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Why I Moved In To My Condo A Year Late

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My first-time homebuying experience was a true nightmare. It began in the usual way with a fair offer on a property. It ended with multiple restraining orders and one pissed-off developer's mistress. In April 2009, after looking at countless properties, I made an offer on a new construction condominium unit on Capitol Hill. The building was still under construction, but I saw a model unit and loved it. I made my offer and it was accepted within 24 hours But that's where everything started to go down hill.

When I made the offer, the developers promised that the unit would be completed by the end of May, leaving me time to inspect and close by June 30th. As the closing date approached, I repeatedly asked to look at my finished unit. The developer's agent kept putting it off, but insisted the close was still on schedule for June 30th. A week out, I began to get nervous. I finally called my lender to inform him that it was possible the closing might be pushed back. Being the preferred lender for the developer, he informed me that he had already been told that the unit was completely unfinished, no inspection could occur until it was complete, and the developer had informed him that they had to push back the closing.

When I made the offer, the developers promised that the unit would be completed by the end of May, leaving me time to inspect and close by June 30th. As the closing date approached, I repeatedly asked to look at my finished unit. The developer's agent kept putting it off, but insisted the close was still on schedule for June 30th. A week out, I began to get nervous. I finally called my lender to inform him that it was possible the closing might be pushed back. Being the preferred lender for the developer, he informed me that he had already been told that the unit was completely unfinished, no inspection could occur until it was complete, and the developer had informed him that they had to push back the closing.

My agent confronted the developer's agent with this information. They acknowledged that the close would be pushed back, but we agreed on a new date at the end of August. While I was disappointed, I knew that new construction could have some setbacks. But in the meantime, I had to have a place to live. So, I reneged on my sublease agreement on my apartment, and begged my landlord not to kick me out.

As the end of August approached, I was excited to close on my new unit. But was again disappointed to learn that the developer had no money to finish the property. I agreed to yet another extension until the end of October. October arrived and no progress had been made. As you may recall, November 30th marked the expiration of the original first-time homebuyer credit. The lack of progress and clear indication that our units wouldn't be ready for closing, led all 9 of the other unit buyers in the 10 unit building to jump ship.

That left only me with a contact on my unit. I wasn't willing to give up, despite the tax credit expiration. Plus, I was confident that it would be extended, so I held onto my contract. The developer then decided that he wanted to unload the entire building, but because I still had a contract they needed to get rid of me.

That's when the developer's agent proposed a swap. The developer had another unit in a building across the street. The unit was larger. I could get a parking space, and they were willing to give it to me for the same price if only I agree to give up my contract on the original property. Sensing a good deal (a bigger unit, parking, and a nicer unit all for the same price), I jumped at the deal.

Closing was still set to occur on November 30th. But they promised this unit could be finished in plenty of time. But November 30th came and went and the new unit was unfinished. That's when the developer informed my agent that he "didn't want to sell me the property after all."

I was stunned.

Apparently, the developer thought that because I had an FHA loan at the original property (and the new one wasn't FHA approved), that I wouldn't be able to secure financing and would have to back off. When I actually got a conventional loan, he was stuck. You see: he had promised the unit on which I had a contract to his mistress (who was squatting in another finished unit in the building).

It was around this time that the developer appeared in a Washington Post story, lamenting the fact that no one wanted to purchase his properties. This was a complete lie. He had 10 people wanting to purchase the 10 units in the building across the street, which he didn't finish. He also had me wanting to purchase a unit in the very building that the Washington Post did the storty, and he was refusing to sell it to me because of his mistress wanting it.

That's when my agent suggested that we threaten to sue for breach of contract. To put pressure on the developer, she contacted the developer's lender (who financed the two buildings). The bank was surprised to learn that he hadn't finished the units. In fact, they thought he should have had plenty of money left over to finish the two buildings. That's when we discovered that the developer was misappropriating funds, causing the cash shortfall.

The developer's bank told them that if they didn't finish the unit and sell it to me that they would call in the loan.

That's when one of the developers (the one with the mistress) went ballistic. The other developer (the good guy) wanted to finish the building and move on, and he told the crew to start construction on my unit. At night, the partner (the one with the mistress) went into the unit and vandalized the progress.

At one point, I am told, he drilled holes in the pipes. He broke the shower installation. He broke the granite counters. He snipped electrical wires.

That's when the restraining orders went flying. He was barred from the property. When the police got involved, I think he finally realized he'd gone too far.

Finally, in February 2010, the construction on my unit could move forward. In the meantime, he was still hooking up with his mistress in the unit that she was squatting in. But he stayed away from me, and on March 8th 2010, I finally closed, nearly a full year after I put my contract on the original unit.

It took over a year and a half for the remaining developer (the good guy) to evict the squatter mistress from the building. That unit was trashed and had to be re-done. It finally sold this month.