SANTA CLARITA, CALIFORNIA -- In May 2016, my husband and I found a home big enough for us and our foster/adoptive children (three). We agree to come back the next day. First thing, I did more research and see that there are tons of negative online reviews, especially from people who did not receive their earnest money deposits back. The next day, we tell the salesperson, Maggie, that we are no longer interested due to the negative reviews we have found online.
She insists that the keeping of deposits only happens in very rare situations after many issues have taken place. We decide to go forward and meet with Maggie and decide to put a deposit on the home. Of course, we should have paid attention to this *huge red flag*, but we made a mistake and went forward. More red flags ahead.
We went in to sign the contract, but there is no hard copy of the contract. Maggie sets up her computer to display the agreement on a monitor and sets up an electronic signature application for the contract. The application always jumps to the next signature or initial section and we have to try to scroll backward to see what the section is about. The document is 142 pages long. Maggie provides a verbal summary of each section. At no point does she say that the deposit is not refundable. We also make it clear that the purchase of the new home is contingent on the sale of our current home. A deposit check of $5,000.00 is provided to Maggie.
The next week, we begin to have serious doubts about moving forward on the purchase of the Meritage Home. These doubts are due to layout designs (patio located off secondary bedroom rather than master bedroom or common area) and discrepancies in the advertising of the home (the ads all say there is ceramic tile, wood flooring, and carpeting in the home -- there was never a plan to put wood flooring in this home). Although the flooring isn't finished yet, we are told we are not able to choose the flooring.
Then, escrow opens with the $5,000.00 deposit. A couple of days later, we inform Maggie that we are having second thoughts and that we would inform her of our final decision on May 31, 2016. On that date, Maggie calls to ask what the status is. We tell her that we will not be moving forward with the purchase of the home.
At that time Maggie says that Meritage Homes will not be returning our $5,000.00 deposit, and she is clearly angry. So angry that she hung up on our Realtor when he asked for her supervisor's name. She refused to provide any information. We eventually were contacted, but only after making formal complaints to as many organizations as possible.
Just a note or two about the contract: Although we made it very clear that any purchase of a home would clearly be contingent on the sale of our current home, Maggie had us sign a non-contingency based agreement. In addition, Meritage Homes did not provide us with a copy of the contract signed by them, when it states very clearly that the contract is not in effect if they don't sign it.
We believe that we have a legal right to the earnest deposit money. However, even if the contract is in effect (the wrong contract that they did not sign), it is unethical to hide the contract in this way and not provide a copy signed by Meritage (so that they have to keep their end of the contract). It is also bad business. Our buyer and seller Realtors now know about Meritage's poor business practices. Most often, even when upgrades are made to a home, usually a solution can be worked out.
The facts are that escrow was open a total of five days. The home was completed except for flooring when we placed the deposit and we made no changes or upgrades to the home. We had not chosen a mortgage lender. The incorrect agreement had been given to us to sign. The agreement has never been accepted, signed, and completed.
We were provided with a document to sign to get our money back in 30 days. It was ridiculous - it left Meritage wide open to sue us for any number of reasons, including not rescinding formal complaints made to the Better Business Bureau (or any other org), if we did not delete our negative online reviews, or if we wrote anything at all disparaging about Meritage on social media.
The agreement states that if anyone asks, we cannot tell them even that we received our deposit back - only that we worked it out to both parties' satisfaction. As of now, we have sent them an official email canceling escrow, as well as the industry standard forms for cancellation of escrow. We'll see how far we get.
In the meantime, I would certainly advise everyone to trust their gut and pay attention to red flags if buying a home from Meritage. In my opinion, they are unethical and immoral. If they treat a foster/adoptive family this way, how will they treat your family? Even the folks who have left reviews that bought the homes did not fare well.
CYPRESS, TEXAS -- My wife and I closed on our newly constructed Meritage Home on July 31st 2015 and moved in on August 2nd. Within the first 2-3 months non-stop warranty request because it seemed our house was rushed. We went through two different construction managers as they were having a problem themselves. We waited a very long time to buy our dream home for our new baby that arrived 3 weeks after closing, but it has been a nightmare. Today is March 31st 2016 and we were just notified we are delinquent on all of our taxes. (Property, Mud, School).
For some reason the day we closed we signed hundreds of documents in which everything should of been processed smoothly, however it wasn't. As of today Meritage Homes still owns the home I live in even after 6 months of living here. All of our tax documents were sent to their corporate location here in Houston, Tx. Were we notified of this? No, Meritage did not make any attempts to notify us they were receiving our year-end tax documents. When contacting them today they were extremely rude, stating we should of known. Correct, we should of known, but also we would of paid these taxes as they came in if the house was under our name.
We are two months behind on taxes which there is a small fee. Asking Meritage to help pay for these fees was like talking to a wall. They were disrespectful over the phone and basically told us to ** off. At the beginning of construction we had already noticed some issues but was assured they would treat our home as their own. This comment was stated by Cary ** and Billy **. That is by far the one comment that has been burned into my wife and I memory.
When Meritage is trying to court you to make a purchase they are willing to bend over backwards, but as soon as you sign the dotted line... Screwed! I am a very patient person and tried to keep my mouth shut, but this was the final straw. I speak with a lot of my neighbors on our street and will discuss my concerns with them as well as new neighbors looking to join this area.
Purchased 4-1-15. 11-29-16 - Sedela SOLAR Hot water HEAT Never Hooked up. 20 months later, Meritage Homes agrees to replace system & will cover warranty out of pocket cost. Agrees to replace hot water tank & a few other parts. Will not replace the three solar hot water panels on roof. These are indeed part of the system. Meritage Homes now requires a signed release with a gag order before ANY work will be done. This is to release Meritage Homes from all responsibility & liability & any future warranty work.
These systems have a very long warranty & even a performance warranty. This will also prevent the homeowner from releasing any information on what any settlement was reached. Way too many e-mails & phone calls in between all this.
ARVADA, COLORADO -- Kevin ** used shady sales tactics to get us under contract. He told us our incentives would expire so we tried to put an offer on a home where he stalled our offer while he waited for a higher or better offer come in. We were out to the sales office 2 weeks ago where we signed some of the contract paperwork. He then stalled this paperwork by telling us the incentives were expiring. He suggested we make an offer. When we immediately presented an offer he stalled putting it in for over a week and then proceeded to write a contract at full price on the home we wanted.
BEWARE Kevin ** only cares about selling homes for his commission percentage, not working with a buyer and what they want and need in the home. The only reason we were negotiating in price is because we wanted to make sure the home had some of the options we needed in the home.
CARROLLTON, TEXAS -- Meritage Homes treats their customers very poorly. Don't even count on getting a different experience with escalating issues to a supervisor or director. They will ignore your phone calls and emails. Below is my experience with purchasing a Meritage Homes. I advise you to stay away from Meritage Homes! I am an out-of-town buyer and I have made Meritage Homes aware of this situation many times. I have requested to be notified at least 2 weeks ahead for walk through and closing to arrange travels and request time off work.
Meritage Homes scheduled a closing date for the property I am purchasing on December 31, 2014 without informing me of the closing date. It was mere coincidence I found out about the closing date by calling the sales agent to ask for a status update. I later found out they have been sending information (closing, initial disclosures, and my SSN) to a wrong email address. First walk thru was scheduled on the December 30th, only one day ahead of closing.
Upon visiting the property for the walk through I discovered the property was not ready for closing: carpet was not fully installed, missing grout, unpainted door frames, paint/grout on splatter tiles and wood, etc. They could not deliver the home on the closing date they had set. This cost me one week of work and travel expenses. Meritage homes offered no compensation, not even an apology.
Almost one month later, Meritage Homes scheduled a closing date on January 28, 2015 and gave me a one week notice. Due to work, I was not able to arrange time off and make travel arrangements for the new closing date. It was again brought up to Meritage Homes that I am an out of town buyer, and requested for a closing date the week after. I was denied that request. I made an effort to have the issue escalated many times to plead my case.
We received no response by email and no return calls from the regional manager or the director of finance. I managed to close on the home a few days later with a penalty fee of $1250. I'm being penalized for 4 business days, even asking for leniency so many times. They should penalize themselves for delivering my home a month later than promised.
I have made attempts to email and made phone calls to regional manager/director. I've only been able to leave voicemails. I called and asked the staff if he was in office. Their staff confirmed he's in office, but refused to transfer me to his line. They did not even give me the chance to plead my case. I called corporate and received the same treatment. All of my inquiries and escalation falls on deaf ears. Dealing with Meritage Homes have left me frustrated at the results in multiple occasions. Go with another builder.
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- My husband and I are in the process of buying a home. Fresh and green on the process, we decided to educate ourselves and set a timeline for our purchase. We went to Waters Edge in the Humble/Houston area and met Katherine at one of the model homes in the area. When we walked in she was with a client - didn't greet us at all, though she was the only Meritage worker there.
We browsed the home, loved it and when walking out she rushed out to ask us to come back and visit with her. No big deal; we went back. She was rather pushy and kept trying to convince us to purchase right away though we explained that was not our plan. She switched up a bit when I visited a third time and gave the 'caring mother' approach and even had her daughter pull up what our current home is worth for resale purposes. I appreciated the information and she asked that I fill out a loan for to at least know my options. Again, not a bad idea because it would be good to know where we stood loan rate wise.
She scheduled to meet with me so we could chat once my husband and I received the information back. We did and didn't like the information so I emailed her to graciously thank her for her help and all that she'd shared with us and to cancel our appointment (2 days in advance). She never emailed back! Didn't say one word via text, email, call or messenger pigeon!
The day after said scheduled appointment my husband decided to view the model one last time to see if it would be worth the headache. She didn't expect to ever see me again and gave me this fake surprised hug! Once we viewed the model, while walking away she ran out behind us when we were driving away to say she didn't reply to me because she thought "boooo!" When she saw my email! HOW PROFESSIONAL!
TIMNATH, COLORADO -- Sales lost each set of my papers at least once. First contract papers, then upgrade options, then cabling options, then messed up the totals. I had to re-sign the papers starting from the contract papers to the upgrade options. She lost the upgrade selection papers once again for 2nd time. When I commented that this is not right, she got very angry.
On our first visit, the sales representative handed out a buyer agent's card. We went there on our own but she asked us to consult the agent. Another day, I arrived at the sales office and overheard her arguing with a person and then when she could not answer his questions, she shouted at him to get out. Later I talked to him and found out that he was a paying customer and she had messed up his loan papers.
There are a lot of new constructions coming up in this area to choose from. Stay away from Meritage. There are some very good custom builders too in the same community. The starting price is only 100 k more but if you compare per sq ft, then they are at least 20 USD cheaper than Meritage. Their upgrade options are a sham.
Do not be misled by the Model home, that is at least 100k more expensive than the base price. You will notice the poor quality construction and they will not fix the flaws. They will simply say it is the standard. If you object, you will be humiliated and insulted by sales. So, mathematically it doesn't make sense to go with Meritage. Go for custom homes instead. Meritage takes a long time to build (10 months), custom homes build in 3-5 months. I am at pre-drywall stage after waiting for 6 months.
BRIGHTON, COLORADO -- Save yourself money and headache and do not buy from Meritage Homes. We purchased many upgrades and now wonder why we wasted our money. Our floors were cupped from the day we closed until the one year inspection. We have been informed it's due to 'homeowner cleaning and maintenance'. We have gaps so wide in our granite counter tops, tile floors, and trim that it defeats the purpose of paying for the upgrade. Be prepared to go thru your home with a fine tooth comb to catch any issues - especially the outside of the house. Meritage will not. We would have received MUCH better quality if we would have installed the upgrades after we purchased the house. It's been a very regretful decision to buy from Meritage.
SAINT CLOUD, FLORIDA -- We closed on our house back in June 2010. At first all looks good and had few complaints. Then in 2011 one of the rooms started to flood. Long story short, I submitted the claim. They fixed the issue not without a lot of back and forth but to be honest they fixed the problem.
Then in 2013, I started to notice a crack in our driveway. It was small at first, so I sent a new claim, thinking this is a structural problem and because our house has 20 years warranty. I thought, well we should be covered. WRONG! By now, April 2014, the crack could be used as a scale of the Great Canyon. But, they said this is not structural so no fix from them.
At the end, we installed pavers and the driveway looks really nice. Later I knew this company was facing a lot of problems, financial ones. So the moral is: "Do your homework and investigate the builder before you even consider signing a contract."
PARKER, COLORADO -- We picked out a home that we liked. The price was $307,900 base. The model of the home happened to be an inventory home and was listed as $469,000. We figured that based on this there was a lot of room for design center choices and upgrades.
We chose the fixtures, structural changes, paint, etc. that you could change at the home sales office and the price of the home was then at $357,000. OK! We could live with that, we had to have the garden view ($15K) option as that is the only model that would fit on our lot, the lot had a premium of $3000, we chose upgraded fixtures etc. for about $8k, had rooms changed from study to bedroom, etc. We figured these were all reasonable charges for the changes we were getting. We went ahead and scheduled for the design center to make our final choices.
We spent 3 hours in the design center making very particular and precise choices, to design the home the way that we wanted it. The sales representative wanted us to stay around $25K in choices. I admit we went up to $36, but figured, that's OK, I am financed to cover these choices so let's get what we want.
We then went back to the sales office and the price of the home was at $391,000. The sales agent said that her manager would not approve of the house at that level of design upgrades because we have a VA loan and the downpayment is so low ($1500) that we did not have enough vested in the home and that we could walk and not stand to lose much. They wanted me to come up with $15,000 additional besides my earnest money before the would approve the build.
I said "I can't come up with that right now, please see what you can do." They came back two days later and said that we have to get the price of the house down to $370,000 before they would even talk to us about decreasing the amount of downpayment on the design center choices. So..... we went back to the design center. We were able to grudgingly shave off the $10K they originally wanted us to stay below and had our design choices total out at $25K. We thought alright, we are good to go. NOPE.
During our original cut back, to drop the price of the home at the sales center, we had opted to, under the suggestion of the sales agent, to get rid of the french doors that enclose the office and leave it open. We later decided that this was not a good idea and wanted those left in the deign structure of the home.
Final price of the home at this point is $380,000. We said we wanted to add back in the French doors. We were told only if you shave $2000 off of somewhere else. I said "I am paying for the doors and the house, I understand the price of the house is now $382,000 and I am OK with that." "NO - you cannot have the french doors unless you shave $2000 off somewhere else." They said the home would not appraise for that amount, yet the model home of the same builder in the same neighborhood with similar design center choices was appraised at $460,000, which is $80K higher than ours was being priced out.
Bottom line, I am still not sure if I am going to complete the build with them and go without the french doors. If they are this difficult to deal with during the design process, I can only imagine how difficult they will be to deal with during the build process. In my opinion, Meritage homes, at least in Colorado, is NOT responsive to the customer and should be sanctioned.