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Ask Tina Your Own Question
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5436
Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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My wife and I are over 65 years of age and we are both

Customer Question

My wife and I are over 65 years of age and we are both disabled. My wife is in a wheelchair and is on oxygen 24/7. Our doctor advised my wife that she must move to a lower altitude in order to breath better. We now reside in New Mexico. We wanted to have a house built in Kingman AZ. We contacted a real estate agent Lacy Mercer. She took us to a home builder George Fripps. We picked a plan that we liked and stated that we have special needs such as 36 inch door entrances to accommodate a wheelchair in 2 bedrooms and the entrance. Mr Fripps stated that he can do that. We then said to him to wait on the house we have several other things we needed and we will be in touch. Our agent took us to her office and gave us a contract stating that we could add anything we needed later. We gave her a check for $1650.00 and asked her if we had any emergencies which prevented us from qualifying for the loan would we get our money back. She stated yes we would. She then said that her firm uses Chicago Title. We left and started our trip back to Alb. NM where we have our home. About 10 days later we were ready to discuss all the needs we required so we called our realtor to add the special needs we required. She told us that George Fripps had started building the house. She said he had the foundation laid and the frame up. I called Mr. Fripps and asked him if he had 36 inch doorways. He stated he didn't know. I asked him if he remembered me asking him about the doors. He said he would look in to it. I received no response from him so after 5 days I called my agent who referred me to her assistant Ashley Van Vleet. Mrs Vleet told me that the doors were not 36 inches and that she would work on fixing my problem. 2 weeks went by and no call from her. My wife had a medical emergency and we had to spend our money we saved for a down payment so we contacted the bank ( Wells Fargo ) that we qualified with for the loan and they wrote a letter stating that we didn't qualify. I told Mrs Vleet of our situation and she said she would take care of it. About 2 weeks later she called me and said there is no problem getting our money back. We need to sign a form stating that we did not qualify. She said she would send us the forms on our computer and we could electronically sign them. We did so and she stated that we will get our money back, she is waiting for the title company. About a week later I received a call from Kylie Queen ( Chicago Title ) asking me what our address is so she can mail us the check. I waited 8 days and then I called Mrs Vleet and she stated and I quote I know that this is a small town and we all know each other but believe me we are helping you. She then stated that George Fripps went to Chicago title and threatened to take them to small claims court if they didn't give him the $1650.00. Mrs Vleet said that I did everything correct and he was just bluffing. She said she would get back to me. I waited 3 days and no call so I called her. She says that Chicago Title gave the problem to there legal department. She said it was just a formality and not to worry. She then called me back in 2 days and said that AZ law says that I cannot get my money back. They gave it to George Fripps. I am asking you do you think that I can recover the money. We would have never entered into this contract if we could not get our money back due to sickness or death. At our age this money means a lot to us. Can you advise me.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to answering your question.

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

Did your contract state in its terms you could cancel in the event of illness? Did the builder sign anything such as a release to you or an amendment cancelling the agreement and directing the deposit be returned?