Contract Controversy: Buyers upset with a local homebuilder

Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 10:27 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -Several hopeful homeowners are upset with a valley home builder. Dozens of families signed contracts hoping to have a home built by Woodland Homes within the next year.

To their surprise, at the beginning of June, they all received a notice, that they would need to sign a brand new contract with a higher price tag and an escalation clause.

Archie Ramos is one of those people who signed with Woodland Homes in February. He says he and his wife didn’t want to sign when they did, but his agent told him prices would rise in two weeks and they should act now.

“In two weeks the price of this house will increase by $25,000. If you do not sign a contract now you are going to pay $25,000 more for this house,” says Ramos.

Little did Ramos and his family know, in three months, Woodland would ask for $25,000 more plus signing a 7% escalation clause or, they could get out of their contract and receive a refund on earnest money.

“We didn’t like either of those options,” says Ramos.

Woodland told them it was all due to rising lumber prices. It is important to know, the original contract did not contain an escalation clause.

This is just one of many families who received this message.

Frankie Claborn, says she and her husband were told construction would take a year, and they already sold their home with plans to move in soon.

“This was going to be our dream home. Plus, we just had a baby in January too,” says Claborn.

Claborn, says Woodland contacted them on June 9th stating they had 48 hours to sign a new contract or receive their earnest money back.

“My husband and I just felt uncomfortable moving forward because we just felt like we locked in on a price in March and that price should have incorporated the escalating material cost, labor costs, and things of that nature,” says Claborn.

WAFF reached out to Woodland Homes on June 9th. Again, on June 13th, and again on June 23rd.

WAFF was never granted an interview with the company president or given a statement about these complaints.

On June 15th, after I contacted the company and several families, Woodland Homes sent out a Non-Disclosure Agreement to those who had signed contracts.

Now, several are seeking legal help. One local attorney, Tom McGrath is working with 14 families all in the same position. They say they just want all their money back.

“Both people took a risk and I do not think we should have to pay the penalty for taking a risk and it not panning out on the companies behalf,” says Ramos.

This is an ongoing story and WAFF will be interviewing the homebuyers’ attorney.

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