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!
Best of Luck,
Century 21 Tenace
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.
Cory La Scala, REALTOR
Lic # 01443391
A competent, responsible, realtor is your best bet....anything beyond that is just marketing noise and banter.
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.
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.
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