Gung-Ho to I Don’t Know–Is there No Middle Ground?

Our audience is exploding in size, and is certainly comprised of many interested in the fate of the VUE Charlotte along with our core audience, which is pre-sales buyers. At the bottom of this post, in italics, is another note I received on what it is like to have been a pre-sales buyer in mid-2000 and trying to work with the Vue for a win-win solution in 2010.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented situation where real estate values have collapsed; the economy is on shaky ground; and folks who signed contracts that the VUE is demanding that buyers honor now that the building is finished. The whole situation is a financial tragedy. The buyers are scared that the Developer is in dire financial straits. The buyers feel they have signed contracts for units that are way overpriced given today’s market; and the VUE is asking that each buyer honor that contract as is with no price reductions.  By all accounts, the VUE has been flexible on helping buyers work on their closing date so they can fulfill their contract obligation. The buyers, on the other hand, are concerned that many can’t or won’t honor their contract, and therefore the unit values will collapse. And they are also concerned that even after several years living in their unit the values won’t return, and they are being asked to throw more  “good money after bad.” The buyers are also concerned that even if they walk away, there will be further financial consquences. In short, as one of my readers told me, this is not a “kumbaya moment.”

For now, though, amazing as it may sound, everyone, including this writer, wants the VUE to succeed. To date, the VUE is holding firm on their pricing, and not allowing anyone to negotiate the price they contracted for in mid-2000. I highlighted in an earlier post that the VUE in its current form cannot succeed. This is my opinion only and the person who wrote it. The VUE may take this firm position and still get most pre-sales buyers to sign. I don’t hear from “most.” I only hear from “some.” 

Everyone will need to decide for themselves based on the sample of folks we hear from and their own personal situation what to do with their unit. I hide no experiences. If there are positive ones, they have this forum open to them. If there are negative, they have the forum too.

I have had several back and forth emails from the writer below. From everything I have been able to glean from mail, this buyer wants to work with the VUE.  This buyer, like me and most of the pre-sales buyers, wants the VUE to succeed. Since the VUE has not stated their position publicly on this blog or in another forum, I have no idea why they are taking such a hard position on the price. It would seem to me that if they would work with me on the price in some manner, their probability of me closing would increase dramatically. But maybe they feel that just taking the deposit is enough and they can then move on to other buyers. Or maybe they feel they have a way to get the full price or more money through litigation. At some point I  need to meet with the VUE and understand why they are alienating me, and I know from the mail I receive, alientating other pre-sales buyers.

It feels like their approach now is that the folks complaining, and this blog, represent just a vocal minority. Troublemakers. The unfortunate small and inevitable set of people that in any pre-sales situation can’t or won’t close once a project is finished.

I don’t put myself in this category, nor do I put anyone I hear from in mail or talked to at the VUE event in this category. And most certainly, I don’t put the buyer who courageously agreed to share this experience with us in this category. My ask is please…MCL…Dan McLean…Elaine…Anne…is this the way it has to be? Is there no middle ground?

Hi Mike –

Here is what I think I can share– I’m sure if my contact at MCL begins reading the blog, it will be painfully obvious to her that this is my story but I’m ok with it.  I’m only sharing my story with no ill intent:

I feel more than compelled than ever to share my recent pre-closing experiences.  My letter came out in late August with a firm closing date in September.  I started working with one of the preferred lenders immediately and booked my flight to Charlotte immediately.  While I too have been experiencing the fears and doubts, I was still fairly certain I would be going through with closing on my unit since there seemed to be no way out with your deposit.  So the paperwork is cranking back and forth and my assumption is that we’re full steam ahead (considering I never heard otherwise).  As the date draws closer I begin questioning paperwork that I haven’t seen yet… and my lender informs me that there’s no way I can possibly close on the intended date.  Lender blames slow paperwork from the Vue … the Vue blames slow project approval from the lender.  But at the end of the day, my closing was pushed out by 3 weeks.  And my honest feeling on this— a sigh of relief more than frustration.  I felt like I was given a few more weeks to make certain this was still a good move.  I still wanted to fly down and see the goods- so I kept my final walk through appointment.  

The walk through was fabulous.  All of the positive feelings, excitement and awe came rushing over me as I walked into my unit for the first time.  It was more impressive than I had imagined.  The floor to ceiling windows and impressive views from my balcony had me sold once again.  And then there was the amenity deck that is truly a stand out.  So my confidence level was back up and my doubts were being pushed out of my mind by the pure excitement.  That was until I met with a contact for MCL who met with us to go over a few things about move-in, etc.  My mood quickly shifted as I felt her incredible defensiveness fill the room.  People in my party asked a few generic questions about the state of things– sales, contracts, closings, future plans and her answers were less than warm, welcoming and positive.  She went off on a tangent about signing a contract and being bound by that contract regardless of circumstance.  She claimed no concessions would be made and those who could not or would not close will surely lose their deposit.  This made me think of your post / MCL responses awhile back about working with buyers 1:1.  That is most definitely NOT the impression I got from this informal meeting.  And mind you, I was in there with full intent on closing!  These were just questions about people “unlike me” who were in a position of not being able to close or no longer wanting to go through with this.  When we asked about future plans and possibilities for sales and occupancy, her very firm comment was “I have no crystal ball”.  Talk about making someone who 10 minutes prior was full of awe and excitement feel like the rug was just pulled out from under them.   

An apology later followed from MCL for making me feel this way during our meeting and more positive stories and information was shared.  Stories such as sales hours being extended to keep up with “demand”, new contracts still being signed at today’s listing prices and even more unbelievable– having to turn offers away that were made on the model units, claiming those are not for sale.  

So make of this what you will.  I am only here to share my experience in the hopes of hearing more people open up about their dealings.  I can’t say for certain what my outcome will be, but I can say that the delayed closing is starting to feel like a blessing in disguise.  Open and honest communication from all parties is ideal but sadly I think we all need to piece together the truth ourselves from many avenues.  And I truly appreciate having this vehicle for conversation with other buyers.  None of us want this venture to fail… but I know we do want to know what we’re truly up against.  

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One Response to Gung-Ho to I Don’t Know–Is there No Middle Ground?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I would be very interested in what NC law says is acceptable in terms of the square footage discrepancy. The Property Report should serve as the basis for which the buyer based the purchase price upon. However, page 9 of the Property Report does warn that the development may require change to the configuration of some units; but, should not affect a buyer’s use of his or her unit. Again – a very “one sided” contract.

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