What are our options if the builder did not follow the floor plan?

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What are our options if the builder did not follow the floor plan?

We are building our home and it is in a pre-drywall state. When we measured the room size, we found the sizes of 2 rooms are smaller than what the builder has shown in the floor plan. When we raised this concern, the builder came back saying that the construction is as per the plan and there was a printing mistake in the marketing material. One room Size 14’x14′.3” in floor plan but after construction, it is 12′.5’x14′. Another room size 14’x12′ in floor plan but after construction, it is

13′.’7’x11′.11′

Asked on May 12, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is likely that you could sue based on either or both of fraud (misrepresentations as to room size being made to get you to buy/build the home) and/or breach of contract (if the contract with the builder incorporated or referenced the measurements in the marketing material). But since these changes would almost certainly not be considered "material" or important, you would not be able to terminate or void the contract, but could only get some amount--possibily a modest amount--of compensation for the discrepancy.
Example of how a court could evaluate the case. 14x14.3 vs. 12.5x14 is a difference of 25.2 sq. feet; 14x12 vs. 13.7x11.11 is a difference of 15.93 sq. feet; you are a total of 41.13 sq. feet short. Say the whole house was supposed to be 2,000 sq. feet and instead you have 1,958.87 sq. feet; that means your house is 2% short in sq. footage. Say you are spending $150,000 on the construction (the sq. foot difference in the house does not affect the size or value of the lot, so only the house portion of the total price is in issue): if you were shorted by 2%, a court might give you $3,000 back. Whether it is worth going to the trouble and cost of a lawsuit in this hypothetical example (assuming the builder does not voluntarily give you some compensation) is debateable--remember: if you hire a lawyer, you have to pay out of pocket and cannot recover you legal fees.


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