Meritage Homes

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Unwilling to budge an inch - unreasonable builder
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
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 gardenview ($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 loose 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 can not 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.
     
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Venice09 on 2012-03-23:
I don't blame them for being cautious. That's not much of a down payment. I guess they have learned from past experience. You might want to rethink this yourself before getting in over your head.
clutzycook on 2012-03-23:
In this market, banks and builders are being more conservative when it comes to home loans and down payments. We bought our house in 2005. I know that had my husband and I waited even a year longer, there would have been no way we could have gotten 100% financing like we did.
BigAl on 2012-03-23:
When customers "redesign" their homes it raises the cost but not necessarily the value. In some cases it even lowers the value because it restricts the pool of future buyers. A home with a cost of 360,000 dollars can have 20,000 dollars of change and end up worth 340,000 dollars after the changes. Personalization in a home is great but it can severely limit the retail market.
oldisgood on 2012-03-24:
I am really surprised that for an almost$ 400,000 home you only had $1500 to put down. How on earth could that be. Your monthly payment would be very high. Also, with so little invested you could merely walk away from the home with very little to lose. I do NOT blame Meritage at all.
trmn8r on 2012-03-24:
VA loans allow for VERY small down payments, but I am still wondering of a zero was left off the OP's, and it was $15,000. This is immaterial to the complaint though, I believe.

There is a set process for obtaining a VA loan, and it starts with drafting a sales agreement condtioned on getting the VA loan approved. I don't understand the entire chain of events in this case, but my guess is that agreement went through at $357K, and the price later ballooned to $391K that an issue arose.

I don't see that Meritage is necessarily at fault here based on the complaint.
http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/faqpreln.asp

Off topic, but what a horrible name for a home builder. Reminds me of Moland Spring Water.
surgicalpa on 2012-03-29:
I see a lot of comments regarding the $1500 earnest money on this home. The fact is that that price was set by the builder and the VA, not me, the buyer. Yes it is low, but that is one of the benefits of having a VA loan. The loan is still 100% insured by the VA and the earnest money really has no factor bearing on this issue. As my orignal post stated, I was bringing additional money prior to the completion of sheetrocking to cover the upgrade design choices (a percentage of said). The issue here is that the builder was not willing to allow the design choices that THEY THE BUILDER offer and I selected. I had a very limited choice of selections and choices to be made at the design center, and I chose very carefully and with the assistance of the design assistant at the center. The coices were NOT extravagant, for example Corian countertops in the accessory bathrooms, which another builder, Richmond American, includes as standard. I feel that the builder is overly concerned that I am going to "walk" and refusing to build the house to my expectations in order to limit their risk. I understand risk management, and all that it entails, but the practices of this company are above and beyond risk management and are controlling in nature. In fact, the choices I made were less than the model home demonstrated, yet I was not allowed to have them on my desired home. I stand by my comment that the builder is unreasonable and I will not do business with them and recommend that others closely consider all options before dealing with them as well.
trmn8r on 2012-03-29:
I appreciate your further comments. I understand that you claim the builder was unreasonable, but I don't understand the details that led you to that feeling and are the basis of the complaint. Did you make additions after the VA approved the purchase? What amount of purchase (or loan + $1500) did the VA approve? Is part of the issue that the final design was $10K, 20K, 30K whatever above the approved amount? Thanks.
Meritage Ex Employee on 2012-08-29:
I used to work at Meritage. I am on your side for many good reasons. I encourage you to call your local department of Real Estate or Real Estate Division, and please file a formal complaint. You are correct in your concerns. Model home at a super inflated price, is very questionable. Also file a complaint with your local department of Corporations. Keep detailed notes. Since I have not heard update, please, even if you bought the home, report this. If you were going with the "in house" lender, IMortgage, who is located out of Arizona, then this is typical Meritage behavior. Meritage uses it's own in house lender, tying in giant incentives to buyers, who use the in house lender. Meritage gets nice profits from using the in house lender. Consider "why" Meritage was concerned about "VA" financing, vs. other types of financing. I Mortgage, as I experienced, could pick the appraiser at each community, and normally, it's the same guy, over and over again. How can Meritage and I Mortgage do this??? Honestly, I don't know. However, VA appraisals work different than other types of financing. VA normally assigns the appraiser, NOT Meritage. So, in other words, Meritage was worried about value of your home, because they have little control over VA appraisal. This is the truth they didn't share with you. Is picking an appraiser to influence the values of a home illegal? Hmmm... Please check with your local governmental agencies, and report what happened to you. Your neighbors might also check to see "who" did their appraisals, and how values were ascertained.
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Meritage is dishonest
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- In July of 2011 we entered into a contract with Meritage Holmes of Florida, to purchase a new Home in the Lexington Green Area in the Providence area of Davenport, Florida. We did all that they asked to secure financing for the purchase. In November of 2011 after being asked to supply some information on employment we were not able to do that because of a lack of gainful work. I sent a letter canceling the agreement according to the Mortgage contingency in the P&S (the time for securing the loan had run out because of no fault of ours, we did everything their mortgage company asked of us). Their mortgage councilor and our salesperson agreed that we could not get financing and we would have the return of our deposit after signing two release forms. We did this in good faith

We did not hear from them for several weeks and upon my initiation the sales representative informed me that the Vice President is refusing to return the deposit because of some vague language that we cannot find in the original P&S. The mortgage contingency is very clear that if we did our part of trying to secure financing and it was not successful our deposit of over $4,300 dollars would be returned to the buyers.

They want us to agree that if we bought a home from them within six months they would credit the deposit. After having him renege on the agreement, to return the deposit because of a failure to secure a mortgage, in a timely manner flies in the face of good business and fairness to their potential and present customers. We do not wish to do business with this company in the future (Lack of trust). The very idea that we had to institute a dialog with the VP to find out that he was overriding a decision by his subordinates, just leaves us in a fatal negative mode.

We wish full restitution of our Deposit as we signed the release forms back in November of 2011.
     
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tnchuck100 on 2012-02-01:
Send them a certified/return receipt request letter demanding the return of the deposit per the contract. Specify a deadline date. Advise them of your intent to sue.

Then....

Take 'em to court. Odds are as soon as they are served they will cough up the money. But now add your filing costs to the total.
Venice09 on 2012-02-01:
You should be entitled to a refund, but you may want an attorney to read the contract to make sure there are no loopholes that you might have overlooked. If an attorney determines that you are indeed due a refund, a simple letter should get your money back rather quickly. It shouldn't cost much and will probably be the fastest way to get results.
surgicalpa on 2012-03-29:
I'm anxious to see the final result here. Please post the outcome of this ordeal. I am interested to see if they finally own up to their agreement.
outOfTheMoney on 2013-06-24:
This is similar to the experience I had with Meritage Homes last year. I lost my job shortly before the scheduled closing date, and Meritage attempted to steal our earnest money in violation of the Purchase Agreement. Additionally, I obtained a written agreement from them not to put the house back on the market for a period of 30 days while I tried to secure another job. This agreement proved to be worthless as they immediately remarketed the home (at a higher price than was specified in the Purchase Agreement). In what might be seen as karmic justice, they ended up losing out on about $20,000 due to their own dishonesty and greed. Bottom line: Meritage demonstrated a complete lack of "good faith" in their dealings, and a distressing willingness to abuse and cheat their customers. Everything, and I do mean everything, is secondary to the profit motive when it comes to large home builders, and Meritage appears to be among the worst of the bunch. Caveat emptor, always.
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Warranty Claim Denial
Posted by on
Rating: 2/51
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"
     
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Worst Home Builder
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
RICHMOND, TEXAS -- I purchased a new home a little over a year ago. I have problems all over the place. A week after I moved in, I tried to do laundry. Water leaked all over the floor from the washer they installed. Less than a month after I moved in, my house started leaking, it was flooded when it rained. Paint in my house is uneven. I looked out of my second story bedroom window and found some cracked shingles on first story roof. A big piece of concrete fell off the corner of my foundation. After six months, I found a large crack running across half of my driveway and they refused to repair. Water won't drain in my backyard. Every time it rains, water will go all the up to the side of my house. MY window is leaking water every time it rains. Every time it rains or neighbor water the grass, water will sit right outside my house on the side of the street won't drain, and the building said that was not their problem, its government's problem. I can go on and on and on.

There are lots of problems. I'm very, very dissatisfied. I don't know how long this house is going to last.
     
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Alain on 2013-04-04:
You may want to contact a lawyer and see what they advise regarding these problems.
Joy on 2013-04-05:
You probably should let them know. I was looking at their homes and it looks like you can submit a help request on their web site. Here's the link: http://www.meritagehomes.com/customer/warranty/. Good luck!
Concerned Texan on 2013-04-13:
Very Sorry to hear what is happening to you. This issue is going on all over the state of Texas. In fact this legislative session a Mayor from Cibolo, TX has made an attempt to push a bill through with Rep. Farias out of San Antonio. Due to the Payoffs that the builders make to many of the representatives, it is unlikely that this bill will make it all the way through. Call your representative and ask him/her if they are going to support their constituents or their pockets. Enough is Enough. Be persistent with the builder.
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The worst sales/customer service people in the US!
Posted by on
The past few weeks my husband and I have been house hunting with our Realtor here in the greater Houston area. A few days ago we can upon a gorgeous subdivision and went to inquire about their new/quick move-in homes. Upon telling the Meritage Homes sales agent our requirements and our budget, she told us there is one house that would fit our needs. We fell in love with the house even though it was over our price range!

We asked our Realtor to get more info and put a competitive offer in. She wasn't even able to get anyone on the phone, much less put in an offer! After leaving several messages, she finally got the local sales agent on the phone. She was unprofessional and not helpful at best! Our Realtor asked for her supervisor's info and was told she would not provide that. Their conversation ended with our Realtor getting a name and email address for the Supervisor. She too ended up being unprofessional! She did not call our Realtor at their scheduled time and ignored all emails afterwords.

Our persistent Realtor got in touch with someone at Meritage Homes' headquarters and told them the problem. The response she got was not what we would expect from someone in real estate. She was told that all Sales Agents are given the final price they can offer on any home. While they were not sure why the local agent we met could be like that (she is apparently one of the top agents in the Houston area), there was nothing they can do to rectify the situation.

We love the house and area and are still willing to pay more than what we budgeted yet Meritage Homes will not even consider an offer! At this point we have moved on to other builders who realize that it is a buyer's market and, more importantly, that good customer service goes a long way. I would not recommend Meritage Homes to anyone! They may make beautiful homes with energy efficient features but the lack of customer service will keep me away.
     
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tnchuck100 on 2010-10-18:
"...even though it was over our price range!" - right there is where many people get into trouble.

It may or may not apply to your specific situation but in light of the past 15 years of mortgaging this is the root cause of the housing disaster.
Venice09 on 2010-10-18:
Chuck, I couldn't have said it better myself. What is it about buying a house that makes people lose touch with reality? Not referring to the OP, of course.
Anonymous on 2010-10-18:
Never fall in love with a house or a vehicle.
MRM on 2010-10-18:
Unless you have won the $86,000,000 jackpot in which the drawing is 2morrow nite!
getoverit on 2010-10-18:
Are you under some obligation to work with the Realtor? In my experience, when you buy a house directly from a developer, there's no need for a Realtor. A Realtor shows you listed properties where you need a lockbox key to get in, etc.

When buying in a new development, you deal directly with the builder's Sales Agent (probably also licensed) who has an office set up on site.

Is there any reason you can't go back to that subdivision, talk with the Sales Agent and try to make a deal? Maybe they don't want to deal with the Realtor because (I assume) she would be due a commission.

That said, take the remarks of tnChuck and Venice to heart. Don't get in over your head.
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Negligence
Posted by on
MESA, ARIZONA --
I believe that an employee of Meritage Homes has stolen $7,000 of valuables from my house, of which most is irreplaceable. I believe this is due to the negligence of Meritage Homes Management.

On Tuesday October 31st we closed with Meritage Homes on new home. I was issued house keys, garage openers, keys to the mail box, and keys to the single garage door, and other items. After closing I dropped off a few of my belongings into the garage. Since the garage openers were not working, I went in through the front door and opened both garage doors from the inside. The house comes with a three car garage. The garage door is split into a two car garage door, and a single garage door. The single garage door is not attached to a garage opener, and it needs to be opened manually, which I did from the inside. I unloaded my belongings which included the missing items, as well as other sports gear (baseball bats, golf clubs, basketball, football, etc…). Before leaving, we had an employee of Meritage Homes come in to touch up the kitchen cabinets. Afterwards I locked up, closing the garage door from the inside, and leaving through the front door, and made sure it was locked.

I did not return until that following Saturday. My brother and I, along with our families moved some of our belongings from his garage. We made two trips and in the evening decided to head back and stay at his house in Glendale AZ, an hour north. My wife and mother-in-law decided to stay back and start unpacking. Since we were unloading everything in the garage, we had opened both garage doors from the inside (garage openers were not working, they had not yet been programmed) Before leaving for the night, and being concerned that my wife and mother-in-law were staying back, I decided to check all the keys and doors, everything seemed fine. Afterwards I closed the two car garage door from inside and walking out through the single garage door and pulling it down, I check the handle and it was not locked. I grabbed the keys from the inside and tried to lock it, but the keys were not working. I checked the number on the key and the garage door handle, and they did not match. I did not think nothing of it, but did tell my wife to lock the inside door and to contact Christy Rocca, the sale person for Meritage Homes, and have the keys changed.

The garage door handle and keys were changed the second week of November. All this time the garage door remained unlocked, and it had remained unlocked – unknowingly to us – for the first few days after we closed. Even if it was locked, who had the real keys to the garage door?

After we had moved in, we were trying to locate the home phones and they could not be found anywhere. We thought they might have been thrown away mistakenly. On Sunday, November 19th, I was searching for my paintball guns and could not find them. I asked my wife and she said she hasn’t seen them. Then it dawned on me. I started searching for my silver coins, my foreign currency and my baseball cards. I couldn’t find any of it. Then I realized that all these items I had dropped off that Tuesday after we had closed. I hadn’t known about the unlocked garage door, and wasn’t aware of the wrong key. I put one and one together, and realized that someone must have stolen these items.

I informed Meritage Homes, and they said they can’t do anything about it. I reminded them that they were the ones that gave me wrong keys to the garage and it was unlocked all this time. If I had known it wasn’t locked I would not have dropped off my stuff there, and that even if I had known I wouldn’t have been able to lock it because they had issued me wrong keys, and where were the real keys? I told them that I believe this was done intentionally, giving whoever robbed us, the opportunity to walk in without a problem.

They told me to take it up with my insurance company. I’m sorry I don’t have receipts for each baseball card that I had collected back in the 80’s and early 90’s, and I don’t have receipts for all the silver coin that I had collected over a 10 year period, or any of the missing items.

I guess this is my problem not theirs, they already have their money.
     
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Anonymous on 2006-12-11:
Seems like you could have avoided all this grief if you had checked the door to see if it was locked when you left your valuables there. Shame on the builder for mixing up the keys, but the rest of it falls on you. I'm sorry for your loss, I know it would make me crazy. Did you file a police report?
Jop on 2006-12-11:
Did you report this to the police?
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