Karl, Home Buyer in Brooklyn, NY

Did Seller/Seller agent had right to this?

Asked by Karl, Brooklyn, NY Mon Aug 6, 2012

I bought a house in summertime, and discover problems with the heating at winter time, when start using it. Seller/Seller Agent did not notify my about existing house problems, thourh engineer told me the problem has a long history. Did Seller/Seller agent had right to this?

Help the community by answering this question:


First of all, ignore any response outside of New York State. Our laws are unique.

Look through your closing papers, from the day you bought the house, and see if the seller signed a warranty for the house for 1 year.

More likely, somewhere in that tall stack of papers or binder you will find a paper that shows the seller gave you a $500 credit on the price in exchange for not having any warranty. That's normally what happens in the NYC area.

In addition, I suggest you make a quick call to the attorney who handled your closing for you and ask about the existence of that $500 credit or warranty.

Karla Harby
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Rutenberg Realty
New York, NY
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 7, 2012
Dear Karl:

This is a question that you need to discuss with your attorney as it is a legal question. I am not an attorney and I cannot give legal advise. However, I do have some thoughts based on my 19 years as a real estate agent here in Brooklyn....

Most contracts of sale here in Brooklyn state that the property is being sold as-is. In addition, most contracts here in Brooklyn also state that the electric, plumbing and heat are in working order. Based on that, buyer's typically do an inspection of the home prior to going into contract. You see, once you are in contract you are legally obligated. Here in Brooklyn, contracts of sale are never subject to inspections, for this reason the buyer must do the inspection BEFORE going into contract. If there are any issues with the inspection, such issues would be discussed and worked out prior to going into contract. Again, once you are in contract you are legally obligated to purchase the house.

In all real estate deals in New York State, the buyer has the legal right to do a final walk-through before the closing to make sure that the condition is the same as it was when the deal was first consummated (as-is remember). If during that final walk-through the buyer discovers some problem that did not exist prior to going into contract, it would be addressed before the actual closing.

The as-is clause in a contract and final walk-through are put there to protect buyers. Once the deal closes, you now own that house and any problem that arises is now your responsibility. In most cases you have no further recourse unless you can prove that the seller intentionally hid a problem from you which would be considered fraud. Cases like that are VERY hard to prove let alone win unless you have concrete factual evidence.

New York State law says that sellers are required to disclose to buyers any material defect within a property before entering into a contract of sale. New York State law also requires real estate agents to disclose to buyers any material defect within the house they are aware of. Just because a defect is present, does not always mean the sellers and/or real estate agents were aware of it, that is what makes it hard to prove.

I hope this answers your question, if I can be of further assistance please let me know. Good luck!

Mitchell S. Feldman
Associate Broker/ Director of Sales
Madison Estates & Properties, Inc.
Office: (718) 645-1665/ Cell: (917) 805-0783
Email: MitchellSFeldman@aol.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 6, 2012
I don't think that any of the "out of state" agents gave any advice that conflicts with Mitchell's explanation.
Flag Tue Aug 7, 2012
This is very good information and a great reminder to out of state agents as to the different laws between states. In California inspections by buyers are conducted after ratified contract contingent upon inspection.
Flag Mon Aug 6, 2012
As the buyer, you had the right to have the property inspected. Did you?

And if you did, did your inspector tell you anything about the condition of the heating systems? Unless the seller purposely hid some defect from you, any issues you have with the home after the closing become your issues.

If your inspector overlooked problems with the furnace, you should take it up with him. If you opted not to have the property inspected (either because you decided to save money, or didn't want to waste the time)... well, then...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 6, 2012
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
@Karla - every state has "unique" laws specific to that state. My prior response (as well as this one) applies in New York as well.

It sounds as though what's happening to Karl is a banging in the steam (radiator) system. But it's unclear whether that's the only thing wrong... 'cause it sounds as though it may be heating the house, but making noise. In most states (New York included) that doesn't constitute a heating system that's not working.

Many radiator systems make noise... some of the multi-unit buildings in Brooklyn clang all night!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 7, 2012
thanks Tom.... I try.
Flag Tue Aug 7, 2012
That's why you're a mayor, good answer.
Flag Tue Aug 7, 2012
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL

To provide you with accurate information addirional information would be necessary.......

Was your purchase a "short sale" or a "foreclosure?"
Did you have an inspection performed?
Was you contract an "AS IS" contract
Were there any addendums that may have impacted this?
Did you recieve a "seller's Property Disclosure?"

The bottom line is that you should of had the the opportunity to determine there was a problem for yourself or it should have been disclosed to you. This should be able to be determined by the questions outlined above.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 7, 2012
If the house was sold "as is" and you had it inspected, there is really not much you can do. You could have had (as a contingency in the contract) the seller fix or replace whatever problems you wanted fixed that the inspector found. I'm very suprised neither the inspector or you lawyer told you this.

Luke Constantino
Commercial | Residential
Direct: (212) 300-3919
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 7, 2012
Not clear about what you or asking or what happened?? Did you have home inspection before purchasing? (Who is the engineer you mention?) Were you represented by a licensed real estate agent? Was this agent the listing (aka selling agent?) or a buyer's agent? Were you provided with a NYS agency disclosure before making an offer? Were you represented by a local real estate attorney?
(If so your attorney should have advised you and might still be able to advise you on this)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 7, 2012
In half year after closed, when I began to use the system.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 6, 2012
When did your engineer inform you of this? Was it prior to you signing a contract of sale, after you signed the contract of sale or after you closed?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 6, 2012
Problem is a loud sound, like shooting, in piping during start the steam system.
Engineer told about wrong design /construction of system.
It was discovered at cold wheather only. Seller could not miss it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 6, 2012
Hum. In addition to my reply above, get yourself another opinion from a *licensed* plumber with experience in steam heat.
Flag Tue Aug 7, 2012
Seems hard to believe that your inspector missed such a seemingly basic component of a home inspection. Consult with the attorney that handled your closing for your legal options, I would also lodge a complaint with your home inspection company and see if they are willing to do anything.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 6, 2012
If they new of a material defect, they should have disclosed. However at closing they may have given you a $500 dollar credit as a waiver for having to disclose. I would reccomend discussing this with your attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 6, 2012
For any necessary legal advice consult with your attorney...did the home inspection reveal any issues with the heating system...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 6, 2012
Good answer Alan. All buyers have the right to have the home inspected with their own home inspector. I assume you didn't do this, or your inspector didn't fully inspect all systems in the house (i.e the furnace). This is not the sellers/listing agent's fault.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 6, 2012
Yea, Alan is right on. You, as a buyer, can always have the right to have an inspection but that alone can not find what could break in the future. Unless you could prove they lied or hid something you should chalk it up to what happens, stuff breaks.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 6, 2012
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