Charlotte couple say builder did poor work, didn’t finish on time

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte couple say they’re rushing to find a place to live because their lease will be up soon, and the home they’re building isn’t ready, although it was supposed to be.

Eric and Janelle Smith say construction began on their house in Plaza Midwood in November. Their contract with builder AVH-ONE stated “substantial completion” by July 1, but the Smiths say the house isn’t substantially done.

They told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke that AVH-ONE did some shoddy work, and that it’s been hard getting answers from them.

“As far as the line of communication with the general contractor – terrible,” Eric Smith said.

In fact, the couple said they eventually hired some of their own subcontractors and bought their own materials.

“We’re probably 12 grand in the hole right now,” Eric said. “We just need some answers and we need them now.”

But they’re running out of time. The Smiths are currently renting another place, but they have to be out by end of the month. Now, they’ve had to post a plea on Nextdoor, asking if anyone has a place they can rent in August.

“We just want our house completed. We want to be able to move in,” Janelle said.

Stoogenke has tried multiple times since July 1 to get a comment from AVH-ONE. Hours after his latest attempt, Eric Smith said he got a call from the company, with updates on the work and an offer to cover the couple’s out-of-pocket expenses.

Stoogenke offers this advice when hiring a builder:

- Follow the work closely and raise concerns as soon as you have them — don’t wait. Put your concerns in writing if possible.

- Don’t pay a lot up front. As a general rule, don’t pay more than 1/3 of the total up front, unless you are asking the builder for something so specific to your home that they couldn’t use the materials on another project.

If the relationship does go south, you may have to hire a lawyer or go to small-claims court. You can also file a complaint with the state. In North Carolina, contact the Attorney General’s office. In South Carolina, contact the Department of Consumer Affairs. There is no cost to file a complaint.

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