Buildings coming up RIGHT next to property I just bought... What should I expect from my Realtor?

Asked by Russ, 60613 Tue Nov 6, 2007

I am trying to be fair with this as maybe this is on me. All I know is I am very frustrated currently.

When interviewing and choosing realtors, I made it clear that I needed someone thorough, who communicates well, and especially knows the Chicago area because it's a full time job just knowing all the million different neighborhoods alone.

I have done a lot of research on each property and actually brought almost each property to him that we saw. He is great about responding back and following up, but here's the problem I just ran into. I bought this condo that I brought to him...we looked at and his input was that yes, this is a very growing area and it seemed good from that aspect. We saw the view from here and that was a great part of it. I can see a northern view and the Wilson El stop from all of my North facing windows and balcony. He knew that was important to me and he commented on that aspect as well a few times.

...rest of my note will be in first reply

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15
Mike Kelly A…, Agent, Santa Rosa, CA
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Here in the greatest state of California the Realtor/Licensee is advised to put THIS INVESTIGATION into the hands of the client. We have plenty of court cases where a Realtor/licensee noted something and advised the Buyer/Seller to get a __________ (fill in the blank) report. Only to find that was NOT the right report to get! This is the underlying concept of our Transfer Disclosure Statement and the "Agent's Disclosure"--we are only responsible for the area we can readily inspect and are NOT to speculate as to what made the conditions we note.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Chicago Board of Realtors has a clause relating to views! "All views are subject to change. Chicago has had many skylines in the past. After the Chicago fire we didn't even HAVE a skyline or any properties with a view! Heck, we didn't even have any houses! Buyer is advised all views are fleeting!" Something like that!
As Agents if we see a crack, it's a crack. Not--"Crack noted, probably due to settling of foundation, this is common for this area" The Transfer Disclosure Statement and the Agent Disclosure all came about because someone (Seller, Agents) SHOULD have noticed a hillside soil movement condition but never said anything. So now we need to do a diligent inspection of the subject property. If we see large cracks in the soil we note-"large cracks in the soil" and that's it! Not--"large cracks noted in soil buyer is advised to contact soils engineer". We have statewide advisories, local advisories and individual company advisories explaining, in approved attorney talk, you’re further due diligence recommendations!
So, if this VIEW was important to you the Buyer, it was incumbent upon YOU to investigate to see if it would be altered. It is not the agent's duty to investigate this. You could make an argument that if the Seller KNEW of the coming garage that they MIGHT have been required to disclose this. But most Sellers’ have no idea of their Cities building plans.
2 votes
Ken Dooley, Agent, Chicago, IL
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Russ,

Is the property you are referring to 1100 W Montrose? If so, development of the area known as Wilson Yards has been planned for many years and is no secret due to the amount of press it has received over the years. My understanding is the parking structure you refer to is to replace parking spaces for Truman College to your north that were lost after the college transferred land previously used for parking to the developers of Wilson Yards.
The only real way to know what can potentially be built is to consult a zoning map. However, zoning can be changed and often is. Future development should have been obvious with a big vacant parcel nearby and should have been investigated further by your Realtor if it was important to you.
Web Reference:  http://www.KDRchicago.com
2 votes
Diane Glander, Agent, Spring Lake, NJ
Wed Nov 7, 2007
Russ,
I understand your frustration. However, it is pretty much impossible for a Realtor to know everything that is going on, construction-wise in a community, large city, etc. unlelss they are a member of that city's planning board.
I sell in a small town where zoning is so strict! I've lived there for 20 years, but in no way shape or form know all the zoning laws/restrictions. Whenever one of my clients wants to know if they can add on, tear down, etc. I have them go to the town hall and speak with the zoning officer and construction dept to get an answer to their questions. Here's why: Suppose I call with a question, get the wrong information, relay that to you, you purchase that $3 million house only to find out that the information I gave you was wrong because the person who gave it to me gave me the wrong information. Now, you have purchased a house and cannot do the renovation/rebuilding you wanted to do and who has mud on their face??? Not the person who gave me the wrong information, but ME! your Realtor. A suspicious person would wonder if I lied to you to get you to purchase the house??? I wouldn't, but it sure could look that way. That's why I send you with your questions--so that you can get the answer straight from the people who SHOULD know the answers. Then, if they give you the wrong information, it's their job/reputation on the line, not mine!
Lesson to be learned--due your own due diligence the next time you are making a real estate purchase.
Web Reference:  http://www.dianeglander.com
1 vote
Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Russ, I apologize for G - He thinks he really is Max Headroom {a computer generated television animatron from the nineties} and he goes in and out of focus a lot. -

There were possibly some generic references in your "disclosure package that advised you to investigate "neighborhood conditions" etc.

If it were in California, we have a disclosure form that advises the buyer to conduct their own investigations. In California, the agent is under no requirement to investigate OFF - site matters.
1 vote
Suzanne Walk…, Agent, Oklahoma City, OK
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Ultimately, I agree with Michael.

I'd like to add another point of view which I hope will be insightful for you, and if not hopefully you will enjoy the story anyway.

I deal with a lot of investors, plus I am one too. Thus, before I say this, there but for the grace of God go I. As investors, we are control freaks when it comes to our investments; trusting no one but our own judgement, but this can be our biggest weakness as well as strength, because no one knows it all and every deal is slightly different. That is why millionaire real estate investors do use experienced real estate brokers.

After reading your story, one particular client/investor came to mind. When this investor went to make their first purchase in this city they chose me to represent them and I was honored, because it was not easy to earn this persons trust. I was willing to bend over backwards, prove my worth as a broker, EARN their business and help this person make a sound real estate investment. However, come to find out, this particular investor cannot be told anything. Didn't matter how much I researched, computed numbers, etc... Every time I went to present information I believed the client would want to know, the client interrupted me, cut me off and told me what they had found out. It became obvious quickly that this person really didn't want my help and still not sure why they needed me since they consistently tried to prove they knew what they were doing.

I am not suggesting you are a know it all, but I noticed you admitted to all the work and research you did and I wonder did you allow your agent the opportunity to present information or did you make sure the agent knew you were staying one step ahead of them? If the agent knew about the garage it doesn't excuse them not telling you and ultimately only you know the dynamics of your relationship.

Russ, try not to be too hard on yourself or agent. For whatever reasons you were meant to buy this property with the view of a garage ;) A good investor makes lemonade out of lemons. Sounds like you might have an awesome rental near the college.

Best of luck,
Susan Walker
1 vote
x, , x
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Useless, or does the truth hurt?
Sorry I can't exchange delightful pyscho-babble when dealing with facts.
Keep asking...I'm sure you will find someone to commiserate with
1 vote
Russ, Home Buyer, 60613
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Thanks G...your reply was useless.

JR, Thanks for your question. My agent was mine...Buyer's agent. At this point, I now know for any property I'm looking at to contact the Alderman's office to learn about planned building projects in that particular neighborhood. Problem is I didn't know that prior and I would think my realtor who has been selling properties in Chicago for 15+ years would be well aware of this type of thing and guide me. Our whole relationship is based on a long term plan of working real estate. This was my primary residence purchase and we were going to look at an investment property next. I have much less confidence in him now if something (now to even me) so obvious wasn't made clear on this first purchase.
1 vote
Russ, Home Buyer, 60613
Wed Nov 7, 2007
Thanks for your insights Jim and Diane.

Yes, in the end, it's my name on the line and my purchase. I know this can be a slippery slope at times and that is why I tried to build a team of much more experienced folks around me (Realtor, Mortgage Broker, Accountant, Lawyer, etc) to guide me through some of these caveats that I don't see myself as I ramp up knowledge-wise.

I hear what you're saying Diane in terms of liability. I'm not real litigation-minded. I just want a team around me that I can trust and trust me and we will share our knowledge/experience so I make solid and informed buying decisions. In the end, the more profit I make, the more it helps my team because they'll all make money in my next transaction.

Lessons learned for my next time around the block.
0 votes
Russ, Home Buyer, 60613
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Hi there Susan and thanks so much for your comments. Good points to bring to make me look at myself...all good. I know that I am very thorough and admit it would be difficult for my realtor to put the time into my investments that I do.... I absolutely do let him bring whatever he has to the table. Actually, I need him to..he's the pro at this...not me. I can crunch some numbers and try to do my best comparisons...but, I need to rely on his experience, knowledge of the areas, of the 'shifts' in neighborhoods, things to look out for when doing transactions, etc.

Maybe this one just slipped by us both...but my thought is that just shouldn't happen. I know this won't happen again for me as I'll be sure to check with the Alderman. I'm a concerned about other types of things I really do need to look out for like this that I am still a bit ignorant about and not checking.

Thanks again for your comments and thoughts Susan.
0 votes
Russ, Home Buyer, 60613
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Let me make a couple comments up front. I am not at all considering any kind of legal action against anyone. I am just frustrated that something coming...but not here yet...wasn't clearly noted to me as an obstacle to one of the key aspects of my interest in the property(i.e. View). More generally, I would expect my realtor to either check zoning changes for large projects nearby(preferred) or let me know that I should be doing so(which I will going forward now that I know this).

The construction was planned well prior to my purchasing this property. I just wasn't aware.

And yes, that's true that noone is guarenteed any views. This is a rough learning lesson, but still something I am surprised has happened based on the discussions with my much more experienced realtor prior to the purchase. I am hoping to learn from an expert's wisdom and not have to make each of these mistakes myself...

The best way I know at this point to discover building situations like this is to contact the Alderman's office. I am still not aware how to obtain the most up to date zoning maps for an area, but that is something I can look into.

Thanks for your comments and input.
0 votes
x, , x
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Thinking back to pre-law....if the development was known in the public record. i.e. building permits, newspaper articles, etc...then it is assumed that everyone has knowledge of this event.
Realtor is off the hook.
However, if you went under agreement, and THEN the construction plans went thru...seller had to disclose a change. make sense?
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Was the agent working as your agent (the buyer) of were they the seller's agent? We don't do much buyer agency here. What I do when I have a customer who asks about a particular farm or neighboring property, is direct them to the agency (usually in town hall) who can tell them what is going on with that property. Even if the agent was working for you, it's hard to say if they should have known about this development going on or planned. Did you ask about that particular property, and what did the agent tell you?
0 votes
x, , x
Tue Nov 6, 2007
He told you it was growing...well...it grew
0 votes
Russ, Home Buyer, 60613
Tue Nov 6, 2007
...Continued

I just found out the college just North of me is building a LARGE 2-Tier parking structure starting in Spring. The lower level will be higher than the current college and the higher tier will be OVER TWICE the height of the college....this will completely block my view of the tracks(which some may consider good, but I like it) and more importantly, most of my northern city view. UGH!!!

Yes, it's good that the area is growing and this is part of the area growth that will, in turn, improve my property value down the road. However, my specific view is important to my resale as well and I'm about to lose a large part of that view with this one...large structure.

So, in all fairness, I want to ask the great people here if I should be as upset with my realtor as I currently feel. I am new to the Chicago area and talked to him about my leaning on him for Chicago expertise in how things work and the Neighborhoods, etc. Now, I just bought this place and find out 3 weeks later that the view which we liked so much is about to go bye-bye.

Is this on me? Is this something realtors would normally research for their customers to ensure they're interests are covered? Going forward, I now know to check these things...but I am expecting him to do this considering I'm new to the city. I've never spoken to an Alderman's office before a couple days ago. I've tried to do the best I can to do my own homework along the way in every way I could think. Was up until 2am most days doing comparisons and working the numbers and researching area growth, etc. etc. etc.

Thanks to all for your time and comments.

Best Regards
0 votes
Erin Stumpf…, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Tue Nov 6, 2007
Hmm...I am curious to see the rest of your story!! Have you already closed escrow on this property? Had construction started on those buildings? Did you investigate to see if there was any planned development nearby? Did the seller indicate they knew of any planned development?
Web Reference:  http://www.erinattardi.com
0 votes
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