ED Magedson – Founder
Cypress Homes LLC1619 West College Ave Appleton, Wisconsin USA
Cypress Homes LLC Bad contract Appleton Wisconsin
In the spring of 2013 we started to research home builders in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin, and I contacted Cypress Homes LLC. I sent an email asking about building prices for a ranch style home and within a couple hours I had an email back from Greg Drusch. Greg said their ranch style homes, with a similar floor plan we were interested in, would cost between $105.00-$125.00 per finished square foot. This was in the price range that we wanted to spend, so I emailed Greg a floor plan we were interested in from Signature Homes website that had a 1,600 square foot design. He said that Cypress Homes could design a house for us for around $200,000.
The Cypress Homes website stated other benefits to building with them. It states they will sell your existing home, but when I inquired about selling our home in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin Greg said it was out of their range for selling homes. According to the Cypress Homes website, “Free short-term housing” would be offered to those building a house with Cypress Homes. This was appealing to us because we had a very short time frame from selling our home before moving to the Fox Valley. Building a new house takes time, and we believed Cypress had our best interest in mind when they told us they would help us find a place during the construction of our house. This all was adding up as the perfect fit for our family's needs so we set up a meeting with Greg Drusch.
Our meeting with Greg provided us with confidence that Cypress Homes would build a home within our budget and time constraints. According to Greg they do not employ any of the skilled labor and they work solely with contractors. We viewed two of the homes they were currently having built by outside contractors. One home was very close to being finished and the other was still under construction. Both houses peaked our interest, and we were impressed by the detail their contractors put into each home. Our next step according to Greg was to sign an agreement for Cypress Homes to design our home from the Signature Homes floor plan, which we would incur the costs of design work if we choose not to build with Cypress Homes. We signed the agreement based on a home around 1,600 square feet being designed through Cypress Homes for $200,000.00.
After this meeting we learned about their false advertisement about Cypress Homes providing free housing while they build your home. Instead Greg offered to give us a credit for about $1,500.00 while the home was being built. He told us that the credit was to offset higher rent charges we would probably pay due to short term leasing. He then said that they would find us short term leasing while our house was being built. However he was never able to come up with any places that met our short term housing requirements. The places he did offer did not accept dogs, have short term leases or were far from where our daughter could attend school once we moved into our new home. We eventually had to find our own rental place in less than three weeks before we closed on our existing home in Sun Prairie.
The house design came back within two weeks of the first meeting and was at 1,884 square feet. In mid May we met with Greg to go over the design of the home and discussed specification for the home to obtain a bid from contractors. We stressed our budget and need to stay within the budget. We expressed that quality was important but we did not need high end products in the house.
The meeting to discuss the bid of the home took a couple weeks to set up due to scheduling conflicts, the selling of our home, and purchasing of our new lot. The bid proposal meeting was originally scheduled for June 18, 2013, but due to moving on June 22, 2013 we were unable to meet on that date. I had called Greg to find out what the cost of the home was bidding at in order to make adjustments prior to the meeting if need be in order stay at budget. It was crucial to us that we start building the home as soon as possible as we were in a short term lease, and we wanted to address any challenges as efficiently as possible. However, Greg did not offer any information regarding contract bids or what the house was going to cost prior to the meeting. He did not even mention if it was higher or lower than our budget.
When we arrived on Tuesday at Cypress Homes LLC, June 25, 2103 for the meeting Greg was not ready to meet with us, and we had to wait 45 minutes. This seemed really odd to us, as Greg had previously been available during the process to answer questions up until the last week and was flexible meeting with us on the weekends. When Greg finally met with us he said “I am not sure what happened but the house did not come back near the price I was hoping for.”
This did not set a good tone for the next 30 to 45 minutes while Greg went page by page through the bid specifications. He mentioned several times that certain bids were not firm and could be higher. He finally got to the cost of the house, which was 20 percent higher than we had given him for a budget. He again said he did not know why the cost was so high. In addition, he had a page and a half of optional price additions to the bid proposal, which included many of the items we had requested to be in the original bid of the house. There was not one option or suggestion on how to reduce the cost to work within our budget.
I told Greg that I was very disappointed with this meeting. We expressed that we could not afford the house at that cost and needed to know what we could be done to adjust it. Greg said he did not know what to tell us. I told him he had until Friday, June 28 to fix this problem. As we were leaving Greg did not try to stop us, and did not offer any resolutions so we left the meeting. Greg did not reach out to us after the meeting and did not get back to us on June, 28 as I requested. This told us that Cypress Homes did not want our business and decided not to work with us. If they wanted our business, they would have contacted us immediately to tell us options for building the home with them. However, when a company does not contact you that means they do not want your business. Within a week, we began working with Signature Homes, who understood our time and budget needs.
On July 23, Greg finally reached out to me by email for the first time since our meeting on June 25. This is nearly a month later and hardly an active pursuit for obtaining our business. Greg was aware that we were under a time constraint as well, as we were renting an apartment for just six months. In the email he wrote ”I just thought I would check and see if you guys have gotten numbers from any other builders yet. Looking at our numbers, I don't think we would be able to get the price down to $200,000.00 we were targeting, but I do think we would be able to get the cost down considerably with a few changes. Please let me know if that is something you wish to pursue, if not I understand.”
The next time I heard from Greg was on August 7, and in this email he asked us to pay for the design work for the house they had designed for us. On October 4, I received another email from Greg asking for payment. On October 21 we received a certified letter stating that if we did not make the payment by November 1 they would take us to small claims court. The Cypress Homes letter states that they tried to reach us via phone in addition to the emails, but I never once had a voice mail or missed call from Greg Drusch or anyone at Cypress Homes. At this point I reached out to our attorney and he suggested that we offer to split the fee with Cypress Homes since the design and cost of construction was not in the budget we had given them. Both parties had responsibility for the house not being built.
On Thursday October 31, I called Greg, which was the first time I talked to him since June 25.. I explained to Greg that I had consulted with our attorney and I made the offer as our attorney suggested. Greg said that he would discuss this with Mike Blank and get back to me. I encouraged Greg to explain to Mike the situation in the fullest detail and that if I had to pay the full amount I would file a detailed complaint to the Better Business Bureau. During the phone conversation Greg also said that he thought there was more room in our budget since we had made more money on the sale of our existing home. I asked Greg where that came from because we did not make more money on the sale of our house, and I never once told him that. The email from July 23 proves that I never had a discussion with Greg about having a higher budget to work with. Greg responded that his boss was not willing to split the fee so we paid the full amount.
We feel since Cypress Homes was not willing to build the home within the $200,000.00 budget that Cypress Homes should be half responsibility for the design fee. Greg never once told us that their numbers would come close to 20 percent higher than our budgeted number at any point while they were obtaining bids. In addition, we had asked for a home be designed at 1,600 square feet and they charged us for design fees for a home that was considerably higher at 1,884 square feet.
Cypress Homes did not provide the service that we asked for or they promised. Instead they took the liberty to design a home much larger in size than our budget with specifications that were not firm. In addition, Greg could not explain why the bid of the home was higher when meeting with us or within days of the bid meeting. Consequently Cypress Homes asked us to pay for their mistakes and laziness in bidding a house for us. Yes, we signed a contract saying we would pay the design fees if we did not build with Cypress Homes, but at the time of signing we believed Cypress Homes had every intention of wanting to obtain our business and work with us. Essentially, Cypress Homes chose not to build a home for us. We do not want others to go through the challenges we had with Cypress Homes. Cypress Homes needs to acknowledge their short comings and treat customers with respect.
I have records of emails, copy of the detailed proposal, and screen shots of the www.callcypresshomes.com website as detailed proof to back up my complaint.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/17/2013 08:06 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Cypress-Homes-LLC/Appleton-Wisconsin-54914/Cypress-Homes-LLC-Bad-contract-Appleton-Wisconsin-1100160. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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