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COVID-19 impacting ability to sell homes, costing woman $15,000

 House
Posted at 5:30 AM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 10:44:14-04

From renters and homeowners to those looking for their next place, closures due to the coronavirus pandemic have impacted many across the Valley.

Deborah Arteaga says with her kids getting older, she was looking to downsize from her current home.

In February, she found a home she wanted, a new build by Shea Homes in Gilbert. She got pre-approved for a loan but needed to sell where she currently lived. She never predicted the coronavirus would put that plan on hold.

"I mean, immediately all calls and visits stopped as the stock market started to decline and folks just weren't financially confidant about purchasing a home," said Arteaga.

Now, months later and with the Pandemic still ongoing, Arteaga says despite her best efforts, even dropping the listing price on her current home, it has still not sold.

The new home that she wanted, now off the market, sold to a new owner.

Arteaga says she put a $15,000 deposit on that home. Money that would go a long way in this pandemic, but she says Shea Homes is not planning on giving it back, claiming she broke the contract.

The contract does state that with down payments and advanced money "the buyer assumes a risk of losing such monies if seller is unable or unwilling to perform under the terms."

However, in supplemental documents Arteaga showed us, it states approval for the loan was contingent on her selling her current place.

She couldn't get the loan, so she asked Shea why she couldn't get her money back.

"They sent me a sales cancellation agreement, which would have required me to forfeit the earnest money, as well as maintain a confidentiality clause - to not speak about it - and I wasn't willing to sign that," said Arteaga.

The Let Joe Know team called Shea Homes several times. Each time the office staff said they would get us into contact with their sales manager. That never happened.

"I think that $15,000 may seem like a small amount to some of us, but to many of us it is not a small amount," said Arteaga.

If you are having problems, let us know. Emails us at Rebound@abc15.com