Williamson County couple take custom builder to court

FRANKLIN, TN (WSMV) – After spending years being a firefighter, Michael Caro, his wife Brandi and his 80-year-old mom wanted to leave California with their eyes set on the Volunteer State.

“The people, the weather; it’s four seasons; it’s green; it’s just a great place to live,” Michael Caro said.

The Caros said they signed a contract with custom builder Dalamar Homes, paying a $39,000 deposit for an approximately $900,000 home in Franklin.

Part of their custom requests, making the home ADA accessible for his mom. However, the Caros tell News4 that the driveway and the walkway are nothing like they discussed in their meetings with Dalamar Homes.

For instance, the Caros said they wanted two to three steps max at their front door, but instead, they counted five.

“The things we paid extra money for, that we had asked to do in the house, it took us four hours to walk through the property,” Michael Caro said.

After going back and forth with the company over their custom requests, the Caros said Dalamar Homes tried cancelling their contract.

“They sent me a letter of ‘mutual cancellation,’ and I said, ‘We’re not going to sign this because we don’t want to cancel the home,’” Michael Caro said.

What the Caros claim one of the builder’s owners said to them over the phone next left them speechless.

“He said to me, you know what, I can cancel your contract right now and sell it for $100,000 more to somebody else. I remember Brandi and I looked at each other like, is that a threat?” Michael Caro said.

Eventually Dalamar took the position to cancel the contract with the Caros, which brought the parties to the Williamson County Court House on Sept. 28 for a court hearing to discuss a lawsuit between the Caros and Dalamar Homes.

“Land-purchase agreements get terminated all the time,” Dalamar Homes’ attorney Brittany Bartkowiak said during the court hearing. “The only rights these parties have is contained withing this agreement and until delivery of the deed, they have no rights, including rights to specific performance, which is what they asked for.”

Caros’ attorney Ross Hutchison stated in court that Dalamar is allegedly taking advantage of Middle Tennessee’s hot housing market.

“What’s not common in the industry are the actions of Dalamar in this lawsuit. We believe this is a pattern that goes beyond the Caros as alleged, and we’ll be able to establish that,” Hutchison said.

Williamson County Circuit Judge James Martin also had questions regarding the contract.

“It’s so egregious when I read it, I thought, I can’t be reading this,” Martin commented.

Now the fate of the home is in the hands of the judge, but the Caros said their lawsuit is bigger than that.

“We’re trying to make it so they can’t do this again,” Michael Caro said.

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