One Tiny House Builder Scammed Her & Another Saved Her

Sofia, a 23-year-old tiny homeowner, is thriving in Los Angeles. But her journey began as a nightmare because of Holy Ground Tiny Homes. They took $40,000 from her but never produced a tiny home. Unfortunately, she’s one of over 200 customers who lost a total of 6 million dollars to this sketchy business—now being investigated for fraud.

“They kept pushing the date. And the day after my grandma passed away, so that would have been May 11th of ’22, I got a call from Holy Ground saying, oh my gosh, how are you doing. We wanted to call back and say this. Your house is almost ready. We’re getting there to the floor plan. We’re so close. And I was beside myself. And now I have these folks telling me, oh, we’re so sorry. We’re going to make sure she’s in this house with you.

At the time, I was touched because I didn’t realize it was all going to come crashing down.”

-Sofia, @livingtinyca

Matthew Sowash, CEO of Holy Ground Tiny Homes, set up his tiny house building company as a non-profit to help addicts and previously incarcerated people rebuild their lives. Further, they offered affordable homes on wheels to the public. While this is quite an inspirational mission, it doesn’t appear to have been what was happening. The Department of Justice is investigating them for fraud based on customer claims and $160,000 in unexplained money withdrawals and suspicious trips to Las Vegas. Even with the investigation underway, Holy Ground is now doing business under two new names—Affordable Tiny Homes and Tiny House Brokers.

As she’ll tell you, Sofia is one of the lucky Holy Ground customers. That’s not to minimize the hardship she endured. After not receiving her tiny home, Sofia became homeless for a while. She couch-surfed, thanks to the kindness of strangers. Several months later, Sofia found a new ethical tiny house builder, Korallus Tiny Homes.

It’s important to note that Sofia and her parents are not wealthy. In fact, they struggled financially for a long time. Fortunately, her family was able to help her purchase a new 24-foot tiny home due to an unexpected inheritance from Sofia’s beloved grandma. Trusting another builder wasn’t easy, though. 

“What convinced me was their communication; it was not what I was used to with Holy Ground. I thought Holy Ground’s communication was the norm, which I was completely mistaken by.

Danny and Alyssa at Korallus were the most incredible communicators. Any question I had, any concern I had, and I did have concerns because I just had all of this money, my home, everything, just gone—they answered all of my questions and then some. I was on FaceTime with them all the time.”

-Sofia, @livingtinyca

Korallus Tiny Homes built a gorgeous 220-square-foot tiny house on wheels for Sofia and her sweet dog, Veto. It has an open layout yet a space-efficient design that provides an impressive amount of storage space. Two things that make this customized Aspen model stand out include beautiful finishing work with locally sourced wood and hand-crafted tiles.

Second, the signature spiral stairs. The staircase is built over the trailer’s tongue, so it doesn’t eat up any floor space. Sofia can comfortably walk up the stairs and easily sit in her loft bedroom. She used the area underneath to store outdoor gear and pet necessities.

Sofia understands that when building and living in any kind of home, build problems and user-error issues can occur. One issue that unfortunately came up was a small roof leak. She noticed this when LA experienced record-breaking rainfall last year. When Sofia contacted Korralus Tiny Homes for help, owners Danny & Alyssa immediately offered to drive from Colorado to Los Angeles to fix it. And they kept their word.

“Nobody does that. They would have said, oh, figure it out, hire somebody, or they couldn’t have just not answered me, ghosted me. They could have done that. They didn’t.”

While her tiny house journey hasn’t been easy, Sofia absolutely loves her home. She also greatly appreciates all the lessons learned along the way.

Watch a tour of her lovely solar-powered tiny home!

The post One Tiny House Builder Scammed Her & Another Saved Her first appeared on Tiny House Blog.

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