And They Built A Crooked House, by Ruth S. Martin



July - We see ad for the lot and meet the developer.
August - We meet the developer's architect; the design process begins.
October - Architect's plans are completed.
November 8 - Contract is signed with developer in our lawyer's office; we meet the builder for the first time.
November 11 - Construction begins.


February - We receive letter from architect: "your home is one of our stronger designs."
May 17 - Occupancy permit granted.
May 30 - Extension of closing to June 6 granted by developer, in writing.
June 5 - Developer demands an extra $1700 before he turns over the deed; we compromise on $850, due by end of year.
June 10 - Real estate closing.
June 17 - We move in.
Summer - Problems with house become apparent; builder notified.
Fall - More problems surface. No major repair is accomplished by builder. Our frustration mounts.
December 15 - We send letter and comprehensive list of house problems to builder and developer. There is no response.


January 8 - Architect comes to inspect the house, then writes us that the sloping kitchen floor is an "optical illusion."
January 22 - Developer sends brief letter asking for his $850; does not acknowledge our December letter or problems with the house.
January 24 - We send second letter to builder and developer and include my 'Log of Daily Frustrations.'
February 26 through March 4 - Builder attempts some repairs, causes more damage to the house.
March 6 - Builder is asked to cease working on the house.
March 9 - We write our fourth and final letter to builder and developer, with copy to architect.
March 10 - Litigator hired.
April - Structural engineer, architect, and contractor survey the house. Initial estimate for repair is about $100,000 and three to four months' time; work will require us to move out.
May 12 - Meeting at house of architect, builder, and their representatives; neither developer nor any representative of his attends.
June 23 - Builder's insurance company blames architect for "90% of the problems" and makes no offer to fix the house.
July - Our lawyer writes letter to developer demanding that he buy back the house; developer does not respond.
July 23 - Lawsuit is filed against the developer, builder and architect.
September 23 - First pretrial hearing held in judge's office.
October 26 - Builder's insurance company lawyer, representing all three plaintiffs, offers to fix part of house and "proceed with litigation on disputed items."
December 4 - Builder's lawyer criticizes us for not mitigating damage and fixing the house "within a week."
December 7 - Third pretrial hearing takes place; trial is set for April 11, 1988.


January 8 - Judge visits the house.
January 12 & 13 - Depositions of defendants and their experts; developer denies "any responsibility" for our house.
February 2 - Developer's structural engineer confirms sloping floors.
February 18 - Experts from both sides meet and agree on the major structural defects.
March 15 - Fifth pretrial hearing in judge's office; trial is re-scheduled from April 11 to May 16.
April 13 & 14 - We are deposed.
April 27 - The builder is deposed.
May 3-11 - Our experts are deposed.
May 16 - On morning of trial defendants' attorneys convey verbal offer to fix the house. The trial is canceled and our lawyer begins preparing Settlement Agreement for defendants to sign.
June - Defendants refuse to sign Settlement Agreement. Trial is rescheduled for October 11, 1988.
Summer - Another builder surveys house in order to give more detailed repair estimate.
September - New repair estimate is submitted: $92,000, and four months to fix. We will have to be out of house during repairs.
October 11 - Trial begins.
October 14 - Trial is postponed until October 24.
October 24 - Trial resumes and ends same day.
November 30 - Judge sends his decision to all the attorneys.
December 9 - Our attorney files Motion asking judge to amend his decision to award us interest, experts' fees, and closing costs.


January 9 - Developer's attorney files an Objection to our Motion.
January 15 - Our attorney files a Rebuttal to the Objection.
January 21 - Judge denies our Motion in its entirety, without explanation.
January 31 - Our attorney and developer's attorney meet in judge's office to work out details of house transfer.
March 15 - Title is transferred on the house.
June 22 - We move.
July 2 - Article about house appears in Sunday edition of the daily newspaper.
July 6 - Article about house appears in a weekly suburban newspaper.
July 13 - Articles appear in suburban newspapers, quoting developer and architect.
August 3 - House is advertised for sale `by owner,' for "low 400's."
August - Marketing of house is turned over to realty company; it is advertised for $398,000.
August - We learn of builder's deceptive letter and misrepresentations to prospective purchasers.
August 11 - Our attorney writes developer's attorney, warning that developer should cease distorting the case and making false accusations.
September 29 - Our attorney writes president and agents of realty company, warning them about making false and misleading representations in marketing the house.


January 22 - My article about the house is published in Medical Economics.
March - Developer sells house.


April - Crooked House is published.

-End of Chronology-