Home Buying in 99517>Question Details

Barb, Both Buyer and Seller in Anchorage, AK

Bought home February 2007. Paid $15,000 more than market value at suggestion of our realtor because

Asked by Barb, Anchorage, AK Mon Apr 21, 2008

sellers' agent reported another offer. Because home had just had extensive remodeling, our agent recommended the asking price (although remodel was counted when coming up with market value). How long the home was really on the market withheld from us, so we agreed, because we thought with most of remodeled and a new roof, we would not have to put money in for several years. Instead, as soon as we moved in, found leak at heating baseboards; clogged pipes backed into showers at first laundry (sellers HAD to know about clogs due to living with five children!), Slow leaks under floors from two toilets so both had to be replaced. Bath faucet handle required replacing. Roof tiles came off. Seller lied re: # of cats & how long since in home; now ill from cat dander, we must replace two-year-old carpet. Sellers skipped MAIN step when installing tile in three rooms, so grout came out and tiles cracked before we started using those rooms. Tearout and redo required. MORE! Recourse?

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Home Inspection...Home Inspection...Home Inscpection. The cheapest insurance you will ever pay.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 21, 2008
I still contend, Babs, that much of the fault lies with your inspector, and that's what they carry insurance for.

Yes, inspectors rely on real estate agents' referrals, but they won't continue to get them, if they routinely ignore (or purposely overlook) problems. Most inspectors are far more ethical than that... and so, for that matter, are real estate agents.

Yes, we want the sale, but we highly value the ongoing business (your resale, and next purchase, and your recommendation to your friends and family... that's how our business grows).
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
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It's usually the realtor who makes actionable errors and/or omissions. In this case, it could be multiple parties.
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I pulled this quote out especially because of Barb's comment: "I think it is unethical, also, to misrepresent how long homes have been on the market. When sellers take homes off the market and re-list them so they can start the "how many days on the market" over again, sellers pay more than homes are really worth and it distorts the entire market. "

Many MLSs have rules about relisting a home so that the days on the market are reduced. In my area, a seller's agent or broker's agent has a fiduciary duty to the seller and may not disclose the DOM to a buyer/customer. A buyer's agent may disclose it to a buyer/client, however. Whether or not the information is useful is debatable. I know of a house in my market that has been overpriced and on the market about 3 years. It was recently relisted with a more effective agent at a tremendous price reduction that brings it below the comps. Do the past 3 years on the market mean there was something "wrong" with the house? Well yeah, what was wrong is it was overpriced. It isn't overpriced now. What do the DOM reveal in this case?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
Barb, if the inspector is an ASHI inspector, and missed the major points that you mentioned, you may be able to sue him, and his insurance will cover some of your losses.

This is why inspectors carry insurance, and it sounds as though many of these issues SHOULD have been caught.

I think you're mistaken to place any blame on the inspector simply because he was the one recommended by your Realtor. Buyer's and Seller's agents alike, WANT the inspector to find any and all issues. I don't want my buyer purchasing a home with problems, as you'll hopefully be calling me in 5 years to help you sell it.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
Contact
...Next time I want an inspector who works only for me, not for the realtor by hoping for his or her next referral.

...I know this issue is hotly debated, but I think it is unethical, also, to misrepresent how long homes have been on the market. ...

______________________________________________________________________

Barb:

I know it's too late now, but using a home inspector or any other services suggested by the real estate agent (i.e. financing) is usually a mistake. You have to do your own due dilligence. You simply can't give your trust to a realtor.

About the DOM, if they told you an incorrect or false DOM number, that is fraud. If they never actually told you a number, that is shameful. When a buyer asks for information, it should be provided quickly and accurately. If not, beware.

You should should ABSOLUTELY file a complaint against the realtor with the BBB & the Licensing Board at a minmum. It's easy to do and will help protect other homebuyers.

Enjoy your new home!
Jeff
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 18, 2009
Thank you for your feedback. It is especially helpful to receive a variety of opinions.

We have fixed every issue that was wrong as they surfaced, therefore the home is in better physical and aesthetic condition than many of the homes in the area. (Too many Alaskans do not put aesthetics and maintenance at the top of their list over the years, even in the pricey neighborhoods!) Because we fixed and replaced everything, the home is now in better condition than when we bought it.

The issue of the cats was intentionally misleading. My realtor knew that I was very allergic to cats, and the seller's realtor was informed. The disclosure form we saw before the purchase said there had been one cat in the house but not for three years. Well, the upstairs carpet was replaced after that and I replaced the downstairs carpet so I thought one cat three years previously was manageable. I removed dander from all of the baseboard heaters, etc. However, after we made the purchase and I looked at the pile of paperwork, there was a NEW disclosure form in the packet, not the one we'd seen, and where the seller filled in how long it had been since a cat had been in the house it was blank! It had been changed, after the realtors knew about my allergy. Neighbors told me the sellers had three cats and two of them were still in the house until the sellers moved out three or four months earlier. Multiple cats had lived on the new carpeting, and I was sick with asthma. Because it accidentally ended up in a pile of papers I took home, I have the original disclosure form that was in the house for potential buyers to look at, so I have both.

As for the tile, because the grout immediately started coming up in chunks, both realtors saw it. I showed it to them. The seller's realtor said she called the sellers and asked if they knew what might be wrong. The sellers claimed they had no idea because they "followed directions to the letter." I had a tile repair person pull up tiles and the required backer board and thinset were not there! (An inspector could not have discovered that without pulling up tile.) They just glued the tile directly to the plywood floor. Also, we did not realize that none of the tile was sealed, so it looked trashed right away even without cracking. All of the same was true in the front entryway. Right after we moved in and I showed my realtor the grout crumbled across the bathroom floor she said, "Oh well! At least it isn't a large area so it won't cost you much to fix it!"

We were generous in our offer because we thought the sellers had done a good job preparing the home and we could move in without facing anything of consequence for a few years, at least nothing they had already replaced; hence we did not begrudge paying them a premium price. It turned out, however, that really they just masked things with new covers. Not only is that unethical and I've never done the same when I've sold our homes, but the inspector didn't even mention it if he noticed it at all. Even a bathroom fan didn't work but it had a shiny new cover. Further, I specifically told him to look for any moisture problems. My feeling is that some inspectors want to please the realtor and it is in the realtors best interest for the sale to go through and at the highest price possible. Next time I want an inspector who works only for me, not for the realtor by hoping for his or her next referral.

I know this issue is hotly debated, but I think it is unethical, also, to misrepresent how long homes have been on the market. When sellers take homes off the market and re-list them so they can start the "how many days on the market" over again, sellers pay more than homes are really worth and it distorts the entire market. Even in excellent condition, we would never offer the asking price for a home that had been on the market for six months, especially when that price is already higher than the comps. Yet it was in the sellers and both realtors interest for us to be in the dark on that score. That is a distorted system.

We decided not to go after the sellers because since my original post I did a more extensive search and discovered how financially stretched the previous owners were. In the twenty years they owned it there were two liens on the house and at the time we made our offer, it wasn't even actually in their name. I guess whoever they owed put it back in their name for the sale. We didn't know that. It would cost us more in money and stress than it is worth. Fortunately, because of the location and condition of the home, it is still worth more than we purchased it for, we should just have had a smaller mortgage.

Thanks again for all of the input.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
This is yet another reason that I believe all buyers need the services of an attorney throughout the buying process.

It's usually the realtor who makes actionable errors and/or omissions. In this case, it could be multiple parties.

I would still consult an attorney and preesent them with all paperwork, contracts, reports, emails and recorded conversations you may have. There may still be some relief.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
That's really a shame, Barb.Before I was a realtor, I bought my home from a FSBO and asked what was under the carpeting. The seller said "wood", and after we moved in found out it was plywood! Vowed to never buy a home without a Realtor after that!

You don't say how old the home is. Some of the issues are home maintenance issues. It's truly unfortunate that you got in at a bad time when the market was falling, a lot of people did. Consult an atty about your issues, they can tell you if you have any recourse.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
We DID have an inspection. We would never buy property without one.

We will never use a realtor's inspector again.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
I feel your pain, but I have to tell you...a home inspection would have caught all this and the sellers would have had to repair each and every item before they saw a dime. I understand the home inspection is expensive, but it's only a fraction of the cost of repairs. Think of it this way: you are going to sell the home eventually...why not have the repairs made *before* you move in and let someone else pay for them. If not, you will be making all the repairs before you can sell it. HOME INSPECTION...best 500 bucks you can spend when buying a home.

Unfortunately the only recourse is if you can PROVE that the seller lied on the disclosure statement. Then you can go after money for repairs...but it's not going to be a quick process.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 14, 2008
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