Imagine spending more than $300,000 for a brand new home, only to discover your yard is a dumping ground for all the other new homes in your subdivision.
It has just happened to one woman, and her experience should be a warning for all potential new home buyers.
Yard Used as Landfill?
Gertha Rosario thought her new home would be her dream home. But instead, she says, it's a garbage dump.
"They've just left a dumping site," she said.
The home is surrounded by a quagmire of mud, rocks, concrete, wood and plastic left by the builders.
"Any rocks, any wood, any debris that they had from other homes," she said, "they just left it here, they did not pick it up at all."
Rosario has photo after photo of construction trash from neighboring homes she has found half-buried. She says the builder just wants to spread it out and cover it up with grass, which she considers unacceptable.
In addition, she says it was only when she had a fence installed a few weeks ago that construction crews finally stopped using her yard as a cut through, parking lot and dumping ground.
"They brought the equipment here and used it as a parking lot, just left it here, whenever they wanted to," she said.
It's a common complaint with new homes. A report on Gardenweb.com says "many builders find it cheaper to bury debris left over than to haul it away."
Don't Let this Happen to You
So how can you protect yourself if you are buying?
Real estate agents say before the closing date, you should get a written assurance from the builder that they will not dump construction debris in your yard, where it can cause sinkholes in a few years.
Rosario has one message for her builder: "Come and clear the debris off my property. And I want it graded. And I want them to assure me no more damage will be done to my property."
We have contacted her builder's local office and its national headquarters, where a spokeswoman said they will look into Rosario's complaint.
But it is a lesson to all prospective home buyers to get everything you want in writing before you sign the final paperwork, so you don't waste your money.
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