Mayhem! Horror stories of house
building and buying
From phony contractors to lying
real estate agents, home building and buying is about a lot more
than just location.
Fake architect charges for worthless blueprints
We wanted to build a log home. We searched on the Web and commissioned
an architect who specialized in building log homes. He had a legitimate-looking
license, degrees, credentials and everything. We met with him and
drove around and looked at log homes he had designed. He drew up some
blueprints for us. They were $600 down and $600 upon delivery. We
thought he was so nice to personally visit us and meet us at our home
instead of his office.
When we got the blueprints we went to a general contractor
to start building the home. There we found out that the architect
was just "some guy with CAD software" who had no idea
of how to do blueprints. The ones we had were completely useless.
We tried to get our money back, but this person had since canceled
his phone number and his "office" did not exist. We knocked
on the doors of a couple homes he had claimed were "his"
on the tour, and discovered that the owners had never heard of this
Haunted by house's past
My husband and I were looking for our first house, and our Realtor
showed us a cute two-bedroom we liked. Because the real estate market
was so "hot" at the time, our Realtor said that if we
really wanted to make sure we got the house, we should offer more
than asking price. The house was listed at $199,000. We offered
$207,000. We got the house and proceeded with inspections, etc.
At one point our Realtor explained to us that the owner had passed
away and the son was selling the property. "The old guy took
a nap in the yard and just didn't wake up," the Realtor told
The first day we moved in, my husband pulled out the
old carpets and dumped them at the side yard garbage cans where
our first neighborly encounter happened. She expressed surprise
that the house sold so quickly. She said, "I'm surprised it
sold so fast, considering ...." She paused and started again,
"They did tell you what happened, didn't they?"
My husband said, "Tell us what?"
She said, "Oh you shouldn't tell your wife this,
but the old owner who lived here hanged himself from the front yard
We were furious that we had been lied to and, at the
very least, upset that this information, which we believe impacted
the value of the property, was withheld from us.
To top it off, the seller was a real estate lawyer.
You would expect him, of all people, to know that information like
this should be disclosed.
We lost our house
We sold our house in Florida a few months after we arrived in Pennsylvania.
We sold it through the same real estate agent who had sold the house
to us. A year later, we found a home we wanted to buy. Everything
was going well and we were all set to secure a mortgage, so we began
I received a letter from the mortgage company. It
couldn't give us a mortgage because we were in foreclosure with
our old house.
It seems our agent in Florida had sold our house by
letting the buyer assume our mortgage. She didn't even have to qualify.
Our name was still on the title, so we were responsible! It took
us 10 years to become homeowners again. Don't ever agree to something
you don't understand 100 percent.
Construction loan horror
We were attempting to obtain a construction loan. We supplied our
initial paperwork to our loan officer. We wanted to place a used,
single-wide modular home that we owned on 23 acres. After pulling
our credit, he assured us that he could fund the loan.
Months later, our loan officer told us that there
was a change in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rules. They now wouldn't
fund single-wide mobile homes, so to complete the loan we would
have to find a new, double-wide mobile home. We quickly found a
modular home that fit the needs of the lender and continued with
Our loan officer then referred us to the construction
loan department to complete the process. That's when we were told
that they would not even do a construction loan on any property
larger than 10 acres.
Two weeks later, I received a bill for the two appraisals
that were done.
When I was rehabbing turn-of-the-century houses two years ago, the
mortgage broker I depended on took advantage of me, knowing I had
a payroll to meet. Because he assured me that a loan would close
"next week," I went ahead with work on properties.
When "next week" didn't bring proceeds from
the mortgage loan, I was hard pressed to pay the workers. By the
time the broker did deliver the loan, I was not in a position to
walk away from it. At the closing, the settlement officer handed
me an agreement to sign that doubled the broker's fee for arranging
Tricked instead of treated by
a real estate agent
I wanted to take advantage of the rock-bottom interest rates of
this past summer and went scouting for homes. I met a real estate
agent who offered to help me find my dream home. I had to really
pinch and scrape to get my down-payment money. I was a first time-home
buyer. I was preapproved for a conventional mortgage but preferred
an FHA loan. My agent knew all of this.
When I finally had found a home, my agent took my
offer to the sellers and their agent. Without my consent, my real
estate agent offered to go with a conventional mortgage and waived
my right to have a home inspection. When I found out, I demanded
she get things straightened out. She said it was too late -- she
and the sellers had already signed the acceptance agreement and
taken my earnest deposit check of $1,500.
After the final closing, I discovered multiple breaches
in the disclosure, including water leakage in the basement, garage
structure damage, roof damage. Also, the fireplace was deemed unfit
for any fires by a contractor and had to be removed and replaced.
Worthless float-down option
I just closed on a mortgage refinance loan last week. I locked about
six weeks ago, choosing to take the float-down option. During that
five-week period I followed the going rate on a daily basis. The
trend was a steady decline. Sure, there were a few bumps, but the
net effect was a much lower rate than five weeks prior. So I was
very surprised when my closing paperwork still stated the original
interest rate for my loan. I called my loan officer and was informed
that despite four or five weeks of declining interest rates, this
particular lender's rates remained unchanged and so my float-down
option was fruitless.
Asked to lie about income
I went through a building company to buy a new home. I put $3,000
down as a deposit. I had been pre-qualified for a mortgage through
When the mortgage company was putting me through final
approval, I was told I did not make enough money according to my
profit-and-loss statements for that year. They suggested ("wink-wink")
I redo them to make it appear my business was more profitable.
I refused to doctor my financial records and was denied
the mortgage. The builder then called to say I would not be refunded
my $3,000 due to the fact the construction had begun and the mortgage
was denied. I tried to get help to reclaim my money, but was unsuccessful.
The home was resold to a new buyer and the company made a killing.