Dorchester County, SC – Margie Hazzard moved to South Carolina in 2012 with her husband. The couple transferred with Boeing from Washington state. A unique home and plot of land in Knightsville in Dorchester County caught their attention.
“It was custom built is what we were told,” she explained to News 2’s Rebecca Collett.
The Hazzards said they met the then-owner and builder, Freddie Myers, through mutual friends. Myers offered to owner finance the home initially. Since he built it, he didn’t require an inspection, Hazzard said.
“He said we’d be wasting our money. We trusted him.”
The family settled in; eventually took out a traditional loan; and expected to enjoy their piece of the country until a storm blew through.
“The toilets bubble when it rains,” Hazzard explained.
That’s not the only problem. As they noticed more issues, the couple hired an engineer to inspect the property. That inspection revealed the roof doesn’t meet code. The stone facade is improperly installed. The plumbing, electrical, and HVAC are all wrong. The foundation is sloping incorrectly.
“That’s why our floors are rotting,” she explained.
The house the family paid $285,000 for is actually worthless. Now the family is suing the builder, Freddie Myers.
“He looked us straight in the eye and lied to us,” Hazzard claims.
That’s why the family called Collett.
Through a Count On 2 investigation, Dorchester County records revealed the only permit pulled for the property was for a barn. The county never inspected the home nor issued a Certificate of Occupancy, although the county collected property tax from the Hazzards on a $283,000 home each year since 2013. After the county reassessed the property, in 2018, they valued it at $40,000.
The county won’t answer questions about how a home that had never been inspected was in county records and taxes were being levied on it.
A spokesperson said the county couldn’t comment because of the pending lawsuit.
But county records revealed Freddie Myers was fined and issued a Stop Work Order for building the house in 2005 while he was building the barn.
“They stopped there,” Hazzard told Rebecca Collett. “They never followed up on it.”
Closing attorney Dixon Pearce says home buyers should request a property’s history in the MLS and in county records. He says even with newly built homes, homeowners should get a quality inspection.
An inspection can reveal poor workmanship or even spot issues county or city employees miss, he explained.
Since the home was initially financed by Freddie Myers, the Hazzards say their second mortgage didn’t require a home inspection either. The loan was based on county records, we now know were wrong.
Inspectors recently condemned the home, but the family still owes $230,000.
The county refunded the years of property taxes the Hazzards had paid.
Freddie Myers’ attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment as part of this story.
In a response to the pending lawsuit to the court, Myers denied the allegations and says, even if there were issues, the statute of limitations is up.