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TTI Home Team Tackles Touch-Up Housing Market

Daryl Strickland covers real estate for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-5670, and at daryl.strickland@latimes.com

With homes selling at their briskest pace in a decade, home builders--especially larger ones--have struggled with providing warranty service after selling new homes.

A leading trade journal, Builder magazine, reported in its June issue that “shortages of skilled labor now top the list of problems home builders across the country report.”

Even California builders, when polled by National Survey Systems of Irvine, rated their own customer-service programs as only fair, scoring them on average 5.5 on a 10-point scale.

Consequently, TTI Home Team, a division of Trade Temps Inc. of Orange, launched its third-party customer service program last month. The concept allows builders to maintain their focus on building new homes, while TTI handles calling back subcontractors to do touch-up work on small flaws that irritate buyers.

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Getting builders to turn from their aggressive construction schedules and follow up on repairs of newly built homes has grown worse. The Home Builders’ group reports that the average response time for callbacks has risen to nine days, from six days in 1996, the organization said.

After announcing its new service at a statewide trade show, TTI received 300 inquiries from California builders, and from as far away as Michigan and Florida.

“We think the potential is very large,” said Ron Berger, TTI’s director of operations.


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