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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Donovan Homes disappointment.

The following is an email that I received from Jo, a reader who says that Donovan Homes made a nightmare of the homebuilding process. I know that it is not entirely customer service related, but there are some points that should be noted, such as rudeness from the salesperson and a lack of timeliness and communication.

Something that I have not mentioned before on is the fact that Sean and I recently ended our relationship with Donovan Homes in the midst of a new home construction because of the way in which they dealt with us. I didn't write about it partly because I didn't want to do so in anger and partly because I simply didn't want to afford them any publicity on the back of my disappointment. Anyway.

Here's Jo's story. When I finally make sense of what happened in my situation, I'll be sure to post that, too.

"I bought a house through Donovan Homes in the fall of 2007 and I have could never have dreamed that building a home could be such a terrible experience. Right from the horribly rude salesperson down to the crooked builders and contractors, it was a nightmare. It continues to be a nightmare as I try to sell this second-rate home.

Let's start at the beginning. I signed a contract and put down a deposit on my home on September 15, 2007 and was told that I would be in my new home in January. I visited the site for a month, waiting for them to even break the ground and begin to build. By the end of October, they finally broke ground and now told me that it would be early February until I could move in. Oh well, these things happen. At least it was underway. The house building began and the structure was put up by mid-December, so things were looking good as it should only take about six weeks to complete the interior. I still thought we were on track.

Ha! Little did I know they would not even visit the construction site in the months of January and February. It was March until anyone even started the interior, and I was still paying rent. Meanwhile, because it took so long I had to keep applying for a mortgage because the pre-approval only lasts for 90 days. This meant that I lost the rate I had been originally promised, and my mortgage, should the house ever be completed, would be more expensive. But what could I do? Donovan Homes was very rude about it all, going as far as to egg me on by telling them to walk away, they didn't care because there were several others lined up to buy it at a higher price than I'd paid.

Throughout the process, the salesperson actually gave out my name and phone number to a future neighbour for the purposes of soliciting money from me. This created tension between myself and a neighbour before I'd ever even moved in. I tried to explain the Privacy Act to her but it went completely over her head.
Finally, closing day came. It had been pushed back and pushed back until the closing date became June 6, 2008, nearly nine months after I signed the deal for a house that should take 4 months to build, if done at a leisurly pace. It was the final hour on Friday, June 6th, and I was waiting to go to the lawyers office to sign the remainder of the paperwork and get my keys. I had the movers set to come the next morning and cable company were coming that evening. I was getting nervous because I'd not heard from the lawyer, so I went to his office. He couldn't figure out what the problem was, so he called the city to see why he hadn't heard back from them regarding the occupancy permit. It was because none had been issued, there was a pending file on the home, but no one could access it unitl Monday because the inspector had gone home.

Having waited nine months to finally get in my home, I found out at the final moment that I had to cancel the movers because there would be no occupancy permit and no way to find out why until Monday. I had taken time off of work and made all of these arrangments for nothing. I found out on Monday that the reason that I couldn't get my occupancy permit was because Donovan Homes owed the city $100 for calling an inspector out for final inspection before the home was ready for inspection. This is the reason that I could not move in that weekend and instead had to try and arrange the movers for the following weekend.

On June 9th, 2008 I finally moved into my home. My home that leaked which caused the flooring to be ruined in the kitchen. I thought I was safe because I had warranty on the home for the first seven years. However I had to bring in a mediator in order to get them to honor the home warranty and fix the leak, eight months after it occurred.
Now I am trying to sell the home and it's a nightmare because it continuously fails inspection because of the inferior product that Dononvan Homes produced. The shingles came off, the foundation cracked, it leaked, and everything you could ever imagine went wrong. I urge anyone out there looking to build a new home. Do not go to Donovan Homes. They will make you cry. All of my neighbours have similar stories, some worse. In fact, I'm one of the lucky ones."

It would be nice to hear the Donovan Homes side of the story on this one. I blogged previously about the Disney philosophy of "underpromise, overdeliver" but from the sound of it, Donovan Homes did just the opposite in Jo's case. Thanks for sharing.


  1. I have honestly never heard anything positive about Donovan Homes. I'm quite surprised that anyone is willing to do business with them.

  2. Was wondering if Donovan Homes and the other associations know about the high acid levels in the soil at Soiree Heights subdivision? As a result, causing water lines to corrode way before there time so it seems to me that there should have been better materials used during constuction. Now many residents are facing huge expenses to do the repairs on homes that are relatively new. Not to mention the massive amount of water that is just leaking into the ground which I think the regional water board and town of CBS would be very concerned with.