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This web site contains the original, full text of Crumbling Dreams, published in 1993. The only change is to the Bibliography, updated and now fully linked to (The original bibliography is also included, to show how much information was available in the early 1990s about home building & buying.) Paperback copies of both Crooked House and Crumbling Dreams are still listed as available via

Click here to order Crooked House from

Click here to order Crumbing Dreams from

Crumbling Dreams

Crumbling Dreams

What You Must Know Before Building or Buying a New House (or Condo)

-- Table of Contents --

Section 1 -- How one couple lost a fortune while winning the largest residential construction case ever tried in their state

Section 2 -- Why you may be out of luck if you buy a defective house -- no matter what the contract says. True stories from all over the country

			Some Explanations
			"Cancer Wrapped in Ribbons and Lace"
			Anyone Can Become a Victim
			Where Are The Inspectors?
			The Seville Place Fiasco
			What About Homeowner Warranties?
			The Law Is Stacked Against You
			Between a Rock and a Hard Place	
			The Situation in North Carolina
			Why Can't Americans Get Their New House Fixed?	
Section 3 -- Why do the bad guys win? A psychiatrist looks for some answers

Section 4 -- How to prevent a nightmare from developing with your new home

Section 5 -- Some advice for people who design, build and sell new houses, and for other involved parties

Bibliography -- An annotated listing of books to help you build or buy a well-constructed new house (or condo)

Appendix -- A few worthwhile organizations

Crumbling Dreams: What You Must Know Before Building or Buying a New House (or Condo)

Ruth S. Martin, M.D.


Copyright © 1993 by Ruth S. Martin

Published by Lakeside Press

All Rights Reserved.

Cover design by Debra Shirley

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Preassigned LCCN: 92-072164

ISBN 1-879653-06-0

1. House buying. 2. House construction. 3. Home ownership. I. Title

TH4817.5.M36 1992 643.12



To new-home buyers everywhere,

especially those who received less than they

paid for


My purpose in writing this book is to help anyone buying, or even contemplating buying, a newly-built home. In doing so I pull no punches but "tell it like it is." What I offer are prudent recommendations and sound advice about how to protect yourself when building or buying a new house or condominium. I disclaim liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage that may result from reading this book. Throughout the book I recommend you hire top flight professionals to help investigate and complete your purchase; in fact, that is the only way that you can come close to being fully protected. No book can substitute for professional, local help. The key is to find the "right" people for your house.

If I have made any factual errors, or misquoted any article or person, please let me know. If any reader disagrees with my opinions or recommendations strongly enough to write, I would like to hear from him or her.

Ruth S. Martin, M.D., Cleveland

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