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Old 01-04-2010, 09:25 AM
 
2 posts, read 5,920 times
Reputation: 10

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I signed a contract for a new home back in 2009. I deposited a $1000.00 earnest money and $10,000.00 lot deposit with the builder. I was not able to qualify for financing. Builder had given us a letter to refund the earnest money but I have not seen the refund. What happens to our lot deposit? The builder says he will not refund any other money we have deposited because he says we did too many upgrades. We had a upgrade allowance of $15,000.00 and only used $2500.00 of it. We didn't have to pay for any portion of the upgrades upfront because we did not exceed $5000.00, which was the amount you had to exceed to prepay half the upgrades. I reviewed the contract and it does not specify anything regarding lot deposit or lot refund. It only states that we deposited $10,000.00. We are now in 2010 and no earnest money refund or any refund has been issued to us. We used a realtor and she was not able to get our money back. The realtor and the new home sales associate said we were entitled to an entire refund. Please help...what are our options?
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:11 PM
 
1,739 posts, read 3,422,824 times
Reputation: 2425
If you aren't able to obtain financing you should get ALL of your money back. Any good builder would do that. Who is the builder? I would raise holy hell all the way to the top. Start with the salesperson's boss...and work your way up the chain. If, and only if, the very top person tells you to take a leap, I would threaten to call media outlets and picket their model.
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Houston area
1,408 posts, read 3,788,895 times
Reputation: 638
You're realtor should be helping you out in this situation. Have you asked them to assist you?

Have you written a letter specifying why you are entitled to your deposit?
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:16 PM
 
105 posts, read 248,871 times
Reputation: 42
Small claims court.

Who is the builder?
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:16 PM
 
2,480 posts, read 6,490,394 times
Reputation: 2062
Quote:
Originally Posted by City Love View Post
You're realtor should be helping you out in this situation. Have you asked them to assist you?

Have you written a letter specifying why you are entitled to your deposit?
Can't assume that everyone has a realtor when they build a house. We didn't with our first home.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:35 PM
 
1,211 posts, read 3,287,249 times
Reputation: 1590
Quote:
Originally Posted by lhafer View Post
Can't assume that everyone has a realtor when they build a house. We didn't with our first home.
The OP states: "We used a Realtor and she wasn't able to get our money back".

Why did you give them $1000.00 in earnest money, and $10,000.00 as a lot deposit? Typically, one makes a lot deposit to reserve a specific lot. Once the plan and pricing is determined, you then enter into a contract and that lot deposit money becomes your earnest money. Are you sure you weren't charged the 10k due to a lot premium instead? How far along had the home progressed before your loan was rejected? Why was your loan rejected? That is a lot of money to lay on the line without knowing definitively whether or not you will qualify for a loan necessary to complete the transaction. I'm just asking b/c some of what you stated doesn't sound quite right.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:45 PM
 
2 posts, read 5,920 times
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The builder was brighton. I had a demand letter written and went all the way to the president of the company. I was not approved for financing throught their in house lender. I got a letter stating we were not qualify for financing and did receive a letter that we were entitled to our earnest money back. Yet nothing. We deposited all out money at the time of signing our contract. Yes we did reserve a specific lot because it was a new home from the ground up. It was not a lot premium because there was no lot premium on that lot...just a regular lot. The sales associate said we would get the loan for sure and kept telling us don't worry, we will get the and we will not lose our money we put down if we were not approved. As with the financing, the company dragged their feet through the whole process. I have emails to prove that they were never calling me back through the loan process. We are now at a stand still and don't know what to do to get our money back...
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:58 PM
 
1,211 posts, read 3,287,249 times
Reputation: 1590
Take the letter they sent you that states that you are entitled to get the earnest money back and go to their corporate office. Ask to speak to whoever it is that can cut you a manual check and ask them to do so. If that person is "not available", tell them that you would be happy to wait, and then sit down somewhere. And wait. That's a lot of money. If they sent you a letter stating that you are entitled to a refund of the entire amount......go get it. I would. Don't dick around with the sales person, or the project manager, or the purchasing manager, or the VP of marketing, find out who can authorize a check to be cut so you can be on your way.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Houston area
1,408 posts, read 3,788,895 times
Reputation: 638
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimsca View Post
The builder was brighton. I had a demand letter written and went all the way to the president of the company. I was not approved for financing throught their in house lender. I got a letter stating we were not qualify for financing and did receive a letter that we were entitled to our earnest money back. Yet nothing. We deposited all out money at the time of signing our contract. Yes we did reserve a specific lot because it was a new home from the ground up. It was not a lot premium because there was no lot premium on that lot...just a regular lot. The sales associate said we would get the loan for sure and kept telling us don't worry, we will get the and we will not lose our money we put down if we were not approved. As with the financing, the company dragged their feet through the whole process. I have emails to prove that they were never calling me back through the loan process. We are now at a stand still and don't know what to do to get our money back...
I'm sorry to hear. Sounds like you have gone through the appropriate channels and have proper documentation.

It now just sounds like a deadbeat builder. Keep trying at different levels at the builder. You can take them to court, but that process will take much longer than trying different departments within the builder.
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Old 01-04-2010, 03:02 PM
 
1,739 posts, read 3,422,824 times
Reputation: 2425
Brighton is a part of K-Hovnanian, which is a publicly traded company (HOV). Which means it has a CEO and a board. I'm sure you went to the president, but it was probably the president of the Houston Division. He probably has a Regional Manager who reports to a VP, who reports to the COO...etc.

Of course it won't be easy to get that high up, but it can be done. Look for some press releases with a contact name and number and start there. Ask the president of the Houston Division for his bosses phone number.

I know this isn't fair, but it can be done....without a lawyer. You have to keep pressing, keep asking for the next person up if that person won't help you. Eventually it will get to someone who will decide that paying you $11,000 is worth it to shut you up. That is what you want.
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