Homebuilder reverses decision to keep Pasco man’s $13.5K downpayment after coronavirus-related job loss

Better Call Behnken

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Mega-builder D.R. Horton reversed its decision to keep a Pasco County man’s $13,500 down payment after calls from Better Call Behnken.

Russell Keitel was just weeks away from closing on a new home in the Epperson Lagoon community in Wesley Chapel when he lost his job as a roadie for concerts across the country. Understandably, his financing with Horton’s DHI Mortgage fell through.

Keitel said he was shocked when the builder informed him it was keeping his deposit.

“I’m kind of shocked at the lack of human compassion here,” Keitel said.

He reached out to Better Call Behnken for help, saying he desperately needed the money to provide for his family until he could find another job.

“This won’t make or break them, D.R. Horton. It won’t make or break them,” he said. “But this will devastate me financially.”

Typically, a home buyer can lose their down payment when financing falls through, but Keitel said he expected a national lender like D.R. to make exceptions during a national pandemic emergency.

Investigative Reporter Shannon Behnken reached out to D.R. Horton’s corporate office in Texas, and within hours there was a change of heart.

A spokesperson thanked Shannon for bringing the matter to their attention and vowed to return every penny to Russell.

“I am so thankful,” Russell said. “This money will definitely help my family get through this.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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