UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Editor's Note: This story, originally published Feb.14, has been edited to reflect DRB’s position that it is not affiliated with the developer of the property, SHF, LLC.
Kim Duvall couldn’t stop smiling when she bought Lot F11 at Parkside at Westphalia in Upper Marlboro.
Now, her dream home keeps her up at night.
“I'm very upset,” Duvall said as she looked out onto the vacant lot where her new home is supposed to be. “I’m sorry I’m getting emotional,” she added wiping away a tear.
Duvall signed a contract with Dan Ryan Builders in August 2020 paying a $10,000 down payment on her almost $492,000 home. Dan Ryan Builders gave Duvall an estimated completion date of 6 months.
Two and a half years, her home still has not been delivered.
“Because it hasn't been built,” Duvall said.
Dan Ryan Builders, now known as DRB, tells WUSA9 construction came to a screeching halt when the company developing the land, SHF, LLC. ran out of money. That left the roadway and bridge leading in and out of the development unfinished.
DRB spokesperson Marc Hargraves said no one can legally live in the development until the infrastructure is completed because the county won’t issue an occupancy permit, so DRB has ceased new construction all together.
Duvall kept email after email from DRB pushing back the completion date since 2021. The latest said her home won’t be ready until 2024 at the earlies.
“I've lost opportunities to buy other homes at the low interest rate,” Duvall said. “I've lost interest on the money that they were holding for two and a half years.”
“I'm not getting anything,” she said. “Just don't know what to do at this point.”
Duvall now lives in limbo in a small Silver Spring apartment with her daughter and 6-year-old granddaughter, having sold her home of seven years to come up with the money for DRB.
Most of the family’s belongings are in storage. Collecting dust.
DRB has offered to refund Duvall’s $10,000 deposit and an additional $10,000 for her trouble. But Duvall wonders, what does she do then?
“I put in so much money storage fees, renting an apartment, you know, so many other things,” Duvall said. “They're not even thinking about the money that I've lost in selling my home, I could earn more equity in my home, if I would have stayed and then sold it later.”
Hargrave told WUSA9 roughly 25 customers took the buyout, but another 40 are still waiting for their homes like Duvall.
Hargraves said DRB is offering to transfer customers to other developments, but at 2023 prices. Which in Duvall’s case, would be a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“It's very frustrating to me, that they don't care,” Duvall said. “No one has reached out from corporate and said, ‘We apologize for all that you've been through.’”
Hargraves said they hope to have all the financing issues with SHF, LLC. settled by March 31st which would put DRB back on track to deliver Duvall’s home in early 2024.
But Hargraves acknowledged, even that is not a guarantee.
Duvall has filed a complaint with the Maryland Attorney General. That case is still open.
She also consulted an attorney, but was told the legal fees would be prohibitive. The attorney encouraged Duvall to speak out in hopes of finding others in the same situation who might band together for a class action lawsuit.