SWFL contractor customers complain of delay, quality issues

Reporter: Peter Fleischer
Published: Updated:

Homes not built on time and homeowners finding problems floor to ceiling once they get inside: That’s what customers of one southwest Florida builder say they’re dealing with, and they want to warn others about their experience.

Jenn Grube moved to the North Port area excited to build her own dream home after raising a family. The Grubes chose Zwiercan Homes, saying they loved the company’s models, and with a timeline of 12 to 18 months, they hoped for a quick and easy process. 

“We didn’t want the hassle of buying a used home, and somebody else’s problems,” Grube explains. “Well, we bought a lot more than that. Because nothing was right.” 

Grube says the problems started during the building period, with a lot that was covered in trash and a driveway that hollowed out when rain gutters weren’t properly installed. 

The Grubes did get into their new home in just 13 months, only to realize it wasn’t what they thought.

“There were just so many errors,” Grube sighs. 

According to the Grubes, many of the choices they’d picked out and paid for in their house never arrived. They say, a few days before they moved in, they were told ceiling fans, light fixtures and stone and roof colors had to be replaced. And they’re still battling with an air conditioner that zaps their electric bill for almost 500 dollars a month.  

But when they needed Zwiercan… 

“Again, you can’t get a hold of anybody,” Grube says. “Nothing’s going right, things are missing.”

The Grubes say eventually, Zwiercan made some fixes and reached compromises but it took 20 months after they moved in for everything to be corrected. And the air conditioning continues to be a problem.

“That was really… it was really saddening to us because we invested all this money into this home,” Grube laments. “It shouldn’t be like that.” 

Grube started doing research online and found other Zwiercan clients around North Port on social media, connecting with others that had dealt with similar issues. They formed a Facebook group… which now includes over 30 families. 

Everyone seemingly had their own frustrating story and felt like Zwiercan was unbothered by their issues. 

“There’s absolutely no remorse. No respect. More like, oh good that problem is gone,” Grube explains. “They have wronged us in so many ways, it just hasn’t ever been apologized for.”

The biggest problem for Zwiercan customers seems to come right before they get the keys to their new home. Every customer that spoke with WINK News faced massive overage costs in the days before they moved in, some as high as six figures.

“He gave everybody that I know a large bill at the end of their construction,” Grube admits.

Dr. Kandi Norrell and her husband are still waiting to move into their home, built by Zwiercan. The Norrells say Zwiercan tried to hit her with a 128 thousand dollar overage just a couple of weeks before move-in day. And when the Norrells asked for documents to explain the extra cost, Zwiercan couldn’t produce the paperwork. 

“He’s just not able to provide any of the documentation that shows us what we’re paying for,” Norrell explained. “What is that extra money for?” 

The Norrells are still not in their home more than two and a half years after signing a 12 to 18 month contract, and they say they’ve dealt with problems every step of the way.

WINK News came came by weeks ago, when finishing touches were being supposed to be made. We discovered windows that didn’t fit and walls that were bowing in.

“What are we going to end up with and when are we ever going to finish,” Norrell wondered. “It goes from joy to frustration to anger. It’s just, we’re all over the place.”

We also found it hard to get answers. I reached out to Zwiercan Homes to speak with owner Jarek Zwiercan, but a company representative called me back to say he won’t comment on our story.

“If nothing else, I don’t want anyone else to be taken like this. I want justice,” Norrell explains.

“It takes a toll on your kids, it takes a toll on your health, on your finances,” Grube agrees. “It’s just not good.”

Whether they’re waiting on a build or fixing the new house they just moved into, these families just want a place to call home.       

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