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Yoga, Home Seller in San Antonio, TX

Do you think it is extreme to pay $1500 for a paint stain the size of a lid on a quart of paint?. What is fair?

Asked by Yoga, San Antonio, TX Mon Dec 26, 2011

I disclosed the paint stain the day of closing and left the ottoman with them. They are now asking for $1,500 which I feel is excessive or they will take me to court. I had previously offered them $100.00. What is reasonable? I really do not want to pay more than $300.00. I disclosed this to my agent prior to closing and he suggested we not disclose it. I do want to do the right thing. The house appraised for $20,000.00 than what they paid. Is my agent also liable for half the amount?. Thank you.

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Yoga’s answer
I would like to thank everyone for their responses. It is my belief the buyers attempted to threaten me with litigation. When I consulted with my attorney, I stood firm with the $300.00. They agreed by signing an addendum. Hopefully, the issue is resolved. Again, thank you for being there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 27, 2012

I remember and had commented on your original question weeks ago when you asked if you should disclose it. You will remember the consensus of the very experienced and helpful Realtors on Trulia was loud and clear... disclose now before it became a big issue, in fact the phrase avoid a walk through nightmare may have been my exact advice. This is truly an example of doing the right thing always is best... if you had disclosed it then it may have been easily resolved. Now by " disclosing " the stain you hid under an ottoman the *day of the closing* they feel deceived. Speak to your attorney .... be more careful about listening to an agent who advises against disclosing defects.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 29, 2011
It's laudable that even after your attorney told you that you don't have to do anything, since it's an as-is purchase... that you still want to "make it right".

My thought: I can't imagine that one of those discount carpet companies would charge anything more than a few hundred dollars to totally re-carpet the basement room. Get an estimate from a local carpet company for the single room. Go back and renegotiate with that estimate in hand.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 29, 2011
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
Read Elvin advise very carefully.
You are done. Move on with your life and know you made a very reasonable offer. Now would be the right time to be silent and move on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 29, 2011
Based on more information from your latest post, my question to you is why are you still trying to "work with them" by trying to negotitate a price on an old carpet that you essentially already sold? As I wrote earlier: was it something a prudent purchaser exercising due care could not discover? Was the carpet covered with furniture and other items that made it difficult to see its condition? You say there were three walk throughs. If the carpet is visibly worn, stained, and tattered, visibly seen by the buyer and accepted in that condition by the purchaser, then it appears they accepted it as is. I am not giving you legal advice. I'll say that again. I am not giving you legal advice, but I would be careful about making new offers --$100 to $300-- that might be accepted. You may find yourself on the "hook" for a new deal that requires you to purchase new carpet. Your old deal --offer, acceptance, consideration, inspections, closing, i.e. selling your house-- has closed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 28, 2011
I am trying to make it right, but I do not feel it should cost $1,500.00. This was not intentional. I did not think about the stain until I was moving. We did not use the basement very much and that was the last room to be packed. When I discovered it, I called my agent for advice. I left the ottoman there after my agent told me that these things happen when you are selling a house. I in good faith I told the buyers when they came by the day of closing. I offered $100.00 and that is when the buyer came up with $1500.00. Now he is claiming other stains and wants that same amount.

An attorney has advised that I am not responsible as it states on page 3 of the purchase agreement that they take it as is, but I am still trying to work with them but they are set on $1500.00. I do not feel it is worth more than $300.00, as the carpet is worn and stained, and they were able to see this when they did the 3 walk throughs.

I know the $20,000 equity is irrelevant, but I would not have given them a $1,500 concession for the carpet. The carpet is very old and worn, and they took it as is, despite the knowledge of the paint stain. They knew the carpet had other stains. I am trying to do the right thing, but I do not feel it is my responsibility to buy new carpet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 27, 2011
The language you used by saying the inspector didn't "catch it" makes it seem that you purposely hide the stain under the ottoman. Combine that with the fact that your disclosure of the stain was not prompt--you waited until the inspection contingency was removed and you disclosed on the day of closing. This conduct on your part may constitute "active concealment". On the other hand, there is a saying that's been around for a long, long time: Caveat emptor, which means buyer beware. The big issue is whether this condition created by you materially impairs the value of your contract with the buyer and was it unlikely to be discovered by a prudent purchaser exercising due care. The stain was concealed under an ottoman. How difficult was it to move a ottoman conpared to moving a sofa or sectional. But should the buyer have to move furniture for fear of some active concealment of the seller? Although the property has closed, there appears to be a need to resolve this issue. How to fix this situation? I am not a carpet salesperson nor a carpet technician. But, it is possible to have a qualified person cut out the stain and stitch in a replacement patch? The fibers can blend in if they a long enough and the color can be matched because the stitching is at the bottom of the carpet. If it's older or doesn't have long fibers then maybe that isn't possible. Do some research; consult someone that's involved in the carpet business.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 27, 2011
Larry and Ann....excellent, excellent advise.
As Ann pointed out, if the carpet was nearing end of life, that will change everything. If the carpet is brand new it can be REPAIRED for much less than what has been quoted. Call the company that installed it. Let those who are well equipped to diffuse emotional situations handle this. That is the role your agent fills. Do not engage in direct communications with the new home owner.

Now that you have sold your home are you ready to move to the Sunshine State?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 27, 2011
I see you took my suggestion of leaving them the ottoman.

I can't see how your agent would in any way be liable, unless he somehow left a paint lid stain on the carpet. But I'm a not lawyer, and I suppose you might want to talk to one for real legal advice.

What was the overall condition of the carpet? Was it brand new? Did it have other stains? If it was a brand new carpet, with only the paint stain, I'm not sure it is unreasonable for the new owners to ask for replacement cost. If it was a ten year old carpet...or had other condition issues, then things get a little more gray.

Going to court will almost certainly cost you a lot more than 1500....

Even though the transaction has closed, it may make sense to continue to "fix" the issue of the carpet by going through the agents, who are less personally involved in this problem.

Congratulations on the closing, and I hope you have a lovely holiday.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 27, 2011
I'm a little puzzled at first I thought the stain was on a wall or ceiling but in reading through the answers it sounds like it may be a carpet stain? If it's a stain on a wall, depending on where the stain is located would determine how much would need to get repainted. Unless the paint on the wall is new, it's almost impossible to touch up a stain and hot have it show. $1500 sounds ridiculous, and $100 is likely too low. You should have a painter come in and give an estimate and that should be the amount paid. If it's a carpet stain, it's possible it could be cleaned, though it may need to get replaced.

Was the stain clearly visible when the buyers did their final walk through? If it was, by closing; the Sellers have accepted the house "As-Is." While they can threaten you all they like they have no chance of prevailing in court. If the stain was visible and objectionable to them, they should have refused to close until the issue was resolved. While anyone can take anyone to court, you are in no danger of losing any money and in most states the Buyers would in fact be liable for your court costs when they lose their case.

Your agent was wrong to advise you not to disclose it unless it was clearly visible to the Sellers which I presume it wasn't. You were right to be honest. While you're agent would be a better person to offer to share it with you, legally they have no responsibility to do so, ethically is another question.

The fact that the home appraised for more than they paid is irrelevant, and unless you agreed to leave them the ottoman as payment for the stain this too is irrelevant.

I would suggest to your agent that they get involved and aggressively work with you to make the problem go away or that you're likely to file a complaint against them and the company they work for with the Michigan State Real Estate Commission for advising you not to disclose the issue earlier.

Good Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 27, 2011

I recall your initial question as well as the responses leaning towards disclosing this informationas opposed to concealing it.

The expectation for repairing this stained carpet should be to replace it with a similar material. The buyer's shouls not expect an upgrade or replacing the carpet with tile of hardwood. That would be unreasonable.

A reasonable amount for replacement consideration is somewhere between your $100 amount and their $1,500 request. Probably your best approach is to bring in estimates for replacement from Lowes, Home Deposit, etc and base your amount on reasonable documented estimates provided by your resources.

Yes, you are correct. Unless there is some undisclosed issue the buyer's request of $1,500 does seem excessive. Plan on making repairs with similar materials and installation expense, nothing more....

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 27, 2011
I would have to agree with the 2 answers that you have. Look at it from a buyer's point of view. How would you feel if a seller did that to you. This is probably something that could have been covered under your home owners insurance. I would say settle. You and your agent are in the wrong.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 26, 2011
Hello Yoga,

First of all it really surprises me that your agent suggested NOT to disclose it. I am not saying that you are not telling the truth, just that most agents SHOULD tell you to Disclose, Disclose, Disclose! If you are in doubt, disclose!

Well they are asking for $1,500 and you offered $100.00. This is a two sided issue. First of all, yes they can take you to court but that would be time consuming and most likely end up in arbitration before it went before the judge for a ruling.

First of all you should have disclosed the stain, but the bottom line is, the buyer's should have probably NOT closed until the issue was resolved to the satisfaction of both sides. That is all in the past now. Cooler heads should prevail and both sides should come to an agreement.

What was stained and what will it cost to make that repair? That really is the matter that needs to be addressed. I would suggest getting two or three estimates and offer a settlement to the other side. What you want to pay ($300.00) really doesn't matter at this point.

What the home appraised at really has no value in this situation, the issue is the stain that you did not disclose. Worst case scenario, they will not be happy with what you offer, they will take you to court, you need to be prepared with estimates that can substantiate your claims. Ultimately an arbitrator or the judge will resolve the issue with a reasonable solution.

I would really try to resolve it outside of court, but if they want to be difficult and ask for more than the repair is, you will have no choice but to resolve it in court, and I would not be scared of court.

As far as your agent is concerned, if he truly did tell you not to disclose the stain, you do have recourse. I would first call his/her broker and talk to them. If you are not satisfied with the solution, you can complain to the state board about the agent. You can also take the agent to court if you so choose, but it would be a bit extreme.

My suggestion would be that all parties sit down together and iron something out to be done with the issue.

I hope this gives you some answers, I know you are in a difficult situation.

Thank you,

Elias Realty
(248) 379-6547
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 26, 2011
Again, the legal issues are better suited for a real estate attorney. What is fair is determined by a reasonable price that both parties can agree upon. They are probably asking for $1,500 assuming that they will have to replace all the carpet in the room, and that might be the only option they have. In my opinion, it is always better to try to sort out situations without resorting to legal action, but if you already closed on the sale, you may want to consult an attorney to see if they really have any grounds to sue you over this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 26, 2011
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