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‘Save Jerre’s House’

(ROCKWALL, TX — January 15, 2018) Rockwall resident Jerre Loftus said it’s been nearly nine months since she has seen or heard from the builder she hired to renovate her 112-year-old dream home. According to Loftus, the builder had exhausted her entire budget and savings and left the home largely unfinished, open and exposed to the elements.

In August 2016, after five and a half years of renting the house located at 302 Margaret St., and after the sale of some property she owned in McKinney, Loftus decided she was ready to purchase the home she had grown to love. She knew the building would need lots of work, so she searched around locally for a contractor to take on the job, and found a young builder eager to work on the project. She described him as a nice, quiet young man who seemed trustworthy.

“I liked him. I felt very safe with him,” Loftus said. “He told me he could handle it all – electricity, water, building, windows, get the permits for me, everything.”

$110,000 later, Loftus was left living in a closed off side of the home next to uncompleted rooms, tarp covering the roof, and a damaged water pipe. Loftus said the last time she heard from the builder was back in April 2017.

Loftus said she had some general contractors come out and give estimates on the cost of work he had completed, and they estimated he had done only $35,000 worth of work on the entire house, with roughly $75,000 worth of work still needed for the home.

“Some of the contractors that came in to survey the work told me this young man clearly didn’t know what he was doing,” Loftus said.

Relying on only a fixed monthly income from social security, plus earnings she makes from occasionally cleaning others’ homes, Loftus said she’s unable to get homeowner’s insurance or a reverse mortgage because repairs of the house are incomplete, nor can she get a home equity loan because she doesn’t have homeowner’s insurance.

When Loftus’s close friend and neighbor Marci Miller Hall learned of her plight, she set up a GoFundMe account inviting the Rockwall community to come together and help save Loftus’s home.

In a recent update posted on the GoFundMe page, Hall extended her gratitude towards those who have aided her neighbor in her time of need. “I am so very thankful for all of the support that has been given to Jerre Loftus in her efforts to complete the work on her home after being almost left out in the cold by a builder who took advantage of her.”

The update also stated some exciting news for Loftus: after her issue was presented to the City of Rockwall, she has qualified for aid from the North East Texas Community Development Corporation. This program has agreed to participate on the project by accepting donations and utilizing the received funds to pay for materials and/or contractors to perform the work.

At a meeting with the city on Dec. 20, it was unanimously agreed to open a City of Rockwall account for Loftus’s home, enabling and welcoming any who wish to contribute a donation to the cause to do so safely, readily and/or discreetly. Tax deductible monetary donations may be mailed to:

North East Texas Community Development Corporation
702 N. Goliad
Rockwall, TX 75087

Several folks from around the community have rallied behind Loftus to help get her home repaired, including Mike Mishler of Mishler Builders, Inc. and Jeffrey Widmer with the City of Rockwall, who Loftus said have been instrumental in the renovation process.

“It’s very humbling,” Loftus said of the support she’s received from the community. “I feel very shamed, because everyone’s going to know that I messed up. I tell my neighbors that I really have beat myself up about it a lot. I trusted him. It’s something I have to learn from, I guess.”

Loftus has filed charges against the builder which are currently being reviewed by the District Attorney’s Office. At the time of this writing, the man has not been located. But whether they find him or not, Loftus said she’s not preoccupied with the builder’s fate.

“That’s a thing I’ve left with the Lord,” Loftus said.

To donate to the GoFundMe supporting Loftus and her home, visit gofundme.com/save-jerres-house.

By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News. Photo courtesy of Jerre Loftus.

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