McMansion Turned McMoneyPit
McNightmare Story from SFGATE
"Come Monday, barring any drastic changes, Jacob Holmes, his wife, Sharmaine, and their three children will pitch a tent in the living room of their $700,000 dream home, spark up the propane stove and start roughing it."
"It wasn't long after they moved into the brand new two-story house at 1018 Promenade St. in Hercules that they discovered a laundry list of problems."
"The house leaked like a sieve. There was no way to get into the attic. And though they didn't know it at the time, there was a gas leak on the property."
"The mold and water experts identified dangerous levels of mold in numerous places and confirmed that at least half of the 48 windows in the house leak. Other leaks sprang from faulty plumbing connections, and Holmes saw water seeping in from an outside pipe. The builders even forgot to cut an opening in the ceiling to reach the attic."
"To top it off, city building officials told the family in September 2005 that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. had found a gas leak on the property."
'"This has been an ongoing situation for coming on to two years, and he's had several problems with the house," Ed Galigher, president of Western Pacific's Bay Area division said." (Owned by DR Horton)
"We've had some construction issues, and that happens with most houses, but he's had more problems than most people have."'
"The family moved out of the house in June 2003, just five months after they moved in, to allow workers to take care of the mold. They returned two weeks later, but it was less than a year before more leaks and more mold forced them out in May 2004."
"That was two years ago. The house, gutted to the framing studs, has been vacant ever since -- and Holmes is still making mortgage payments."
'"We planned on being here till we couldn't walk up the stairs anymore, but these people have turned what was supposed to be our dream home into a nightmare," Holmes, a 37-year-old Oakland firefighter, said. "I spent my life's savings, and I've never enjoyed a single day in that house."'
"They have not lived there since."
"Western Pacific Homes set up the family in a temporary home a few blocks away and promised to fix everything."
"At first, Holmes was patient, sure that Western Pacific would make things right. But when the contractor did an abrupt about-face in July 2004 and offered to buy the place back instead of fixing it, his patience began to wear thin."
"Western Pacific's lawyer sent Holmes a letter saying the company would no longer foot the bill for temporary housing -- or anything else."
"It's easy to see why the Holmes family has held on to its dream home with such determination. The couple moved in after leaving their first home at 75th and Bancroft avenues, by most any measure a rough section of Oakland."
"The family's Victorian house was among nearly 230 new homes during the first phase of a Hercules development that would eventually include more than 900 houses. It sits in a tidy neighborhood that enjoys the picturesque sunset bay views that have become a hallmark of Bay Area living."
"It was everything -- better schools, a painless commute and a brand new home -- they'd been dreaming of for years."
"But it's become a nightmare, and Holmes can't understand why Western Pacific won't step up.
"It seems to me like they've spent more money keeping us out of the house rather than trying to get us back in it," he said."