A Paradise couple is devastated after the purchase of their dream home turned into a nightmare following the financial troubles of the company that built it.
Tracey and Mark Costello, a married couple with three kids, hired contracting company Skymark to build their family home on Topsail Road.
They closed the deal Feb. 22 and moved in on March 2 — as excited as any couple would be after moving into a new home.
Before moving in, they identified tens of thousands of dollars worth of work had not been completed. But it was only a few weeks later – when they learned of the company's financial troubles – that they realized the work may never be finished.
"Our landscaping, our excavation, nothing is done. We're living on an blasted rock basically," Tracey told CBC.
In addition to nearly $30,000 worth of incomplete landscaping, the Costellos said there is also a lot of unfinished work inside the house, such as missing lights, damaged or unfinished doors and windows.
The couple at first felt confident the work would get done because they had a letter of undertaking from Skymark, that laid out what they had paid for.
When they learned that an employee they had been dealing with had been let go from the company, alarm bells went off.
"It told me lots, it told me that we were in trouble," Tracey said.
Then at the end of March, news broke that Future Group – the umbrella company that Skymark falls under – was seeking creditor protection for more than $20-million in combined debts, nearly $4 million of which belonged to Skymark Contracting.
"It was a very eerie feeling because all these people we had been dealing with three weeks ago no longer want to talk to you and can't help you. You're left in the cold," Tracey said.
The couple had sought legal advice, asking their lawyer about holding back money for the work not done, but were told it wasn't necessary.
"He said, 'They'll come back, they'll do it in the springtime when the snow goes and the ground thaws, and you can get your land straightened up, not to worry,'" Mark said.
"And now here we are, the company is pretty much gone and this piece of paper doesn't mean anything to us. Our lawyer can't really tell us if we're going to get this work done or not."
Tarnished dream home
With three kids and busy careers, the Costellos refuse to give up fighting.
They're hopeful going to the media will get others in similar situations to come forward, giving them more clout to push for compensation.
In the meantime, all they can do is try and get over the disappointment of not getting the home they paid for.
"I went with Skymark Homes because I knew they would build our dream home, they had a reputation for doing that," Tracey said.
"Purchasing a home is supposed to be a joyous experience. It's supposed to be fun, it's not supposed to drag the life out of you. It sucked every bit of joy in our new home out."
"The whole experience tarnished our dream home," added Mark. "It really did."