Home Buying in 11780>Question Details

Hoping To Buy, Home Buyer in Stony Brook, NY

Seller's refuse to obtain permits/legal CO's despite bank requirement for mortgage. Application already at ban

Asked by Hoping To Buy, Stony Brook, NY Mon Mar 23, 2009

We made an offer that was accepted for a home in St. James. We paid for an inspection (that revealed $25k deferred maintenance), AFTER which time sellers informed us that they did not have COs for 3 structures on property (handicapped ramp/decking, vestibule, shed). We had a pre-approval with our bank, and they (the bank) stated that CO's are absolutely mandatory for mortgage approval. Despite this, sellers refuse to obtain CO's, and stated that they "no longer wish to sell" to us. All we wanted to do, was to purchase this home via the proper procedures. We are out $425 for inspection fee, and are furious. What gives?

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Whether or not the court will hold an inexperienced owner to the same standard as a real estate pro I couldn't possibly say, but if neither a buyer, not a seller hired a professional agent, who would (amongst other things) make sure that material facts would be disclosed, then the buyer can't be completely surprised when they don't get them. Doesn't make it right, but it might explain why you needed to spend $425 and lots of time jumping through hoops only to lose everything and have to start again. My guess is that you are now buying the second home through an agent. Regardless, I wish you a straightforward and flawless transaction.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 13, 2009
Yes, the inspection fee was reasonable. However, the purpose of the inspection is to reveal patent and latent defects with the home, not to reveal if a seller has misrepresented (or failed to disclose) that they did not have CO's for said property. We have ground for small claims court, and we will win. We worked very hard toward a "meeting of the minds" -- even agreed to absorbing more than half of the costs of the deferred maintenance. We even offered to obtain and file paperwork for CO's, even have the drawings made for them. The bank even suggested that we could set aside funds in escrow for the CO's in order to approve the mortgage. The sellers have refused to obtain CO's. Seems they believe that they can sell property without them. They lowered their listing price to within 20k of our accepted offer today. Not sure of their logic. They seem completely irrational at this point. Anyway, we made an offer on another property today, and will "move on" -- but these folks will pay for our inspection fee, because they were not honest and forthright with us.
Thanks for the advice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 25, 2009
Hi Hoping,
I am sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately in this market it's especially important to have representation. The $425 inspection fee is part of the home buying process. It appears to me that you got your moneys worth from this inspection (revealing the $25k deferred maintenance). My question for you is were you using a real esate agent? Was that agent a Certified Buyer Representative? If your answer to the latter is no may I suggest since you the buyer are the only one bringing money to the table shouldn't you have someone to represent you? I am a Certiified Buyer Representative and am available should you wish to discuss your situation further with me. Best wishes for finding the home of your dreams.

Sincerely,

Irene M. Renna
Century 21 Princeton Properties
(631) 467-0009 (office)
Irene.Renna@Century21.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 24, 2009
Hi Hoping,

$425 is a very reasonable fee for an inspection. Worst case - the others are quite correct - it's a cheap way out. In this market, you'll save many times that amount buying your next home.

In NY, Real Estate is usually done with 3-day attorney review - and I'm guessing that you are past that. So ... aren't they in breach of contract? What does your lawyer say? If he says it's dead then it is. If he says that you can take them to small claims for non-disclosure then you can do that.

For $425, I'd be happy to be out of it and move on. Sorry that this didn't work out, but the market is great for you and you'll find a great house very soon.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 23, 2009
Maybe I'm reading a little too much into this but...

You stated that there was $25k deferred maintenence on the property. The seller may have taken offense to something that you (or your attorney) were critical of about their home that they did not mind at all, or, feel that they were taken advantage of during the negotiations. If the home needed work, it was most likely already reflected in the offering price.

A Real Estate transaction is considered a "meeting of the minds". It should be a win/win situation for both parties to be successful. Your attorney is there to protect you and your assets and not attack the other party. Most Real Estate attorneys understand this. The seller is not your enemy. There is a lot of cooperation needed from both parties during the transaction.

Unfortunately this transaction started off on the wrong foot. As furious as you are with the seller, the feeling is probably mutual if they "no longer wish to sell" to you. Their attorney probably informed them they may have to remove some structures for the next buyer.

You'll have to consider that $425 tuition in the school of hard knocks. On your next home purchase, ask to see if all the CO's are in order before you make any expenditures. Keep in mind some banks are more lenient than others with certain issues such as garage conversions, finished basements, etc. Good Luck with your home search.

Carol Bromm, SRES, CBR
Associate Broker
Prudential Douglas Elliman
631 422-8269
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 23, 2009
I agree with the other posts that if you're only out $400 bucks it's probably time to walk. But, depending on your agreement, you may have leverage to pursue the matter. But pursuing it will cost a lot of time, and a lot more money (think, thousands!). If there are other options to choose from the wise course is to move on.

In Real Estate, it's important to understand that there's a difference between what's RIGHT, and what's FAIR. You're in the RIGHT, but that alone doesn't mean the outcome will be FAIR.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 23, 2009
Count it as a blessing to just be out $425 and not a lot more.
Here is my website http://fajardodelacruz.realtors.officelive.com
or my e-mail delacruz.fajardo3@gmail.com
Hope to hear from you soon.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 23, 2009
Walk away and look at other properties; there are a lot of other good choices out there. Be glad your loss was only $425, it could have been worse. If you are not working with a Realtor now is a good time to start.

Anna
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 23, 2009
I understand your frustration. I am hearing that now the banks are getting very strict with CO's. The seller should have told you from the start about the CO's. If you like please email me or call me I can give you some suggestions.
My office is located in Setauket near Wild By Nature. Good Luck..
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 23, 2009
This is why you get an inspection. It is better to be out $425 than thousands if you had put 10% down. Buying a home is a tricky procedure. Each situation is unique. The owners do not have to make the adjustments. Of course owners who want to sell, do. Walk away from this deal and find another home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 23, 2009
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