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Appendix. A few worthwhile organizations
If you have a problem, start locally. To find out if your builder is
licensed, or if a license is required, contact your state's licensing board.
To find out about your rights under the law, contact the Consumer
Protection Division (every state has one) or the state attorney general's
office, and make your complaint. Beyond this and the obvious step of
contacting an attorney are a precious few consumer-oriented
organizations that might be able to help in a general way. They can give
you some leads on who to call about your particular problem, and
perhaps other useful information as well.
United Homeowners Association
805 15th St., N.W., Suite 310
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: 1-800-787-HOME or 202-408-8842
A 5000-member trade group that champions the rights of all
homeowners. Founder Jordan Clark says he "discovered there are 11,000
organizations in this city and not one was for the homeowner. So I
started one." For $12 a year membership you receive a newsletter and
access to a wide range of benefits.
North Carolina Homeowners Association
P.O. Box 458, Carrboro, NC 27510-0458
Phone: 919-859-2711 or 919-967-1407.
By far the best state organization of its type. NCHA's officers are willing
to give advice and information to callers from other states.
American Homeowners Foundation
1724 S. Quincy St.
Arlington, VA 22204
Provides standard homeowner/remodeler contracts ($5.95 for the first
copy, additional copies $1.95 each). Also publishes three inexpensive
books, one each on buying, selling and investing in real estate.
P.O. Box 8247
Historic Hermitage, TN 37076
The Ridgemere Institute is a non-profit organization co-founded by Mrs.
R. Jean Fisher, a Tennessee homeowner who experienced problems
collecting on a homeowners warranty policy. The Institute functions as
a clearinghouse for information and complaints about home warranty
companies. One of the Institute's stated goals is "the regulation by the
Federal Trade Commission in the operation of all ten year home
The Building Institute
127 S. Broadway
Nyack, N.Y. 10960
Publishes consumer-oriented books about building and buying houses.
Published the 1984 edition of How to Avoid the 10 Biggest Home-Buying
Traps by A.M. Watkins.
American Arbitration Association
140 West 51st Street
New York, N.Y. 10020-1203
This organization seeks to provide impartial arbitration for all sorts of disputes. AAA will provide names of real estate arbitrators in your area. I recommend you not go to any arbitration proceeding without a competent attorney representing your interests.