Americas Home Place - America's Home Place (Lebanon, TN) - For the love of God...avoid them like the plague!!
Please believe me when I tell you: if you are wanting to build a home, and you choose America’s Home Place, chances are you will sorely regret the day you ever first heard of them.
We completed a house (we definitely can’t call it a home) last year with AHP’s Lebanon, TN office. Complete frauds, from start to finish. The first day you set foot in their showroom, their used car salesman asks, “Hello ‘friend’ [sic]! Have you ‘folks’ every built a home before?”
It was our first time, so we naively told him “no” and have been grabbing our ankles ever since.
Perhaps the most telling moment was when we asked AHP about the arbitration clause in their contract. It seemed shady to us, so we enquired about removing or amending it. In hindsight, how they explained that...just the look on their face alone should have been enough to send any clear-thinking person straight for the door.
Experience, we have learned the hard way, can be a cruel teacher.
A critical step in ever getting us (the unwitting mark in this ***) into a contract in the first place is their site evaluation process, which is a total farce. This is where someone from their office comes out to your property to determine exactly how much they’ll be able fleece you on allowances. For those that don’t know, "allowances" are the estimates that get tacked onto your so-called “fixed costs” for whatever building package you’ve selected (which are already wildly inflated, of course). You will find that nearly all of these allowances are significantly (and intentionally) low-balled in order to keep you at the signing table. Only after many months, long after your contract is signed and the AHP noose is securely around your neck, do you find out just how fictitious and unrealistic those numbers really are. Our house, which is one of the simplest designs that AHP offers and which has practically no customizations, routinely had 200-400% overages on the highest-dollar amount budget allowances, totaling altogether ~$30K over the original budget. And good luck ever getting a coherent explanation as to why these overages occur. By the time AHP is done with you, it will be crystal clear why.
Once you’ve had the misfortune of signing a contract, AHP quickly steers you to their “preferred lender”, which in the Lebanon office is Bank TN, to start your construction loan paperwork. In time it became pretty obvious why they are preferred. While we certainly didn’t know this when we first went to them, and had no idea what “normal” construction financing even looked like, come to find out most loans for building projects (at least those that are on the up-and-up) are carried by the builder. Not so with AHP...they require the owner to carry the loan the entire time. This of course completely removes any incentive for timely completion. Apparently, AHP’s credit is so questionable, and their business practices so unreliable, they dare not take on the risk of carrying a construction loan. Only after you are neck deep in your ordeal do you find out just how much AHP and Bank TN are working hand-in-glove. It’s in both of their interest to keep that loan open (accruing interest that the owner is paying on) as long as possible. Also, they never bothered disclosing what many would perceive as a blatant conflict of interest with this arrangement, since the loan officer at Bank TN that AHP sends you to is a long time friend and business associate of the owner of AHP.
Once the loan closes, which for us took nearly 3 months, you get a “superintendent” assigned to your house. The Lebanon AHP office apparently cannot keep more than 1 or 2 superintendants employed at a time, yet they still keep racking up new contracts, which I suppose is why they can never seem to start or finish your project. So many new suckers out there you know. As far as I can tell, these “supers” (college-aged young bucks, i.e. cocky and oblivious) had never so much as swung a hammer in their life, but they were the ones the Lebanon office thought should oversee the building of our dream home? Comforting. We had 3 different supers assigned to our house at different times. None of them had ever built a home. AHP was literally their first time at bat in the contractor biz. Nice. This might help explain why the subcontractors they hired (A) were inebriated, (B) were weeks if not months late to the site, (C) did only the most minimal and shoddy work, much of which has to be repaired or redone entirely (D) significantly overcharged for their “work”, or (E) all of the above. Option E was our usual experience with AHP.
Subcontractors were never supervised. Most of the time they had little idea why they were even at the site. It was common for them to either have no copy of the plans or an outdated version. A super might show up at our property once every 6 weeks (I’m being generous), just to give the appearance that they cared or knew what was going on. We caught them in numerous lies, which apparently is a prerequisite for their job. When they weren’t lying they were making endless lame excuses for why the work wasn’t getting done, but then they’d always turn around and promise the moon whenever we pressed them about completion dates. We witnessed and documented thoroughly all of this and so much more, because we were living at the build site during the entire process. They seemed to be irked by our presence on our own property. How dare us at least attempt to hold their feet to the fire. They knew we were fact-checking all their lies, but that didn’t stop them. In fact they seemed to lie or make excuses more, whenever we challenged them about it. Throughout the entire ordeal, we--certainly not anyone from AHP--had to take on the actual role of superintendent, because they were never there and never knew or cared about the status or quality of anything related to our house.
Heaven help you if you find something in your project that might need to get changed. AHP charges a $200 change order fee every single time, even for the most trivial of changes. Of course, lots of things end up needing to get changed, because so many details get overlooked (remember, these guys had never built a house before joining AHP). Again, the inexperience, indifference and greed of the Lebanon office, on full display at every turn.
And of course, as all customers of AHP will attest, for every expense on your house, for every single line item in your budget, they are adding 23% profit margin. You know, for all their hard work. In reality this margin is much higher, since AHP controls much of the “pricing” on things the owners never get to see behind the scenes. Yes, they turn the American Dream into a nightmare that you can’t wake up from, and then they demand that you pay 23 cents (at least) on every dollar for it. Their shyster in the Lebanon showroom explained to us that 23% is “reasonable” since they can finish your house so quickly because they are this big, nationwide company that’s well-established, etc, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their pace with everything was, and is, glacial. Nothing throughout the entire process suggested that they either knew or cared about any aspect of home building, other than how to enrich themselves from it at their customers’ expense. Every other builder or subcontractor in our area that we talked with said that our house could have easily been finished within 4-5 months after signing the contract, (in fact, this is what AHP had promised us before we signed ours), but our “friends” at the Lebanon office wound up taking *3 times* that long.
And with AHP your nightmare doesn’t end once you move into your “custom-built house” (by “custom” they must mean built no better than a mobile home). Oh no, the real fun has only just begun once you get the keys. Good luck dealing with any problems after moving in (you will find many), since their warranty process is criminally incomprehensible. They pass the buck and *** you around for so long...how many times have we heard “yeah, we will have a crew right out there to fix that for you”? I guess they are just counting on you to eventually give up by the time that their “limited 1-year warranty” expires (by “limited” I guess they mean non-existent).
Truth is, this company should not just be out of business...many of the characters involved probably should be behind bars. It’s now obvious we weren’t the first people that they railroaded. Without question, everyone in that Lebanon office deserves to be fired. Unfortunately, from what we’ve researched, these problems are not just specific to Lebanon but have existed since AHP’s founding, so you will not find satisfaction by complaining up the corporate food chain (as we discovered firsthand many times). Everyone just feigns sympathy but then quickly tries to shift the blame to forces beyond their control…that “big, unprecedented Nashville construction boom” is the reason for the lack of good subs, all the construction delays, the unforeseen overages, etc, etc. Lies, excuses, greed, subterfuge...in other words, the usual treatment from this company.
They really only excel at 3 things: taking your money, wasting your time, and raising your blood pressure. Although, I must confess, it is a little amusing to watch them squirm when it comes time to collect their final payout. Then, they become real efficient and service-oriented all of a sudden. They somehow expect you to forget that they left your project to wither on the vine for a year. After all, their buddies at Bank TN need their pound of flesh too...that construction loan that the owner, not AHP, is paying interest on the whole time matures after a year...just a coincidence I’m sure. Yes, they will all scramble around for a week or so right before the final inspection, all just to get that last paycheck, but then after final settlement they are done with you. You will never see them again when you inevitibily have problems. In a way this is actually a mixed blessing, because by that point you will no longer be able to stomach the sight of them.
One last thing. Beware of their “preferred” mortgage company that is supposed to transition the construction loan into a permanent mortgage. Again, you will learn why AHP prefers them. That process, like all the rest, is a total sham, too. Prepare for all sorts of unexpected surprises when they close out your loan paperwork. Your monthly note will be much higher than anything they ever tell you along the way.
At the end of it all, and this is truly the best-case scenario: besides the destruction of your finances and your overall health (from the stress of dealing with sociopaths for well over a year), you will be left with a POORLY built house, backed by a worthless warranty, whose market value will be underwater from Day 1, and it will be very difficult if not impossible to ever sell your new shack without taking a HUGE loss.
AHP knows all of this. Their entire business model is built upon it.
If I sound like I’m frothing at the mouth, it’s because that is what dealing with AHP reduces you to. Lebanon area customers know all too well what I am talking about. The time is long overdue to bring this company some semblance of justice. Our contracts may say that we have to “arbitrate” to settle our disputes, but guess what AHP: that only applies to individuals. As my attorney has been informing us, regardless of anything in AHP's fraudulent contracts, under state and federal law any 2 (or more) customers are entitled to form a “class” and bring their collective grievances to court. Our case alone is damning for AHP, since we have documented all of our problems so extensively. Other customers from the Lebanon area that we have talked with have had similar nightmares dealing with this company. If anyone has any interest in this, or knows anyone who might, or you would just like to hear more about our experiences so you can know what/who to avoid if you are building a home for the first time, please send me an email at . Although it may be out of bounds for me to do so here, if you contact me directly I will be most happy to go much further into detail and "name names" at AHP Lebanon, as well as their subcontractors and all the other players involved. These guys are not untouchable. Let’s remind them of that.
In the meantime, does anyone at AHP Lebanon or any of the corporate apparatchiks in Georgia have a rebuttal? Please step up, let’s hear your side. Of course, none of you charlatans will, because none of you can. You can’t defend the indefensible, but it’s always entertaining watching you try. No...AHP knows very well--but now their victims need to realize too--that no objective judge, court or jury could or would ever side with this abysmal company once all the facts are presented. Their abuses are far too egregious and have gone on for far too long, which is why AHP needs an arbitrator, one who is many states away and no doubt already in their back pocket. Their arbitration clause and their laughable marketing tactics are the only things still keeping this company in business.
For now at least.
Product or Service Mentioned: Americas Home Place House Construction.
Reason of review: Problems with payment.
I liked: Life before ahp was in it.
I didn't like: Poor quality, Poor management, Deceitful business practices, Extremely late completion.