Couple learns hard lesson about home buying - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Couple learns hard lesson about home buying

Posted: Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. -

For one New York couple who tried to retire in Wake Forest, their dream home has become a headache after the contractor terminated their contract – and put the house up for sale.

David and Carrietta Ford spent a year on the custom-built house, with a radio system, Jacuzzi and hardwood floors throughout the first floor.

But now, they can't even enter what they thought would be their home.

"This house started out like our baby and at completion they just took my baby away from us … so much pain and so much hurt," David Ford said. "We've been looking forward to this. We are both retirees coming down to the state of North Carolina to be embraced gracefully - not to be slapped around."

The Ford's got their money back, but they'll have to start building again from scratch.

"Now we have nothing," said Carrietta Ford.

They signed a contract to buy the land and build the house with an Atlanta-based general contractor named Peachtree Communities, LLC. Once it was built, the Fords hired Stonewall Structural Engineering to inspect the home.

The company found more than a dozen code violations.

"That would've cost us a lot of money," Carrietta Ford said.

Peachtree Communities fixed those code violations. But days before closing on the house, the Fords returned to Wake Forest and say they found about half a dozen upgrades they'd paid the company for had not been installed.

But an even bigger surprise came when the Fords saw their house for sale online. "I looked on the Internet and there was my house for sale for $314,000," said Carrietta.  She found it online for sale in March of this year.

Peachtree Communities listed the Ford's house for sale for about $35,000 more than the Fords had agreed to pay.

"They were selling the house and we didn't know anything," said Carrietta.  

The Fords say that's when they learned Peachtree Communities terminated their contract without cause.

The Fords did not sign the standard contract provided by the state, but instead signed a version provided by the company. That contract allows the company to terminate the contract.

The Fords' attorney, Nichole Hatcher, believes the contract was unfair and deceptive.

"In the event that a seller wants to terminate a contract at the very last minute and basically kick a buyer out of this property so that they can sell it at a higher price without any law being involved at all, it's just bad business," Hatcher said.

Independent real estate attorney Dan Milam, a member of the Durham Regional Association of Realtors, reviewed the Ford's contract and said the company didn't breach the contract, but there are a number of red flags that the Fords didn't catch.

The Fords are not alone.

James Call, another prospective home buyer from Peachtree, said, "We just don't want people to have to be in the same boat and wait four or five months to find out that the house they want to build is not happening for them. It's just not."

"Checking the builder out would've been the main line of defense in this case," Milam said.

Peachtree Communities, which is building homes across North Carolina, did not respond to voice mails, emails and letters from WNCN.

But it turns out the same owner of this Atlanta-based company owned Atlanta-based Legacy Communities. About the time Legacy Communities closed, Peachtree Communities opened.

WNCN found more than 100 online comments from homebuyers upset with the two companies, saying things like, "don't buy from them"… "never again" … "they couldn't build me a dog house" … "buyer beware."

Peachtree Communities is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau here, which gives the company a C+ rating as a result of more than a dozen complaints. The majority of them arise from problems with the product.

The North Carolina Attorney General's office and the State Licensing Board for General Contractors did not have complaints on file about the company.

But the Georgia State Office of Consumer Protection had more than a dozen on file against Legacy Communities. They said they have forwarded those complaints to the Georgia Secretary of State's Office.

"I would say the reputation of the builder is the first thing you want to verify and then making sure that the contract is not totally slanted in favor of one side versus the other," said Milam.

This warning comes too late for some.

David Ford said, "I'm not looking for vengeance, I'm looking for somebody to treat me fair. That's all I'm looking for is to be treated fair, and I've not been treated fair by this company."

Resources for home buyers

* N.C. Attorney General's Office: (919) 716-6400

* N.C. Licensing Board for General Contractors: 919 571-4183

* Eastern N.C. Better Business Bureau (919) 277.4222

* You can watch our extended interview with the attorney for the Durham Regional Association of Realtors. Hear the red flags to look for, and the tips he has for potential buyers on our website.

Charlotte Huffman

An award-winning journalist with an investigative edge, Charlotte has driven legislative change with reports on workplace safety concerns and contaminated groundwater. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

  • Couple learns hard lesson about home buyingMore>>

  • Attorney gives advice to home buyers

    Attorney gives advice to home buyers

    Dan Milam, Milam & Idol PLLC is the consulting attorney for the Durham Regional Association of Realtors. Milam gives tips to home buyers and discusses the red flags to watch out for.
    Dan Milam, Milam & Idol PLLC is the consulting attorney for the Durham Regional Association of Realtors. Milam gives tips to home buyers and discusses the red flags to watch out for.
  • Wake CountyMore>>

  • More than $100k in penalties issued in NC State Fair accident

    More than $100k in penalties issued in NC State Fair accident

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:26:10 GMT
    Five people were injured on the Vortex when the ride jolted into motion at the 2013 N.C. State Fair.Five people were injured on the Vortex when the ride jolted into motion at the 2013 N.C. State Fair.
    The Department of Labor issued more than $100k in penalties in connection with an accident at the State Fair in 2013 that injured five people.
    The Department of Labor issued more than $100k in penalties in connection with an accident at the State Fair in 2013 that injured five people.
  • Raleigh police release photos of robbers of sweepstakes parlor

    Raleigh police release photos of robbers of sweepstakes parlor

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:08:46 GMT
    Raleigh police released images of two suspects said to have shot a man at an Internet sweepstakes parlor in Raleigh Wednesday on Crabtree Boulevard.

    Raleigh police released images of two suspects said to have shot a man at an Internet sweepstakes parlor in Raleigh Wednesday on Crabtree Boulevard.
  • 9th suspect arrested in Wake Forest kidnapping

    9th suspect arrested in Wake Forest kidnapping

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 1:01 PM EDT2014-04-23 17:01:55 GMT
    Frank Janssen was kidnapped from his Wake Forest home on April 5.Frank Janssen was kidnapped from his Wake Forest home on April 5.
    The ninth suspect named in an indictment handed up Tuesday has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a Wake Forest man.   
    The ninth suspect named in an indictment handed up Tuesday has been arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a Wake Forest man.   
  • 29 Virginia High Schools on Personal Finance Top-100 List

    29 Virginia High Schools on Personal Finance Top-100 List

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-04-23 01:32:06 GMT
    29 schools in the Commonwealth, including many in our area, ranked the the nation's top 100 best high schools for personal finance instruction.
    29 schools in the Commonwealth, including many in our area, ranked the the nation's top 100 best high schools for personal finance instruction.
  • Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Franklin Co. Sheriff's Office investigating juvenile death

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:50 AM EDT2014-04-22 14:50:58 GMT
    Deputies were called to Double Oaks Lane in the Burnt Chimney community, where they found a seven-year-old boy with a gunshot wound.
    Deputies were called to Double Oaks Lane in the Burnt Chimney community, where they found a seven-year-old boy with a gunshot wound.
  • Roanoke Police release pictures of suspects in armed robbery

    Roanoke Police release pictures of suspects in armed robbery

    Monday, April 21 2014 4:23 PM EDT2014-04-21 20:23:34 GMT
    Roanoke City Police continue to investigate the armed robbery that took place at Check into Cash on Valley View Boulevard last Tuesday, April 15th.
    Roanoke City Police continue to investigate the armed robbery that took place at Check into Cash on Valley View Boulevard last Tuesday, April 15th.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Mom wins lawsuit against TSA after breast milk screening problems

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:40 PM EDT2014-04-23 20:40:54 GMT
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
    A Southern California woman who was held at a Phoenix airport four years ago after refusing to have her breast milk X-rayed has reached a settlement with the Transportation Security Administration. Stacey
  • Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Monday, April 14 2014 4:07 PM EDT2014-04-14 20:07:04 GMT
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.