We hired Lawrence D Allar a.k.a.: Timber Land Co. (lic# 20060423) to build us a home in Independence MN. We worked on a cost plus basis since he had just built a similar home and we had the exact costs.
Larry started off as such a great guy that anyone could trust, because of this our "contract' was very loose. This was our biggest mistake. Because of the length and complexity of this entire ordeal I will just list some of the major rip-off's below.
-House was completed in 10 months not 6. We closed on our old home on month 4.5 as Larry told us it would still be done in 6! This was a major inconvenience and expense.
-The "cost" of the framing and sheet rock more than doubled from a house he had just completed. The receipt came from "Timberland"...was this a random number or what?
-This house was built on land that I had bought prior to getting Larry involved. At the end he charged me his 15% on the $116k I paid for my land!
-Early in the game he had me deed my land to him, he told me this was standard practice...bad move. This was just part of his plan to get me in the end.
-We paid over 50% of his "fees" within the first few months, (he was able to draw out of our account that had our "house money"). We put a stop when we noticed however that was a bit to late.
-We had many fights, very close to physical! I did later find out that he has had the physical ones with a past customer and his past partner.
-We were consistently called "liars".
-His Realtor dumped him and continued to give us inside info because of his unethical practices.
-His lawyer was not there in the end, he left him as well.
-It cost me $8k in attorney fees to close.
-Just before closing Larry finally gave us our "final amount due"...$200k+ over budget, numbers were to be given to me bi-weekly.
-I received a letter from his attorney saying since I did not make it to closing that I fortified the house and Larry could now sell it on the open market. There was no closing, the home still was not complete. This is the point I picked an attorney.
-I tracked down the purchasers of his last two homes...EXACTLY the same story! Exactly!
-We found that Larry was the one that owed money at closing, he was broke! He was using our money to try and build a parade of homes home. (That home I believe went to the bank, it could not sell in over a year)
-Larry called all of the people he owed money at closing and told them I was filling bankruptcy and they could only collect 75% or none! Most of them fell for this and needless to say wanted nothing to do with me until I was able to give them my story. My story was easy to believe since none of the subs got any money from the second house yet (over a year later).
-I still talk to several of the subs who were ripped off, they have never met anyone like Larry.
-In the end, since I deeded my land to Larry, my attorney advised me to pay the $20k+ that Larry still owed to get the house since the court process and getting everything back from the bank (and not having a home) would far exceed this cost.
-What I am left with: I overpaid by about 25%, I have a home that none of the subs are willing to come back to since they feel they lost so much, and the little piece of s**t Larry went off to ripping off more home builders!!!
I only regret not talking to the owners of the last two home owner he built for, I was dumb enough to believe his stories he told me about each. (I had to track one down in Colorado, they left the state because the woman feared for her safety while they took Larry to court for ruining their life and costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Larry's version, the house was back up for sale because the original ones were transferred!)