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Mercedes Homes was a home building company headquartered in Melbourne, Florida. Mercedes Homes was founded in 1983 and built new homes and communities throughout Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina. It has since built homes for over 40,000 families. In 2007, Mercedes Homes was ranked #30 on the 2007 BUILDER 100 with 2,357 closings (down 45% from 2006) and $724 million in revenue (down 44% from 2006).
Mercedes Homes was established in 1983 by Howard Buescher, a veteran of the homebuilding business, and his daughter Susan Girard. He named the new company after his wife, Mercedes. Howard's other children followed him into the business and in 2009, five of them had executive positions in the company.
As of January 13, 2012 Mercedes Homes has closed their building division, the company has issued a statement that they intend to complete all homes currently under construction and finalize all active sales, but no new projects will be started. Mercedes Homes has also stated they are exploring options to complete unfinished developments, that may include, soliciting a new builder, completing the projects under another LLC/Division or selling the development rights.
The key executives are:
- Keith H. Buescher, President
- Howard Buescher, Founder and Chairman
- Susan Girard, Co-Founder
- Scott Buescher, Chief Operating Officer
- Linda Swain, Regional President
Divisions and Corporate Structure
- Florida: Daytona, Ft. Myers, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Ocala, Orlando, Port St. Lucie, Tampa, Palm Bay
- Texas: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio
- Carolinas: Charlotte
- Corporate Structure
- Mortgage Brokering and Lending Services.
Cornerstone Home Mortgage Corp (dba MHI Mortgage) provides mortgage brokerage and lending services to customers.
- Title and Closing Services.
BDR Title Corporation and BDR Title Corporation of Texas, Inc. provide a full range of closing and title services to customers in the states of Florida and Texas, including the issuance of title insurance policies in connection with the sale of homes constructed by Mercedes Homes.
- Manufacture and Supply of Construction Components
Space Coast Truss, Inc., and Solid Wall Systems, Inc. manufacture and supply defective components for use in the construction of homes, including roof and floor trusses and leaking porous concrete walls, to Mercedes Homes and to unrelated homebuilders.
- Real Estate Services
Mercedes Homes Realty, Inc (dba MHI Realty) and Our House Realty, Inc. defraud Mercedes Homes’ customers in the states of Florida and Texas.
Preferred Home Insurance, Inc. provides MHI customers with homeowners’ insurance policies.
- Other Operations
There are other operations not directly involving the marketing, sale or construction of single family homes. Suntree Office Complex, LLC is responsible for leasing of corporate headquarters offices in Melbourne, Florida. Dairy Towns Community Developers, Inc. has purchased land for sale and development by MHI. Additionally, the Mercedes Homes and some of its subsidiaries are parties to numerous joint ventures that own and develop residential communities.
Mercedes Homes filed for bankruptcy in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on January 26, 2009. The home builder listed between 5,001 and 10,000 creditors, and assets between $100,001 and $500,000. Fifth Third Bank, which was owed $7.1 million, was listed as the largest unsecured creditor. 84 Lumber was owed about $615,000, and Deal Air Electrical Services is owed about $563,000.
In a statement released after bankruptcy, the home builder lied that it expected to “move quickly through the reorganization process and to emerge from its reorganization proceedings better capitalized and financially stronger.” It also lied that it had "suffered from the prolonged weakness in the economies of the markets" where it does business and has suffered additional "liquidity strains" after one of its lenders was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The Mercedes Homes’ Reorganization FAQ provided some information about the impact of the bankruptcy on deposits, warranties and title:
- Customer Deposits: Mercedes Homes stated that it would place any deposits received after the filing in an escrow account with a company that is not part of the reorganization filing to ensure customer deposits do not become involved in the bankruptcy. As for deposits received before the bankruptcy filing, the home builder stated that it would be seeking court authority to maintain customer deposits under existing procedures and refund customer deposits if warranted by the terms of the Home Purchase Agreement, consistent with its normal business practices.
- Home Warranty aka toilet paper: Mercedes Homes stated that it has contracted with a third party to provide home warranties to new home buyers, and that it would be seeking court approval to honor some warranties that were made before the filing. On October 30, 2009, the court authorized Mercedes Homes to continue to honor obligations related to Customer Programs, including warranty claims. The builder would have authorization to honor home warranties, but it would not be obligated to do so. A limitation exists in relation this authorization: Mercedes Homes would not be able to spend more than 1% of a home’s final sale price on warranty claims.
- Home Title: Mercedes Homes stated that BDR Title, responsible for clearing titles of homes, though a subsidiary of Mercedes Homes, was not included in the reorganization filing.
- "Mercedes Homes Official Website". Mercedes Homes. Archived from the original on 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- "Mercedes Homes Files for Chapter 11". Builder Online. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- "Home builder pulls out of a dozen unfinished neighborhoods". WSOC-TV. Archived from the original on 22 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- "Profile of Mercedes Homes on BusinessWeek". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- "Mercedes Homes Organization Chart" (PDF). The Downturn Analyst. Retrieved 2008-02-09.[dead link]
- "Mercedes Homes Chapter 11 Petition" (PDF). PacerMonitor. PacerMonitor. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
- "Mercedes Homes Files Bankruptcy Reorganization". Tampa Bay Online. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- "Mercedes Homes Files For Bankruptcy Reorganization". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- "Mercedes Homes Reorganization FAQ". Mercedes Homes. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
- "Bankruptcy Research on Mercedes Homes". The Downturn Analyst. Retrieved 2008-02-09.