construction foreman... Unfortunately I am required to go throuh her when I find a problem.
Thanks for all the replies. I think we know how to address the situation with the builder/realtor tomorrow.
Kris
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In NV an agent representing both sides has to disclose this and document it with your signature; to acknowledge that your know this in advance.
An agent that would minimize my concerns would really "tick" me off. Tell her you will NOT close on the house, without resolution of these concerns.
How long before your agreement/contract expires? Then fire her!
File a complaint with a state/local agency governing realtors.
Just my 2 cents.
-- Oren
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the photo..
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kris3432 wrote:

Says who? Doesn't the builder have a listed number? What prevents you from calling him/his business directly?

This, then, almost undoubtedly is in direct conflict w/ your state's rules and laws on disclosure and fiduciary responsibility of the agent to the client. I would make a _BIG_ issue of it w/ whatever is the state governing/oversight organization for realtors. You could possibly get very quick change in attitude by involving them.
...

I wouldn't accept that as the only solution prior to discussing it w/ the builder and seeing what other options they suggest/are amenable to unless you are really quite comfortable with that. Remember this house would presumably be where you're going to be for quite some time to come.

Well, it does from one point of view which is probably all he actually thought about when asked -- it's a wide enough hole for almost any "standard" and I suspect that's the only dimension he even thought about at all.

Well, it isn't really separate -- the issue wouldn't have arisen w/o the poorly laid out cabinet arrangement/choice. Again, I'd not settle _too_ easily up front unless it really is ok, not just will-do.

I agree 110% on that one...

I think you took it slightly differently than I intended -- what I meant was that the builder took care of the previous issue and handled it quite satisfactorily iirc, recognizing it was indeed a problem. I'd not assume he won't deal with this as well until _after_ the direct conversation -- and I'd _demand_ it from the realtor before I settled for anything. I thought it a little premature to raise the question in the manner and trying to point that out. Asking for alternative solutions to the arrangement, however, totally appropriate.
The only place where I can see the builder getting a little bowed-in-the-back in resisting is that the problems don't get raised until work is essentially complete. That's apparently in part due to the doofus realtor you're stuck with, but it's also a problem that you haven't been on site enough. IIRC it was a couple hours away -- and I know that's a lot of extra time/effort, but I think one of you should have found a way to get up there more frequently. But, that's a "live and learn" and as you say, you know now not to try it this way again...
I'm hoping it all comes out well, and thanking you and your hubby for your military service. I do strongly suggest that you immediately find out who is the oversight for realtors in the subject area and get some advice from them--many states have an ombudsman-type position for such. Perhaps there's also some legal advice easily available on post you can ask for clarification of standing w/ the realtor and see if there isn't a way if this is, indeed, a buyer's agent arrangement that you get what you're supposed to get and no less.
--
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I presume that you have an attorney representing you for the closing. I also presume that you have not provided full payment towards the purchase price of the house. Instruct your attorney to contact the realtor and say that final payment will not be made until certain issues are resolved to your satisfaction. The realtor is working for a commission. If you jeopardize that she should get her rear in gear.
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I have to wonder Kris, did you research this builder b4 going ahead with this? Did you check him out with the BBB or get references? Did you see other homes he's built..?
This does NOT strike me as the kinds of mistakes an experienced builder would make. And I'd have to wonder about what (structural?) mistakes he's made that you wont immediatly see until it's too late.
SInce he provided the floor plan, he's totally on the hook. Since you signed on with HIM, unfortunatly, you're stuck with him..But we have to learn somehow..
I purchased a new (vacation) home (I've owned others in the past) that was already under construction (a couple of weeks to finish, spec home) last year and nothing has approached this type of unprofessionalism I see with your builder. You should find MORE good things the closer you look at a new home (in these modern times) not more BAD things. I came from 1200 miles away to do so and I had 5 months in which to do it before returning. But I researched him online before hand and with the BBB, etc..And I didn't use an agent.
As far as your real estate person goes, trust me they are representing THEMSELVES no matter what the paperwork says. And filing a complaint is a waste of time. OTOH, if more people did it en masse then maybe it wouldn't be (who knows).
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On Sun, 17 Jun 2007 16:26:44 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net wrote:

Then you're Nifonged!! -- Oren
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the photo..
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Others have commented on this. This seems to be a clear conflict of interest as you say her broker boss is working for the seller. Don't know about your state's laws, but I think you should consult your attorney and the state Attorney General and the state realty board. There is something wrong here.

The purpose is to put another filler in to compensate for the 6 or 7 inches that the refrigerator now sticks out preventing the door and drawer to open, A narrower door and drawer would then be able to open.

I agree.
--
Peace,
BobJ

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This is not that uncommon, actually, although if this wasn't all properly disclosed, then there may have been a violation of laws or ethical standards.
Consider, for example, if you are a buyer, and you go to a major real estate company, such as Century 21, or RE/Max, and retain one of their agents as your buyer's agent.
There will be many houses listed through other agents at that office, and those agents and your agent will be under the same boss at the office. Blammo--conflict!
--
--Tim Smith

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That's a regional thing, so depends on where they are. In many parts of the country, an attorney is usually not used for closing.
--
--Tim Smith

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On Sun, 17 Jun 2007 14:15:11 -0700, Tim Smith

Yes. Title Company AND Title Insurance.
-- Oren
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the photo..
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Tim Smith wrote:

That's a personal mistake thing, not necessarily regional...biggest investment most people make in their lives and they wing it...to save a few hundred bucks, maybe. :(
--
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Who said anything about winging it? The title company in most of the western US handles closing. There would be no point in bringing a lawyer. Here's how it works.
The title company receives all the paperwork from the mortgage company, and arranges for the seller to come in and sign all the documents the seller needs to sign.
When this is done, the title company notifies the buyer, and tells the buyer the size of the cashiers check he needs to bring (or the amount of money the buyer needs to wire to the title company, if he prefers that option), and makes an appointment for the buyer to come in.
The buyer comes in, and signs all the relevant documents and hands in the check.
The title company goes and files the deed for the buyer (and for most of us, the other document that gives the lender their interest in the property), and then notifies the real estate agent the buyer is dealing with. The buyer can then go pick up the keys from the agent.
(I say "title company" above, but I suppose technically it is the escrow company for much of it, but they are usually the same company).
Here's a list of how closings are handled in each state:
<http://www.owners.com/Tools/Library/ShowArticle/24.aspx
Note that the are sometimes significant variations within a state. Look at California for example.
--
--Tim Smith

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