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Old 11-10-2008, 10:23 AM
 
4 posts, read 10,656 times
Reputation: 10

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Beware! My husband and I signed a contract on a house being built in Christenbury Mews and put $7500 down. The sales agent made us sign a no-contingency release and then when we couldn't sell our house they would not give us our money back. They did offer us a year to use the $7500. We took our house off the market for 6 months and have put it back on because our agent said it didn't look good if they house stayed on the "For Sale" listing too long. We've written to the CEO and been passed back to the area president. He still refuses to refund our money. No way we could afford two houses which should force them to return the money. They're not budging. that's way too much money for hard-working average people to walk away from. I copied Ray Killian of Simonni Builders and the NC Real Estate Commission to report M/I's selling agent who we feel duped us into signing the no-contingency clause. We didn't get a reply from Simoninni or the NC Real Estate Commission. Should we write the BBB; NC Home Builders Assoc., Attorney General? We need that money back to be able to put down on a house when we do sell ours. Any creative advice?
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:32 AM
 
1,116 posts, read 2,608,852 times
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Excuse my lack of knowledge, but isn't that exactly what you signed the release saying you wouldn't do? That money is earnest money, correct?

It's unfortunate, but if that's the case, the only way you can get that back is by reaching an agreement with the builder. Maybe lower the price on your house to get it to move faster? You may not make the profit, but you'll be able to unload the house. Is renting out your current house an option?
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Old 11-11-2008, 07:54 AM
 
1,907 posts, read 4,452,186 times
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How did the agent "make" you sign?
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Old 12-25-2008, 08:37 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,656 times
Reputation: 10
Default Christenbury Mews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doorway View Post
How did the agent "make" you sign?
The agent told us she would not submit the agreement unless we signed the no contingency clause. We found out from other M/I Homes agents that they do not have a "no contingency" clause. The selling agent wrote it in the contract. She was pretty slick. Unfortunately, we weren't. When we submitted our first offer, she wouldn't accept it until we upped the price. The amount of earnest money was up to 20% and she marked through that and put 40%. I think we just paid her commission. M/I didn't lose any money on us and when we couldn't sell our house they sold the house we built within a month. Wouldn't you think they would at least offer some of the money in return. The contract said if we couldn't get financing, money would be refunded. No way we could have two mortgages.
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Old 12-25-2008, 08:40 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,656 times
Reputation: 10
Default Christenbury Mews

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderbear View Post
Excuse my lack of knowledge, but isn't that exactly what you signed the release saying you wouldn't do? That money is earnest money, correct?

It's unfortunate, but if that's the case, the only way you can get that back is by reaching an agreement with the builder. Maybe lower the price on your house to get it to move faster? You may not make the profit, but you'll be able to unload the house. Is renting out your current house an option?
The builder won't budge. The agreement said if we couldn't obtain financing, money would be returned. Since we couldn't sell our house (still haven't) we couldn't qualify for two mortgages. Now, my husband has been downsized so we are taking our house off the market. We need our money returned. Please, no negativity. Just creative solutions.
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Old 12-26-2008, 01:06 AM
 
Location: Outside Charlotte
61 posts, read 95,937 times
Reputation: 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by latraveler View Post
The builder won't budge. The agreement said if we couldn't obtain financing, money would be returned. Since we couldn't sell our house (still haven't) we couldn't qualify for two mortgages. Now, my husband has been downsized so we are taking our house off the market. We need our money returned. Please, no negativity. Just creative solutions.
Without seeing the exact wording on the contract, I can't really speak on your particular situation. However, it is common for builders to include a non-refundable binder when they deem a purchase or selection to be unusually risky.

For example, if a buyer wants to include a water fountain in their kitchen (dumb example, but it's the best I can come up with at 2:30 am), the builder could require a non-refundable deposit to install it. The reason is that if the buyer backs out of the deal before closing, the chances are slim that anyone would buy the property with the fountain in it. So the builder would have to eat the cost of having it removed, therefore, the binder protects them from that expense.

And if I'm reading what you're saying correctly, then it seems your situation is similar. What I'm reading is that since you were writing a contingent contract, the builder required the earnest money to be guaranteed and non-refundable (Sales Agents don't make those kinds of changes on their own, typically, their Sales Manager is the one to make the decision). If that's the case, I'm not sure if there is anything you can do.

First of all, in the current market, any contingency is very risky, and a lot of builders do not like taking a home off the market since the liklihood of the buyer selling their home is not very high. So they want to protect themselves by guaranteeing that even if the purchase falls through, they can still recoup some of the losses associated with the home not being available to other potential home buyers.

And regardless of when the home sold after you backed out, the builder is almost always going to follow the terms of the contract...in which you apparently signed an ammendment agreeing to the non-refundable binder. So, unless the builder (Sales Agent/Sales Manager, whoever) misrepresented the contract (which would be very hard to prove) or made the changes without your knowledge or consent (which doesn't appear to be the case), I think you are out of luck. After all, it is the consumers responsibility to read and acknowledge the terms of the contract before signing and agreeing to them.
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Old 12-26-2008, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
45,269 posts, read 88,498,926 times
Reputation: 39856
Quote:
Originally Posted by latraveler View Post
The builder won't budge. The agreement said if we couldn't obtain financing, money would be returned. Since we couldn't sell our house (still haven't) we couldn't qualify for two mortgages. Now, my husband has been downsized so we are taking our house off the market. We need our money returned. Please, no negativity. Just creative solutions.
This situation is a good example of why you need a Buyers Agent when trying to buy a home from a builder. A realtor would have looked out for your best interests and protected you from this situation. I know, live and learn At this point I think your best bet is to consult a real estate attorney and see if there is anything they can do to help you get your money back. Best of luck.
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
7,041 posts, read 13,124,398 times
Reputation: 2324
I agree, consult an attorney. If you don't have the money for that, just submit your claim to the attorney general's office. With all the hoopla going on now regarding people's financial issues, you might be able to get some help there.....

Good luck to you.
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:42 PM
 
160 posts, read 358,193 times
Reputation: 103
I bet if they get a letter from a lawyer, you will have your money back within days. Sorry to say, but that's the world we live in.
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Old 12-30-2008, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Boone
14 posts, read 61,826 times
Reputation: 23
First, I would contact the NC Real Estate Commission again.
Welcome To North Carolina Real Estate Commission
The Legal Dept would be the dept to handle consumer complaints.
Try not to be emotional as much as factual (hard to do). Legal grounds is all they can do anything about. Gather all the facts together and write them down in chronological order before you call.

Legal Services legal@ncrec.state.nc.us 919-877-4220

Most of the realtors I know are wonderful hard working people and are ethical. We applaud consumers who go to the nth degree to weed out unethical behavior.
And in future remember that you should always have a Buyers Agent (there is a contract you would agree to and sign to be exclusively represented by a buyers agent).
Keep calling until they call you back. I call them with questions all the time and they call back in a day. Good luck and God Bless. I hope they can provide some insight.

Last edited by SunnyKayak; 03-27-2009 at 04:52 PM.. Reason: no signatures
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