A concerned buyer has emailed in the following based on their experience with Equinox. It raises a number of good questions about what you can expect based on your purchase and sale and what you can’t. Do any other readers have similar stories to share?
I purchased a unit at Equinox Condos in Eastlake on the first day of sales back in March of 2007. In the weeks leading up to the purchase, I visited the sales center several times and dealt with two agents, who were the onsite sales team working for Windermere. I’ve run into some serious issues with the developer, Schnitzer Northwest. I have tried to find resolution to these issues by working amicably with the new sales team (still Windermere, but new staff) but without result.
On one occasion, I happened to stop by while the representative of the developer Schnitzer Northwest, was at the sales center. I introduced myself and commented how much I liked the location and looked forward to purchasing my first home. She asked me what I thought about the interior and I indicated that I had a few concerns, namely the color scheme choices and the bathroom fixtures. As some of you may know, Equinox had at that time a pretty spartan sales center and the bathroom vignette did not have (and still lacks) a toilet. The mock bathroom also had two sinks and a vertical cabinet tower extending from the counter to the ceiling. I asked if there was a toilet included with the unit, and she laughed and insisted there would be. Additionally, I specifically asked if the tower (see photo) was included as a standard amenity, and she said “Yes, it is.”
Now, it appears that is no longer the case and buyers are asked to pay over $1000 for this “standard amenity”. The dual sink feature is only included with larger units, which I knew in advance and can certainly understand.
Another concern was that if a buyer chose one of the three kitchen color schemes, then they automatically got a certain bathroom color scheme and a certain flooring color scheme. I indicated that I wasn’t a fan of the choices and wanted to change the bathroom countertop and the floor tile with another color scheme. I was told that nothing was set in stone yet, and that while it was not an advertised benefit, it would definitely be possible to change some color options at no cost. I was happy to hear this, as I didn’t want to have to pay extra for changes nor did I want to close on the unit only to turn around and rip out the flooring and countertops to be switched.
The purchase & sale agreement was signed on the first day of sales, and life went on. In April 2008, buyers were notified by email that the color selection process would take place in May, and options would be made available at that time as well. Such options include premium wood flooring (the standard flooring is a bit thinner), premium appliances, and … whats this… Color Customization! Lo and behold, the developer had decided that the swapping of color schemes would now run $900+. Imagine my surprise when I called to inquire about this, and was assured all buyers wishing to swap the color choice (even though none of these materials have even been ordered up to this point) would have to pay this fee. I informed the sales team that I was told by both the developer and onsite agent at the time that it would not be at additional cost, and the developer representative responded to them that I was incorrect.
These are just a few of the issues I’ve had with double-talk and deception by Schnitzer Northwest. I’m curious if other readers/buyers have had similar experiences with Equinox. This business of “Its not in the contract, so its not included” leads me to wonder things like… Well, the contract also doesn’t say my unit will have a unit# posted on my front door, but I assumed that was included… and I also assumed that if someone looked you in the face at a sales center and said something was standard, it really was. Is this how Schnitzer does business? Have people had these issues at Gallery or Brix? I can’t believe the lack of integrity I’ve witnessed.