Also for buyers looking for a good inspector I found mine on Angie's List where there are grades and reports from previous customers. I chose my inspector based on the amount of time he was noted to spend on customer's property, the level of detail customers said he provided and his past experience. I found him to take his job seriously and did a good job. If you want to find him, I did talk about the asbestos in my report and you could do a search.
Also, wanted to respond to the realtor who said: "You can not "monitor" another buyers deal with this seller. Nor can anyone else for that matter. I want to be clear on that." I'm disappointed you see it that way. This is about health & safety, as a community there is actually a significant responsibility to monitor.
Great idea on contacting news outlets. Most houses today are bought by first timers who are more vulnerable.
I think all inspector's reports should be placed in the disclosure by a neutral third party, and that third party should own the disclosure. Realtors should not own that responsibility as sadly there are some who aren't up to it, and it's an important document.
Happily we found a house the next week...after a year of looking we thought it would take a lot longer. The inspector said it was a much better house in about every way, if not updated as fancy. But we'll take care of that! :)
Yes, the original buyer would be very wise to contact the Oregon Real Estate Agency, as well as any principal brokers involved. As for ways to further protect future buyers, it's tough. Posting on Trulia, Zillow and other forums is a great start, but I noticed that the "buyer" was careful to not list the address or name of the agent and seller. That's probably smart, as we all know how people are sue happy nowadays.
I can't think of anything to do other than report the agent to the Real Estate Agency and, perhaps, to the RMLS. She/he can also call OAR (Oregon Assoc of Realtors) and/or PMAR (Portland Metro Assoc of Realtors). Maybe they can point him/her in the right direction.
Beyond that it will be the seller's responsibility to disclose all the material facts he now knows. If he doesn't, he could potentially get sued by an unhappy buyer in the future.
Unfortuantely, a listing agent is only as good as their sellers. If a seller does not disclose knowledge of an underground tank, for example, to the listing agent, there's no way for the agent to know that. If she DOES know about the tank, if it SHOULD have been known by any reasonable person, then she is REQUIRED to disclose those facts
At the end of the day, though, it doesn't sound like any of the current laws or regulations were the problem. The problem in this transaction was a shady seller and, possibly, a shady listing agent. If either wilfully misled the buyer or hid material facts, then the broke various laws and regulations.
The previous comments are correct that the buyer should provide the inspection report to the seller, listing agent and listing office knowing that the LAW says that they would then have to disclose all those material facts to the next buyer. In this case, though, it sounds like the sellers knew about the problems, but were hiding them. In this case, the best thing to do is to report the agent to the Oregon Real Estate Agency.
By the way, some of the comments intimate that since different buyers are willing to accept different problems with a house that, for some reason, the seller is not then obligated to disclose those facts!?! Huh? Yes, every buyer has different motivations and different comfort levels with repair issues, but material facts MUST be disclosed. It isn't up to the seller to decide what may or may not matter.
The best thing to do as a seller and agent is always DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE, DISCLOSE! Better to disclose "unimportant" facts than to not disclose important ones. Disclose everything all the time...every time.
...and ALWAYS have a home inspection!!!
Certainly, many problems in real estate come from a failure to communicate, especially when one party or another have unreasonable expectations.
There is not gonna be any Central Repository of Inspections; it is well worth the $500 or whatever to have your own inspection done, and be able to talk to the Inspector IN PERSON to determine just how bad "bad" is. "Poorly done" is an opinion; "Not to current code" is a statement of fact. (I have a feeling the furnace duct was an inexpensive fix. So is having a service panel corrected.)
And, at the end of the story, houses are large complex systems of systems, and they cannot be SixSigma certified. They have problems, issues, potential problems, serious and minor defects, and have components which are in varying stages of their lifespan.
Most of the times, the problems can be solved with judicious application of money. And, yes, sometimes, there's somebody else waiting in the wings who's willing to take these problems on for themselves.
Perhaps some of your frustration is that providing this information is not part of your role as a Real Estate Agent and that's okay. But the buyer needs to have clarity around what your role is and what you do not provide and what your responsibility and accountability is regarding a major investment for those of us that are buying a home. People earn trust when the role they serve and the boundaries are clear to the consumer.
Inter Nachi, provides a list of Oregon Certified home Inspectors, what they are certified to do and some good information on what they are able to do in their inspection.
Lookit. There is no perfect house in perfect condition. And what is a problem for one may not be a problem for another. It is the Seller's duty to disclose the defects THAT THEY ARE AWARE OF. It is not their duty to look for problems and have them fixed beforehand - that is why the Good Lord invented the Fixer Buyer.
Again: Agents failing to disclose known defects, bad. Seller failing to disclose known defects, bad. House having defects, that's life.
BTW: I wonder how much we're talking about in remediation here? Attaching the furnace duct, decommissioning the oil tank? How much asbestos would make its way through the furnace filter?
Thanks for the advice on where and what to be looking for in choosing a home inspector.
This is about health and safety issues and I too am disappointed in Real Estate firms and people. Don't understand why real estate firms don't want to identify potential concerns for all buyers, this as just good corporate and professional standards, that as a buyer, I think should be taken in to consideration in some form. Chinese drywall and some dry wall that has been manufactured in the U.S. is also a concern of mine as a home buyer but there is no assessment of this before a home is put on the market. So basically Real Estate firms sell houses and the onus is for the buyer to make sure there are no hidden dangers in the home they purchase and the next buyer is on his own to also determine if the home is safe.
I concur, a third party,with no conflict of interest that is available to all potential buyers sounds like a great idea. Who do we contact to get the ball rolling to put something like that in place?
Thanks again for your question, answers and concerns for other home buyers. Heather
And - the fact MAY BE that they did have a backup offer, and that the backup buyer may have indicated that they were ultimately willing to be a better buyer than you were. Which doesn't make you bad in any way, just maybe not the best buyer for this property.
Absolutely, buyers should have inspections - on this, there really is no debate. More people agree with this than agree that ice cream is delicious.
The thing is, people have different tolerances for different things. It doesn't make you or them right, it's just life in the modern world.
Regarding protecting other buyers, I would check Oregon state government website to see which office covers Real Estate to see which office regulates this type of consumer protection. Wouldn't hurt to email the Oregonian staff that deal with business and real estate and ask the question about protecting other vulnerable consumers. Trust is so important when dealing with any business or individual. Trust but validate, may be our only answer, seems there are very few people in business that are interested in the importance of trust in doing business. Don't understand why, it means referrals and repeat business?
The Real Estate Association and/or Board of Realtors that provide rules of business ethics may also be interested in your question about protection of buyers in this situation or what their role if any would come into play. As a buyer myself I appreciate your concern for other people, so many of us are vulnerable. Heather
If, while during a contractual listing rep agreement, a listing agent is told of "material defects" by the seller, and with that knowledge the listing agent DOES NOT disclose it, that may be a big BOZO no-no. Agents should disclose material defects (once they know of them).
That said . . . it is not uncommon for people to check "unknown." Those disclosures don't mean much, and I've always taken them with a grain of salt. What you did -- HAVE THE PROPERTY INSPECTED -- is your "caveat emptor." You did the right thing with getting the home inspected. And yes, it cost you money on a property that didn't make it to close. But if you were uncomfortable with the seller and their agent, then you did what you felt best.
The key to "how is this stuff monitored" is interesting. Here's why, another buyer could come along, and with the DISCLOSURE of all the things apparent in the home . . . they may want to buy it anyway. Just because you didn't want to buy it in its present condition, doesn't mean the next buyer won't. Make sense?
If I feel that the listing agent is not taking something seriously, then I go to the mananging broker, the broker in charge . . . Why? Because it simply is not the listing agents' listing. It's the BROKERAGE -ABCXYZ Realty Co.'s listing. Listing agents are merely the "agent of" said brokerage. If I were representing clients, and I thought that the home inspection would be pushed under a rug, I might take it upon myself to forward the inspection report to the managing broker. The listing agent has an obligation to the general public to present a clear picture of the property.
ALL houses have issues. Some are major, some minor. I tell my clients, as long as it's NOT structural, and can be corrected then we try to iron out those things and get the repairs done to my client's satisfaction. If the seller is unwilling, or unable to negotiate repairs, we might move on, too.
The National Association of Realtors, Code of Ethics Article 2 and Standards of Practice 2-1 "Agents shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to a property . . ."
You can not "monitor" another buyers deal with this seller. Nor can anyone else for that matter. I want to be clear on that. However, the listing agent and brokerage are obligated under the above NAR COE, IMHO.
BTW, your agent should be telling you this, IMHO -- GEEZ!
Carla Muss-Jacobs, Principal Broker/Owner
EBA Portland, LLC
Exclusive Buyers' Agent
Assisting Buyers in Metro Portland since 1999
And, from another angle, maybe a copy of the inspection report to your city or county's permits office.
Hope that helps.
Many times a listing agent will use the old - we have a back up offer to try and push the buyer through - the bottom line is - if the repairs exceed what you would want to do - or that they will do - then moving on may be the best thing for you! I hope if they have a back up offer the other buyers are informed - and regardless I hope they too do an inspection. Congrats on protecting yourself - the money spent on the inspection was the best investment you could make into your future home ownership - best of luck finding the perfect house