Real estate developer makes illegal lot sale

Two buyers forced to seek resolution

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DEAR BOB: On March 4, 2004, we placed a $5,000 deposit with a signed contract to buy a lot in a new manufactured-home development. We had up to one year to decide what type of house to build. Four days after signing the contract, we felt we made a hasty mistake and asked the sales manager if we could get our money back. He said, "Once the ink is dry, it's a done deal," because we had a signed contract. We were also told to hold on to our lot, because when the final phase is completed, it will be easier to sell to a potential buyer because it is close to the clubhouse. Two weeks ago, we took a ride to see how the final phase was progressing. To our surprise, a house was built on "our lot." When I approached the sales manager about the situation, he said I told him I didn't want the lot and then it's gone! He has nothing in writing to show we cancelled our purchase, especially since we had up to a year to decide what type of home to build. Does the developer have a right to build a house...