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Filtering by Tag: Royal Crest problems

Earnest money

We picked up a check for the full earnest money yesterday. It won't fully sink in until we deposit the check and see our balance increase accordingly. It was an "interesting" but brief exhange with Dean Smith, the "co-owner".  After we signed the release statement and he handed us the check, I just briefly expressed our thanks for them returning the full amount. His response was not so much a response but a mild apoplectic pause in which he grimaced, nodded downward several times and made some guttural noises that may have been an attempt at a retort that his good conscience immediately shut down in the interest of self preservation.

Aeyong hit the nail on the head when she later said she thought he was upset by the cancellation because it would make him lose face at the company. While we were never given specific details, we did deduce that the company was primarily owned by an apparently very wealthy man/family. We know that the sales rep we dealt with is the granddaughter of said owner, and it was discussed during some of the meetings that the owner retained mineral rights for all the subdivision and other parcels of land he owns, which are apparently considerable.

We believe Mr Smith runs the day to day operations and is considered as the "co-owner" but it appears he's a minority owner and that final decisions rest in the hands of the real owner. Case in point is our earnest money. Based on his response yesterday, and every other time we've dealt with him, he's never inclined to refund or discount money. We strongly believe that the owner must have read our response and made the decision to fully refund our earnest money because of all the errors that were made by the granddaughter and Mr Smith. 

I have a feeling that Mr Smith isn't accustomed to customers cancelling contracts when he screws up, and this situation has probably brought down his stock a few notches. Maybe we're reading too much into it, but I can safely say that he wasn't happy with us getting the money back, on that I have no doubt. 

Awaiting feedback

We have been funneling all of our issues through our realtor including our intention to cancel. Yesterday we got a request from Royal Crest to summarize all of our problems with the home build. Reviewing old emails I typed up a 6 page narrative of what led us to request a cancellation of the contract. We sent it back through the realtor last night and we're waiting to hear their response. I don't have high expectations.

The bottom line is the contract states they can keep most of the earnest money with the exception of $1000 if we cancel and I honestly will be surprised if they agree to do anything that isn't legally required. I re-read my narrative this morning and while I'm biased and I may not see it from their point of view, after reading the summary I can't imagine anyone not agreeing to compensate us in some way.

We will accept either a full refund of the earnest money or to have them finish the home to our desire without charging anything additional. This would have to include fencing the backyard, and the standard landscape package. 

Based on their previous actions, I will be really surprised if they try to accommodate us in any fashion. I fully expect to look elsewhere for our future home and I'll also be surprised if we recover any money.

Calling it off

We're waiting to hear back from the builder, but we're essentially going to cancel the contract on the house. We have had a succession of problems with the house, mostly in that the house we requested in the beginning has slowly veered down a path of the builder's choosing and away from what we wanted.

The biggest problem (as I think I previously posted) was the kitchen layout being designed inadequately to accommodate what we wanted. We ultimately had to give up an additional countertop/cabinet extension we requested because they simply failed to design the room to fit our request. The frustration is compounded by the the amount of time I spent researching kitchen layouts until I found a picture that not only explicitly showed what I wanted, but also would have fit their pre-existing design without too much adjustment. 

Essentially we've learned that when building a custom home, you better make sure that all (and I mean ALL) of your preferences are very precisely described and documented in your contract or you will not get them. We had the same issue with the type of flooring (we wanted 5in hand scraped and they only included 3in, so we had to pay more), the outdoor kitchen (we requested a kitchen and showed them a picture of what we wanted, but we didn't get them to print "barbecue grill" specifically, so we had to pay for that ourselves), the size of the back patio (we originally had the home theater pointing towards the back of the property but we changed the alignment by 90 degrees and in the process lost a big chunk of porch space that the builder failed to correct and we ended up having to pay for additional concrete). They were also going to charge us more for lower height carpet in the home theater and bonus rooms although this was in our initial request (but not on the magical contract). 

There have been other issues as well and the consistent stance of the builder is that if it's not described specifically in the contract, it wasn't agreed upon and the buyer pays. This despite their promises that we could have all we were requesting in the initial meeting. We learned that those promises are empty if they're not on the contract. 

We haven't gotten their response yet, but I'm expecting they're going to withhold any of the upgrades after the contract (home theater bar, concrete, hardwood floors, stone) so we'll probably end up getting only $3-4K of our $11K earnest money.

More updates

They finished the roof for all practical purposes. We had to meet yesterday to do the pre-electrical walk through as well as meet with the A/V guy (Randy). During the electrical walkthrough we discovered that Ben was planning for a small countertop at the edge of the kitchen when we initially requested a regular size countertop. This is what we showed them in the pre-construction meeting, but for some reason that's not what the architect saw or put on the plans. Ben the builder was anticipating the smaller shelf size as well as a single level island (we wanted a two level) and that's actually what was on the blueprints. I'm learning the hard way how to interpret blueprints now.

We're meeting with him this afternoon to work out a compromise so we can get the layout we want without ruining the ergonomics and workflow of the kitchen. The A/V guy is apparently stuck sometime in the early 2000s and wanted to wire the house based on his needs and not ours. We're just going to get the standard package and then update as needed in the future, because this guy wants to charge about triple what we would need to do it ourselves and he's suggesting technology that is outdated right now, and we're trying to plan for 10-20 years in the future.

Our realtor is interceding with the builder and we've gotten promises of satisfaction, but we'll see what that means. We were on the fence about just absorbing the earnest money and moving on, but we've decided to see what RC does to rectify the problems. It's also not insignificant that the market conditions are not going to improve as the housing market in this part of the country, and even moreso in our specific little patch of southwest Fort Worth is only increasing in demand and value. If we pass on this house and rent another year, we may lose quite a bit of buying power.

All that being said, not everything or even most things are going poorly. The electrical contractor/owner actually came out after work hours to do the walkthrough with us since I can't get out of work until 4ish. He was very accommodating and he actually had some insight and suggestions related to the house/kitchen layout that were very inciteful, even if not directly related to the wiring. Ben the builder was feeling bad about the kitchen miscommunication and he was offering us some changes/upgrades in an attempt at damage control (I think). He gave us a vent in the media server closet as well as an extra light in the bonus room. We got separate circuits for the media room, bonus room, and the treadmill in the garage.