The story of being sold a dream but buying a nightmare is often heard by Morrows Legal. Our clients trust the experts and assume that their particular skill set encompasses accountability, transparency, and above-board practices. Unfortunately, however, this is not always the case. Making these assumptions often leads homeowners into a world of unnecessary financial and emotional pain. This is the downside of trusting the process when building a home.
Meet Bishnu Aryal, a hardworking individual trying to build a home for his family. Without legal advice, Mr. Aryal purchased property along with a builder’s home design plans. What he was sold was the dream of his first family home. However, the outcome of this transaction was far more disappointing due to miscommunication, and a lack of legal guidance and advice for inexperienced parties.
Arriving at the end of the project with a home that is worth less than its cost and that presents further unexpected challenges before you even move in is not why you signed the contract. It is also avoidable. Read on to find out why homeowners fall into this trap and how it can be avoided.
In short, most homeowners aren’t equipped with the knowledge needed to correctly review their Domestic Building Contract. Such knowledge ensures that their interests are being protected and that the process is as transparent as possible for them.
A contract may be drafted by a builder in a way that caters to the builder’s interests but that may be unfavourable for the homeowner. When a homeowner engages a builder, the builder’s role is to convert the client’s ideas, desires, and needs into reality. Unfortunately, this does not always transpire in the way originally intended, and modification can be made during the build phase for a variety of reasons including council rules and regulations.
For Bishnu Aryal, it meant that the home he believed to have bought was not delivered and instead of a financial headache. With the benefit of hindsight, Mr. Aryal “would recommend people have a good solicitor to check the documentation before they sign.”
Engage a lawyer from the beginning
The easiest way to avoid a horror story is to engage with a lawyer as soon as discussions begin with the builder. The lawyer can explain certain terms in the contract that may be unfair or have the potential to cause problems in the future. For example, a common inclusion is that a builder will promise the client’s specifications verbally, however, if these specifications are not within the contract or design the builder is not bound by its inclusion.
One consultation with a lawyer has the potential to save thousands of dollars not to mention stress and other negative experiences. When you engage a lawyer, there is clear communication between all parties. The lawyer is there to ensure the dialogue is transparent and fair. Once you have signed the building contract, you do have a 5-day cooling-off period, however, a lawyer should be engaged well in advance of signing to obtain the benefits of legal advice.
It’s important to understand that once you sign a building contract it is extremely difficult to terminate or modify. Accordingly, it is crucial to engage a lawyer earli in the process to ensure that the contract terms are favourable to you. Don’t just trust the process. Make sure that one poor decision does not have huge consequences for your home build.
If you’re looking to build a home or need to engage a lawyer to review a Domestic Building Contract, contact our team today. With years of experience in the industry, we apply our expert knowledge to get you the best result.