What happens when your new home has flaws? This is what you need to know

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ELLENWOOD, Ga. — With home inventory being so low in metro Atlanta right now, a newly constructed house has become an attractive option for many people looking to buy.

But those new homes come with their own set of potential problems.

There’s no history of a new construction home to check, nothing to inspect. You are essentially buying a promise that things will be built correctly.

“Pretty much every single room has flaws and defects from Day One. They continue to get worse as the days go on,” Hudson said.

Donald Hudson told Channel 2 consumer investigator Justin Gray that he has found more than 30 serious problems in his new Ellenwood home.

Other neighbors in the newly built community -- Tuxedo Estates -- also told Gray they are dealing with construction problems in their houses.

“We were given a gas fireplace but there’s no gas in the neighborhood. So we have a beautiful fireplace under our TV, but no way to use it,” neighbor Jamie Wilson said.

“It’s a purchase that you can’t just walk away from,” neighbor Erica Macon said.

“You stay up at night. I do, just wondering, ‘Did I make a huge, huge mistake?’ And it brings tears to your eyes,” neighbor Antonio Mahone said.

Hudson is an engineer and a military veteran. He’s meticulous and he’s been that way when it comes to documenting and reporting problems to the builder under the home’s 1-year warranty and 10-year structural warranty.

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“You see a defect, they see a defect, and they just paint right over it,” Hudson said.

“You have so few rights under state law. It’s shocking,” said Channel 2 consumer advisor Clark Howard.

Howard told Gray that new construction builder contracts favor the developer under Georgia law and to protect yourself, you should start early in the construction process.

“You should do periodic inspections with an inspector of your own choosing. I’d like for you to have three inspections, one at framing, and then two additional phases that the inspector will recommend. And you don’t close. If an inspector says this isn’t right, that’s not right. This needs fixing,” Howard said.

My Homes Communities developed the Tuxedo Estates neighborhood and told Channel 2 Action News in a letter that it remains ready, willing, and able to address any item that exceeds warranty standards. If any homeowner is not satisfied, the dispute is to be resolved by an arbitrator.

And that’s what Hudson has done. His case is now in arbitration.

“Do you regret this purchase?” Gray asked Hudson.

“Absolutely, I do,” Hudson said.

My Home Communities said it has resolved the other families’ homeowner complaints.

If you do experience problems when you move in, document it, take pictures and keep records.

Howard said you should submit all the warranty complaints by certified mail whether the builder requires it or not.

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