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Updated on October 23, 2013

Preapproved: Well it Sounded Good but it Turned into Sleaze

In her column in the NYTimes February 6, 2011, Gretchen Morgenson tells the sad tale of Melissa Calderone's recent nightmarish experience when she attempted to buy a home in Windemere, Florida, from Pulte Homes, the nation's largest home builder.

Ms. Calderone was attracted to Pulte's Windemere development to be near her parents and a good school system for her children. Her local bank approved her application for a mortgage loan but a Pulte saleswoman offered her a $4,000 credit toward closing costs if she took our a loan with Pulte's banking unit. Ms. Calderone agreed and made a $20,000 earnest money deposit with Pulte and set aside and additional $80,000 for a downpanment on the $347,000 Pulte house. She enrolled her children in Windemere schools and waited for the closing date. Her agreement with Pulte provided that her $20,000 would be refunded if she canceled the deal within 45 days. Sixty-seven days after she signed up with Pulte, the builder's banking unit began to raise issues concerning her mortgage application which had been preapproved by the lender. For three months Calderone continued to respond to questions regarding her application. During this period nothing had changed in her financial situation. The closing date passed with no contact from Pulte. And in September, unsure whether her children could enroll in the Windemere schools, Calderone canceled her purchase contract and requested a refund of her $20,000 deposit. Pulte declined, claiming Calderone hadn't lived up to her obligations in the contract.

Ms. Calderone is not the only Pulte buyer who has experienced this kind of run-around. Last year the attorney general of Arizona filed a suit claiming that Pulte had deceived borrowers who thought their mortgages had been approved, when in fact they had not, and as a result lost their deposits ranging from $2500 to $25,000 each.

Pulte agreed to settle the lawsuit for $1.1 million, of course neither denying or admitting guilt. According to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, Pulte’s representatives will not represent or imply that they are able to “pre-qualify” Arizona consumers for home loans.

Gretchen Morgenson's article is linked below.


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    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 3 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry for your problems.

    • profile image

      Jen 3 years ago

      I can also say we are in the same boat losing our deposit. They originally told us that we were not approved then we asked for our money back and then, Bam...we were approved. The house didn't even break ground and was months behind when we had to back out due to losing our current living situation. Of course Pulte not being on time with building will not get you your money back. We learned a big lesson on bad mortgage lending and pulte practices. This was going to be our second pulte home. Never again will we deal with such disgusting practices. My advice is if you go through Pulte please get a realtor and go through your own bank.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 3 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Sorry to hear that. Thanks for your comment on your bad experience with Pulte.

    • profile image

      Patricia 3 years ago

      Get the word out Ralph! They just took our $15,000!

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 6 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      We're getting back to survival of the fittest. Thanks for your comment.

    • Jean Bakula profile image

      Jean Bakula 6 years ago from New Jersey

      Hello Ralph,

      When the word "Pulte" caught my eye, I had to write. My husband and I activally fought against an active senior complex that was to be 2500 units on what used to be a sandpit in Wanaque, Northern New Jersey, built by Pulte. It is directly across the road from a Reservoir, and the land should have been protected by a law called The Highlands Act, passed about 8 yrs ago, but now stricken down by Chris Christie, our new Gov. Anyway, we did manage to have the amount of units lowered to 775. Our town really didn't have the sewer capacity, roads or services needed for all these people, and the land actually had a sewage treatment plant at the end of the road, something the realtors hid from the buyers. People bought the units for a low price as it's not very developed here. But of course, the smell of the sewage plant is an ongoing problem. The town broke it's own ordinances to build the units 4 stories high, making an expensive, new fire truck a neccesity. Pulte was supposed to pay for the million dollar fire truck, but never did. Our town changed radically with all the extra people, and all our services are stressed by them. Pulte jumped on the active senior--age 55 and up--bandwagon fast, and I'm sure as soon as the economy gets better, we'll be fighting them again. They cannot be trusted!

    • alinadelea profile image

      alinadelea 6 years ago

      Good article,thanks.

    • Julie2 profile image

      Julie2 6 years ago from New York City

      That is rather frightening. My husband and I purchased a Pulte home in AZ last year when we made our move from the East Coast. I'm going to tell him to read this article when he gets home. Thanks for the heads up...

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Thank you for this alert!