I am writing this letter to outline the issues I have had with our home builder Lifestyles Homes. In short, we believe they have caused us a great deal of personal and financial stress. We have attempted to negotiate, however, our complaints have fallen on deaf ears. The following is a chronological review of our dealings to date.
On March 22, 2012, I put a deposit on lot 8-Silverado. I entered into a contract to purchase the Venetian C with significant upgrades totaling over $640,000. I was rushed through the purchase process to accommodate Lifestyles wishes, otherwise they were going to spec out the lot. When preparing the contract, I was informed the estimated completion date should be in October, as Lifestyles wanted to be out of the area by that time. I was also told that if I sold my home prior to possession, Lifestyles would
allow me to store my things in the garage. My realtor was with me during this meeting. I was satisfied with this time line, as it would allow for us to list our existing home in the summer months.
Soon after, I was advised that the home would not fit on lot 8, so we agreed to pay the extra cost and move our build to the last lot backing on to the green space. Another family purchased lot 8 a couple of weeks later.
I was then advised that once financing was waived I would be contacted by a Lifestyles Customer Service Rep, in order to start my interior selections. Financing conditions were waived on April 19th, 2012, and all
communication from Lifestyles ceased. As I awaited contact from Lifestyles, I watched two spec homes and the home on lot 8 (purchased after mine) being constructed in record time.
On May 22, 2012, being concerned that there was no movement on my build, I finally sent an email to the sales center - but received no response. My realtor also left a voice mail but did not receive a response.
On May 26, 2012 my realtor, sent an email to Lifestyles customer service, Lisa , explaining my situation - she received no response.
On May 29, 2012 - (20 days after my conditions were waived) Name then called the Lifestyles office directly and spoke to the customer service manager (Brenda), who was horrified that I had not been contacted yet.
name immediately received a reply to her email from Lisa and I received a call to set up a meeting regarding my selections. In reply to Rondas email, Lisa indicated to her that she figured the possession date would be February. Name explained that I had been told October.
During my meeting with Lisa and Sheila, I queried them about this and asked if October was still the estimated possession date. They both believed it was and it was again stated that the garage would be available for short term storage, if required.
I was subsequently informed that I needed to rush to have all of my selections in before June 25 to avoid any delays. I took time from work and completed my selections on June 14, 2012.
I was told my stake date was set for June 14 - however digging did not begin until June 21, 2012 and the basement was not poured until July 13, 2012.
On July 28, 2012 it was backfilled and the framing package was dropped off - however it then sat for three weeks. The framing did not start until the week of August 15, 2012.
On August 22, 2012 in preparation for listing our existing home name contacted Lisa asking for an estimated possession date. Lisa conferred with Nigel, the Site Superintendent, who provided a date in November. Name asked if it was early November or late November, but received no response. Name listed our existing home with a possession date for the end of November just to be safe.
On August 29, 2012 anticipating an offer on our home, name contacted Lisa to firm up the possession date as the buyers were at that time very flexible. Once again, she received no response. The sale went through with a possession date of November 27, 2012.
I subsequently informed Lifestyles of the sale and the possession date. Absolutely no concerns were raised and everything appeared in order. By September 7th, the framing was done and windows were in. On September 10th, they began shingling and finished almost a week later, however, things slowed down
drastically after that. After the roofing, very few trades were ever seen around the property and we kept a keen eye on the progress.
September 20 the electrical and plumbing was started and finished by the 24th. On October 2nd, we had our initial walk through with Nigel and nothing had changed since September 24. When I asked Nigel for an estimated possession date, we were told it will now most likely be December (but nothing more specific). I explained the situation i.e. that my family was scheduled to move out of our house on November 27th,
however, this did not seem to concern him and he did not reply.
On October 3rd I sent an email to the General Manager of Lifestyle homes, Ryan Armstrong, detailing the above information. Also, explaining that we may be able to negotiate a different possession date for our existing home but would need to have something more concrete than December.
Ryan responded immediately indicating they would do their very best to make an end of November possession. Without millwork on site they did not want to make a 100% commitment, but suggested they would know in a couple of weeks and asked for my patience.
On October 29th I had still not been informed of a possession date. When I queried Lisa she indicated she had just left word with Nigel asking him to set a date. She further explained that if we were to get our notice that day, our possession could be December 3rd.
It is important to note that on October 30th, 2012, Lifestyle Homes turned over possession of the home on Lot #8 to the new home owners.
On November 1, 2012, as I still had not heard anything from Lifestyle homes, I emailed Lisa again and this time asked if we would be able to store our things in the Garage on November 18. Lisa replied indicating that Nigel has not received the garage door until two days before possession and is very reluctant to let us use the garage but will follow up with the supplier. I again asked her what the possession date was, however, her response was Nigel hasnt provided me anything yet. I requested another site
visit and walk through with Nigel and was put off until November 21st.
At this point the buyers of our existing home had made arrangements to have trades come into our existing home on November 27th, so negotiating a different possession date was off the table and my secured mortgage rate now at risk.
On November 12, 2012 I stopped by Rondas house and we walked over to the build. There was one trade on site. Ronda asked him if he was the finish carpenter and he indicated he was the rail guy. He further stated that the finish carpenter was not there as Nigel only allows one trade in the house at a time.
On November 15, 2012 I sent a follow-up email to Ryan Armstrong. His response was again one of deflection. He stated that Nigel would provide me with a date during our scheduled walk through on November 21.
On November 16, 2012 I received an email from Lisa indicating that Nigel wanted to put the walk through off until the 23rd as the cabinets would be fully installed by then.
As I was incredibly distraught name called Lisa on my behalf and explained that I did not care about my cabinets at this point. What I cared about was a possession date so I could plan some form of accommodation for my family i.e. short term for a few weeks or otherwise. And, what I needed was storage for my household items. At that point, name proposed that Lifestyle offer one of their empty spec homes for us to reside in as the possession date was still a mystery. She followed this up with an email.
On November 19, 2012 Lisa informed Ronda that Lifestyles would not be willing to allow us use of one of their vacant properties. However, we would be able to use one of the garages for storage. Also, on this day, the stone work was started on the outside of the home and the cabinets were dropped off at the home, however, installation was not started.
On November 20, I secured a short term rental for my family at $75/day plus utilities.
On November 21, 2012, Lisa confirmed we could use the garage at the build to store our house hold items.
On November 22nd, we moved the majority of our household into the garage and in doing so, name noted the cabinets were being installed. She asked the workers if they would be done by tomorrow (Friday) and they indicated they would. They then stated, I understand you are moving in at the end of the month. name advised them she was not the home owner but that was the hope.
On November 23rd name and I attended the house to do the walk through with Nigel and to get the possession letter. Due to a miscommunication (name sent confirmation to the wrong Lisa) and this meeting did not happen. Ronda called Lisa but she was off that Friday and not returning until Monday. We remained at the home until after 9 am and no trades arrived until later that afternoon.
On Monday November 26th, I delivered a load of belongings to the house at around 9:30 am. Again,
nobody was there. I called Lisa and shortly after the drywaller showed up to let me in. When we went inside the furnace was off so he was unable to do his patching. He told me he was surprised that more trades were not on site as there was a big push to get everyone in before Christmas.
Later that day, Lisa called me with the possession date of January 19, 2013. As you can see, this is not for another 54 days. I was stunned and sickened. If they knew it would be delayed to this extent, why on earth would they put off telling me? If I stay in my short term rental it will cost my family an additional $5000. This is absolutely ludicrous and an expense that we did not plan on, nor can we afford.
name sent an email to Lisa and Ryan Armstrong on our behalf requesting some form of compensation to assist us with the unexpected financial burden. Ryan responded the following day, however, his note was rude and condescending, blaming us for selling our house before receiving our possession letter. And, as the building time is within the industry standards, they would not be willing to compensate us in anyway.
My husband and I are reasonable people. All I have ever asked is to be informed. If a builder cannot
be held to a verbal possession date, why would they not be more open in their discussions with us? We may not have been happy to hear a later possession date, however, had they been clear upfront we most definitely could have negotiated a later possession of our existing home.
By not being open and honest about the project (issues and delays), by avoiding any discussion about dates, they have repeatedly misled us which has now caused us an incredible amount of additional stress and financial burden.
The site superintendent Nigel first estimated a November possession, upon which we based the sale of our existing home, then estimated a December possession which we based our short term rental on (as they refused to give us any other dates or details).
On October 4, Ryan Armstrong told us they would do their best to get us in at the end of the month of November and told me they would need a couple of weeks to ensure this was a possibility. He assured us that they were doing everything they could to finish our home a quickly as possible, which has been proven to be completely untrue. We were given no further information after his email; my requests were ignored and put off until we had already negotiated a short term rental.
It is a fact that the home on lot 8 was contracted after ours and finished well before. It is my understanding that there are several homes in Okotoks, that were contracted around the same time as mine was, that
will be turned over to their new owners before Christmas. It is my understanding that a spec home started after our build (located at 118 Silverado Skies Drive) will be ready for a Christmas possession. It is my
belief that trades were allocated to these other projects, as it was better for the builder financially to do so, having little to no regard of our precarious situation and financial hardship. And to add salt to the wound, they take no responsibility for their delays, misleading commitments, or general lack of customer service.
Ryan Armstrong states, We are only as good as our last house. Well, considering that we appear
to be the last house on his to-do list, his statement stands to bring considerable negativity to his product and his business in general.
All we are looking for is some understanding, consideration and assistance in relation to a situation that could have been avoided, in its entirety. I have attached the relevant emails and text messages that establish my position on events, as outlined above.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter and I look forward to your response.