Couple says home builder’s mortgage company cost them home

LITTLETON, Colo. -- A local couple is out nearly $10,000 in earnest money after they say a Richmond American Homes lender did not do their job.

Cristen and Robert Juarez started planning more than eight months ago for a new build in Littleton. They sold their home in April to prepare for the new home.

The couple is currently crammed into a relative’s basement.  Robert said, "It's been a journey for us. An emotional rollercoaster I guess you could say.”

Their two teenage daughters live across the city with their grandparents so the children can be close to their school.  Cristen said, “I just want my family back together.”

Back together after they say they were forced apart by their home mortgage lending company American Home Mortgage.   “They promised us a dream and then they took it right out from under us,”  the Juarez’s’ said.

Last February, real estate agent RaNae Rodriguez helped the couple find their dream home, a home being built by Richmond American Homes.

Rodriguez said, “I think what they did to the people is awful.”

They qualified for the house through an independent lender, but say Richmond offered thousands of dollars in incentives if the couple used their lender, so they did.   “We’ve been away from our children for almost six months, not living under the same roof at least,” Cristen said.

The couple told the FOX31 Problem Solvers the lender told them to pay off their debt to raise their credit scores, but it actually made it dropped.

“Every time we asked them what we can do, what do we need to do and he would say, you’re fine, everything looks good.  We’re on track and months were going by,” the Juarez’s said.

It wasn’t until July the Juarez family was told they didn’t qualify for a conventional loan, a difference that would cost them nearly $600 to $1,000 more per month.

The only option was to terminate the contract. But the builder says they will lose their earnest money.  Rodriquez said, “Richmond has little sympathy for the situation they are in which was created by the mortgage company there were required to use by Richmond to get those incentives.”

“Our future was in their hands and we trust them and they really did us wrong and we don’t have a home now,” Cristen said.

FOX31 Problem Solvers received an email from Richmond American Homes saying they are working with the couple to resolve the issue.

“We just want to get our money back you know,” Robert said.

The takeaway: A mortgage broker is supposed to be working and advocating for the buyer.  If a builder wants you to use their preferred lender, you have to ask yourself, are they working for your or are they working for the builder?