Home Buying in North Park>Question Details

Ilya Chorny, Home Buyer in San Diego, CA

Was in escrow on a house that the seller said was built in 2010 but was actually had two parts on built in 2001 and one built in 1910.

Asked by Ilya Chorny, San Diego, CA Sat Nov 10, 2012

We canceled our escrow but I feel like the seller and agent lied to us. During the inspection we pulled the permits and permits for the new addition were final only permits which referenced permits issued in 2001/2002 and were never finaled. Also the old part of the house, built in 1910, did not have a modern stem wall foundation but had an open pier and post foundation. The sellers never disclosed that the permits were not finaled. Can I report them to someone regarding the lack of finaled permits and for selling a house built in "2010" with a proper foundation in the old part of the house?

Help the community by answering this question:


John Boat’s answer
Good for you for doing property due dilligence. Without repeating what is said below, I agree you should move on, but I would add 2 caveats. 1. Send all the information you discovered to both the seller and the seller's agent, in writing. That way, they cannot avoid disclosing it to the next potential buyer. If you really want to bird-dog the thing, when it ultimately sells, send the new buyer a copy of your letter and materials to make sure the agent and seller didn't pull one over one some other dupe. 2. If the seller/agent made material affirmative mis-statements in the listing information or disclosures, then I would request that they refund to you the costs you incurred in connection with your due dilligence.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 17, 2012
This is a great example of why its important to have a realtor, certified & licensed inspections and a real estate attorney representing you and protecting you through out the process! When sellers don't disclose there can be problems, yet if they had a contractor and trusted them they may not have known the permits weren't completed... looking at both sides of the situation and just trying to play devils advocate for the seller, and knowing the games contractors play.

Its a good thing you found these issues before you completed escrow and are stuck with the nightmare this house could have been for you.. nothing like doing your due diligence, protecting yourself, and in the end coming out on top!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 26, 2014
Next time is a good idea to hire a Buyer's agent that can represent you start to finish. Buyer's agent is the practice of Real estate brokers and their agents representing the buyer in a real estate transaction, rather than, by default, resenting the seller.

Best of Luck,

Maria Cipollone

Century 21 Tenace

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 16, 2012
That is why you do your due diligence...no harm/no foul.

Hector R. Gastelum
Realty Executives Dillon
REALTOR #01382940
efax 619-270-2516
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 10, 2012
Who is the seller insured by? Was that company not an option? If the home is uninsurable in its current condition, then the seller has a big problem. Going back to your question, karma will take care of the seller....your energy is best spent staying in the positive and finding your home....with a knowledgable buyer's agent of course!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 10, 2012
To further clarify one of the reasons I canceled escrow was that I was unable to get the property insured. No major insurance company would insure an open foundation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 10, 2012
Hi Ilya,

If you used a buyer's agent, they can help you out with a lot of this. If you used the seller's agent, you just demonstrated what can happen with a single agent dual agency. They say they can be unbiased, but they need to help the buyer with his due diligence too, buyers don't always know where to go or who to ask for such things, so it's a good thing you did.

As far as the permit/year built issue, when an older home has been totally remodeled along with an addition that's been added, the year built is known as the effective year built. This means it's as if the home were built, in this case, 2001. The seller could argue that the 2010 was a typo and not intentional, but it's still misleading. And, the seller may not have been aware that the permits were never finalized, especially if the contractor handled them, which they often do.

Post and pier foundations are pretty normal for homes built at this time, and there are codes for this type of foundation. As long as everything is to code, the permits just need to be finalized, and the seller could have done that, and should, even during escrow if you really wanted the house.

Better luck with your next escrow, just please use your own agent - a proactive one! Not one afraid to rock the boat.

Warm Regards,

Cory La Scala, REALTOR
Independence Realty
Lic # 01443391
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 10, 2012
@Jessica - good points, but my experience with large brokerage firms is that the only thing they backup is themselves. When it hits the fan, they focus on making sure they are protected first even when their agent is clearly in the wrong.

A competent, responsible, realtor is your best bet....anything beyond that is just marketing noise and banter.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 10, 2012
Just so you know, generally speaking (I'm not familiar with San Diego codes) a property's build date is when the final inspection or certificate of completion is signed off on, so a house could have been started in 2001 but not finished till 2010. Could have. However, even if that were the case it seems pretty slimy to simply say it was built in 2010.

For example, we recently represented a new condo complex that had a finish date of August 2012, however it had been in process for years. The Seller disclosed through us to every potential buyer that although the CFC date was 2012 the initial start date was years earlier. In my view that's the way it should be handled, every time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 10, 2012
My inspector told me the roof looked about 10 years old. It seems silly to me that you could put a roof on a house in 2001, then complete construction in 2010 and call it a house built in 2010. BTW, kinda cool that you responded to this. :)
Flag Sat Nov 10, 2012
Both agents below are absolutely correct. I like to add, if you have any problems with your real estate transaction that cant be resolved with the brokers in the future, you may contact the department of real estate.
Choosing the right agent to help you is key. Make sure you work with a "realtor" n a brokerage firm you can count on to back you up.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 10, 2012
I can see your concern as to why the seller would say a house was built in 2010 if it was not. Sometimes there is an effective age, (when a home has basically ben rebuilt), unless that is when the permits were signed off? That is why buyers should be diligent on their inspections, which you were, however I thought you said the permits were for final only for the work done in 2001/02? So if that is the case, then the permits were finally signed off as final, unless I am missing something....As for post and pier, there is nothing wrong with that foundation and is typical in older homes. A seller has to disclose known issues and if there are no issues with the foundation then nothing to disclose. The sellers would also have to disclose work done without a permit but since it was "finaled' then that was not an issue either. I am not sure why you would have canceled the escrow if you loved the house.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 10, 2012
Great job on the due diligence. Many buyers learn these things after the sale closes and it is too late. That is a great example of why reviewing permits and inspecting a home is so critical.

I can totally understand your frustration and to some extent anger, that the property you felt might make a good home for you fell short in these ways because it wasn't what you thought or were told it was. Unfortunately, this is not all too uncommon at some level or another.

To suggest the seller and agent lied maybe jumping to conclusions. The agent will likely say they were not aware of what you have discovered. Many listing agents do not put in too much effort in learning the history of a home they are selling, partly for these exact circumstances, so when asked, they can say, "I dunno."

The seller may or may not have known. You don't mention how long the seller owned the home and if they were involved in the permitting process back in 2001/2002. As far as stem wall vs. pier/post foundation, that is how old homes were built and so it should be expected that the older part of the home is this way. Again, this is why you do due diligence like you did.

My suggestion would be to put you energy and effort into moving forward, not dwell on whether or not they "lied" and then trying to prove it. More often or not, your complaint is a voice in the bureaucratic wilderness. Be thankful you found this out ahead of time and be just as diligent with the next home you look to purchase.

Real Estate has a way of finding you. It has a strange connection with a sense of destiny. If it was not meant to be, accept that is was not meant to be so you can put your energy into finding that home that is meant to be.

Good luck. I know you will do well.

CA DRE 01775528
NMLS 980076
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 10, 2012
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer