Paul Liberatore

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Pre-sale buyer battling with builder over new townhouse


A Surrey man is battling with the builder of his new townhome over repairs he believes are inadequate, but he doesn't want the developer's crews doing the fixes.

Frank Loughrey was excited to move his family into their brand new Surrey townhome last May.

"Both my wife and I really liked the clean lines, white walls, light floors, light cabinetry," Loughrey said. 

But when they moved into the home they bought presale, they noticed the countertop was chipped, one of many cosmetic deficiencies they said they saw.

"There's paint all over the tile, baseboards weren't cut to proper length," Loughrey said.

Then last summer, there was a leak in the basement. Loughrey said their baseboards and underlay were wet, and their carpet started to grow mould.

Flagships Projects, the company that built the townhouse, came to fix the problem but the family was unhappy with the repairs.

"The stud was replaced incorrectly, the insulation was replaced in pieces instead of full strips, there was still holes in the vapour barrier," Loughrey said.

"Nothing was done properly."

He told the home warranty company that he wanted a third party to fix this and other deficiencies, but said he was told the company would close his file if he didn't let the builder make the repairs.

The owner of Flagships Projects, Bahadur Sandhu, insists the repair was done properly.

"There's no more leaks, it's already fixed," he said.

"If he's not happy, that's his problem. We stopped the water."

Sandhu said the other deficiencies are small, and have recently been or will soon be repaired. He said he thinks the homeowners are being unreasonable.

"He's very, very picky. I have lots of other people and no problem. I told you I've done 1,000 houses, it's no problem. He's picky for no reason," Sandhu said.

But Loughrey said he won't stop pushing until everything is fixed.

"I'm so frustrated because this is the biggest investment of our lives. This is for my family," he said.

The Loughreys said they wish they'd had a home inspection before completing the sale, but felt pressured in an overheated market.

Bob de Wit, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association, says buyers need to ask presale developers plenty of questions.

"Specific questions like, 'Can you give me examples of previous developments you've developed?' Or, 'You've developed how many units over the last five years? Can we speak to some of those homeowners?'"

The GVHBA is a non-profit organization representing professionals in the residential construction industry. The group hosts free seminars meant to educate the public on the real estate industry, including about the purchase of pre-sale residences.

The Loughreys wish they'd done more homework before buying, but said they're determined to make their new townhouse a home.

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