M. Christopher Custom Home Builder Goes Bankrupt, Leaving Families in a Lurch

M. Christopher Completed-Frame

Another high-end builder in North Texas has filed for bankruptcy. This time it’s M. Christopher Custom Home Builder, who left many clients with liens and unfinished properties. (Photo: M. Christoper and Company)

Families all over Dallas-Fort Worth are left in a lurch after M. Christopher Custom Home Builder has filed for bankruptcy.

According to a report from NBC 5, several homeowners in developments across North Texas put significant deposits on half-constructed homes only to see that money disappear and no progress at their homesites. It’s a situation not unlike what former clients of Bella Vita Custom Homes are facing after that company declared bankruptcy.

Owned by Rudy Rivas, M. Christopher Custom Home Builder and was founded in 2006 and has built homes in developments such as Arlington’s Viridian; Colleyville’s St. Andrews; Remington Park in Fairview; The Lakes in Keller; Lewisville’s Highpoint Oaks; Brockdale and Rockland Farms in Lucas; Bristol Park in Lucas and Parker; Dallas’ M Streets; Prosper’s Christie Farms, Saddle Creek, and Whispering Farms; Mallard Reserve in Rowlett; Carillon and Highland-Southlake in Southlake; and Westlake’s Vaquero Addition.

M. Christopher Viridian_KOH_Livingrm_centerview_3602248626-o

A finished great room from M. Christopher Custom Home Builder in Arlington’s Viridian. (Photo: M. Christopher and Company)

While Rivas claims on his website that “Transforming dreams into reality,” is what M. Christopher Homes does best, many clients caught up in his company’s bankruptcy are in the middle of a personal nightmare. For a multitude of reasons, a homebuilder filing for bankruptcy is different — especially because those who suffer the most are families left without a home.

Take Gilbert and Heather Melendrez for example. The couple claims in the report from NBC 5 that M. Christopher Custom Home Builder took their life savings — more than $200,000 — and made almost no progress on their home. The Melendrez family bought a house that was already halfway under construction, putting down a deposit on the home, which when/if completed, would be a $1.3 million property.

In one instance, when a client was just about to move into their home built by Rivas’ company, the bank foreclosed on it. There was more than $1 million in debt tied to the property. Rivas wanted the client to pay it off, but the client balked.

Soon afterward, word got out that Rivas’ company was in hot water. The Melendrez family spent $200,000 before they found out about the company’s insolvency.

Before they could take action they say M. Christopher’s owners called a meeting with them wanting more cash.

“I said, ‘If you need more money it is because y’all are having financial problems.’ And they looked at each other and just stormed out of the house,” Gilbert Melendrez said.

NBC 5 tried to track down Rivas for weeks before he replied with this statement:

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to seek protection of bankruptcy. We are sincerely sorry for this situation,” he said.

Besides filing a lawsuit and becoming another in a long line of creditors, there is little a client trapped in a homebuilder’s bankruptcy can do. Could we be seeing a rash of custom home builders folding from economic pressure and too much demand?

18 Comment

  • Candy,

    I was an project manager for M. Christopher for a little less than a year back in 2012. I have since moved on and got my degree in architecture and also construction management.

    I am still in contact with the owners that I built houses for while I was there. I made lifetime friends building houses for wonderful families.

    I feel compelled to offer a lifeline to anyone that may have gotten handled unfairly while with M. Christopher. Although I can’t offer this to everyone, I would be willing to work pro bono for a select few people as a way to help put their lives back together.

    Again, I have no affiliation with M. Christopher since I left several years ago, but I still made lifetime relationships that are worth my volunteer time.

    Please feel free to reach out to me if I can help in any way.

  • Interviewed with Rudy at Grand homes. So sorry for him. Let all try to help each other, passing judgement and egos no good here. Learn to help and not be so greedy. Hopefully the money will salve karma. I can’t sleep if I wrong people, hopefully his mission will be to ignore comfort and try to help the people who suffered from bad karma.

  • Gross hope you profit off the losers

  • Well aren’t you all a bunch of sick gluttons you will fails

  • This is why we need to reinstate licensing for contractors AND builders in Texas. They once had that here, but Texas got rid of it after complaints from contractors/etc. whom felt being licensed was an impediment to their success. If we have one body overseeing them, and ensuring solvency and accountability it would stop this from happening. As an architect/designer I have had so many issues with contractors doing things like this but it hurts the families/clients the most. Terrible

    • Amen on needing law requiring builders acquire a license & are subject to being monitored regarding building standards along w/honest & fair business practices. I am 1 of the unfortunate homeowners who had a home built by M Christopher. After almost 3 years of trying to get my home built & after closing in Feb 2016, I am still trying to get my house finished. Now received a letter stating we may not sue or request repayment for expenses incurred due to inaction, poor workmanship, etc. To add further insults to us by the incompletion of our home, we incurred a water leak due to A/C condensation line from attic not being connected to drain trap under the. Atheism vanity downstairs. A lot of water damage was incurred, including mild & mildew being present & repairs stopped in October 2016. Our replaced wood flooring hasn’t been stained, bedroom carpet & pad haven’t been removed & replaced, the fireplace hearth needs to be rebuilt, painting still needed, bathroom vanity mirror & granite countertop & sink need installation. These repairs are due to the leak & do not include finishing our house. The biggest & most important repair on the house is the outdoor kitchen needs to be removed & rebuilt. Although correct info was provided it the size needed, it was built incorrectly & appliances (already purchased for new house) do not fit. We have not had use of it since closing in 2016.

  • Is the pool company Artisan Costum Pools, Matt Rivas, Rudy’s son involved in the bankruptcy, How does one find out? We have a poold contract with Artisan starting in two weeks.

    • Jenice, even if Artisan Pools is not a part of the M Christopher bankruptcy, I would suggest you do your due diligence before starting a pool with them. We talked to Matt…..not impressed. He has not been in the business long and is inexperienced. The company is ultimately run by the same person who ran MChristopher Homes. We did a little research and found they have difficulty completing projects on time and quality of product is an issue. They used to be called M Christopher Pools – changed their name for a reason, I suspect.

      • M Christopher has 35 additional businesses which I think are associated w/Rudy Rivas and/or his family. I would not do business w/anyone or any business associates w/this company or person. I’m speaking as 1 of the homeowners left w/many repairs or completion of our home. Was notified today by bankruptcy court that we have no recourse to sue or request reimbursements of any kind unless personally notified. There are at least 50 homeowners that have been left w/o homes (or homes needing significant repairs) & w/o reimbursement of their deposit m. In fact the unfinished homes have been repossessed.

  • We had both our home and pool built by M Christopher (Rudy and Matt Rivas) and were lucky to close and move in just before they filed for bankruptcy protection. Now we have a mountain of liens against our home, but title insurance is taking care of all of them. However, our pool has significant issues. M Christopher Custom Pools is now operating under Artisan Custom Pools. Matt Rivas has fixed a few of my smaller warranty items, but has now gone radio silent on my remaining and more pressing issues. What are my options at this point? Can anyone recommend the best course of action?