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
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/
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):
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?
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
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.
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.
> 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.
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).
Woah, Nellie. You thought "your realtor" was there to represent
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
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.
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
If the cabinet "planner" won't eat the cabinets, use them in your laundry
room or garage.
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
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?
Realtors sell houses. Realtors are not builders. Realtors are not
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
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
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
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
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
4) Marilyn and Bob - not sure how if a narrower cabinet would fix the
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.
In NV an agent representing both sides has to disclose this and
document it with your signature; to acknowledge that your know this in
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
How long before your agreement/contract expires? Then fire her!
File a complaint with a state/local agency governing realtors.
Just my 2 cents.
..through the use of electrical or duct tape, achieve the configuration in the
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
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.
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.
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
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).
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
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.
This is not that uncommon, actually, although if this wasn't all
properly disclosed, then there may have been a violation of laws or
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
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 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:
Note that the are sometimes significant variations within a state. Look
at California for example.
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