HELP!!! Any realtors or real estate attorneys here?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by wi_sugargrl, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. wi_sugargrl

    wi_sugargrl New Member

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    I really need some impartial advice :redface: .

    I got screwed with my home purchase 2 months ago :mad: . Basically, the seller and seller's agent did not disclose some issues regarding past water damage in the basement and things were actually covered up (literally with fresh paint, obstructing furniture during the inspection, etc.). I discovered this when I found actual water in the basement after a heavy rain. These things, like mold 3/4 the way up the walls, were missed on my inspection. I could go on, but I think you get the gist.

    Basically, the damages come to around $4000 to replace the drywall and soaked carpet that also had mold growing on the bottom. My buyer's agent appears to be working with me, but I would really appreciate some outside advice.

    The previous owner is a lying jerk :mad: - he even took perennial plants that were in the yard and the riding mower he "threw in" was a piece of shit that didn't work. He was even still having packages delivered here from UPS and FedEx until I nipped that in the bud. So, you get the picture.

    He isn't returning phone calls from his seller's agent, who also appears to be trying to remedy this situation. I am really not confident in ANY way that I will be getting any $$$ out of this asshole for the things he intentionally covered up.

    So my question is – where do I stand if the asshole/jerk won’t pay? Both he and I have agents with Keller Williams (I worry that that could be the root of this problem by the way). Is the selling agent ultimately responsible for remedying the situation? Is Keller Williams responsible? Should I get an attorney (that I can’t afford)?

    And before you ask, my homeowner's insurance denied the claim and I am going to get a whopping $290 from the inspector.

    There are some other issues that go along with my sad tale – but I won’t bore you with them now. Anyone with advice, please bring it on. I need all of the opinions I can get.

    Sugar :mad:
     
  2. b.c.

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    Yep... real estate laws differ from state to state, but every state has a realtor governing board and laws governing such things as prior knowledge and known (but undisclosed) conditions of the property.

    There is also supposed to be what is known as a "fiduciary" relationship between you and your agent (though some wouldn't know one if it smacked em in the face). This means that your agent was bound (at least in principle if not legally) to inform you of the true condition of the property.

    What complicates your matter is that the seller's agent and your agent work for the same realtor (if I understand you correctly). You might look up your local board (the one that governs realtors in your state) to file a complaint.

    As for attorneys, some municipalities have municipal or state funded lawyer "pools" (best way to describe it) that can serve, or at least advise people at reduced or no costs, but you have to meet certain requirements as to income to qualify for their assistance. Good luck.
     
  3. NovaBone

    NovaBone New Member

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    You make no mention of a professional home inspection before settlement. Anyone purchasing a home should always have this done. A thorough inspection by a professional would have caught all the problems. It's YOUR agent's job to bring this to your attention -- not the seller's agent. Your agent was not doing his/her job. The previous owner owes you nothing at at this point. You're stuck.
     
  4. b.c.

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    I disagree. Municipalities and states have various laws regarding what in real estate is known as "disclosure". She should pursue the matter, especially if the seller's agent and her agent works for the same realtor.
     
  5. wi_sugargrl

    wi_sugargrl New Member

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    Yeah - HouseMaster. They said tonight that they'll refund my fee of $290. Bull shit.

    I'm trying to copy the email from the seller, but it's in a pdf file. Here's what my realtor had to say:

    Sarah,
    I attached an e-mail Jason sent me this afternoon. McKee is claiming they never had a water problem. He thinks the water might have come in due to the 8 straight days of rain we had at that time. He is also making it sound like if any painting over mold was done, it was done by the former owner.
    Read the attachment and see what you think.
    I am disappointed Dwayne is paying so little. Not a good judgment call on his part. I don't know what to do except get legal advice.

    I am so sorry this is all happening. I never suspected any kind of problem like this. I will continue to help anyway I can. I guess only an attorney could advise what to do next.

    Let me know your thoughts.

    I guess I can get an attorney - I'm going to at least try to see if I have a case. But is it really worth the hassle for $4000 damage?

    Sad Sugar in Wisconsin :mad:
     
  6. b.c.

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  7. wi_sugargrl

    wi_sugargrl New Member

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  8. davidjh7

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    MOST states have implemented a disclosure form that MUST be filled out completely and truthfully. It is a legal document. However, there can be end around that they can pull--this happened to me---I bought my house in the winter time, so couldn;t determine the condition of the roof. The previous owner had been a contractor in the past, so obviously had SOME professional experience about building conditions. On the disclosure, he listed the condition of the roof as "unknown", despite having lived there for 5 years. Well, come spring, I find out that the roof is completely shot, has two layers of shakes, and three layers of composition roofing ( most municipalities allow only two layers before requireing a full tear off), and is leaking. Because he listed "unknown", which he certainly knew, there was no recourse. If your state has a disclosure law (I assume you are in Wisconsin?), then there legally had to be a disclosure form filled out. If there was no form, the contract, legally, could be voided. But no matter what, to get any kind of satisfaction, you will have to involve a lawyer, which more than likely will cost more than the repairs. I wish I had better news for you, but unfortunately the system is set up to screw the buyer, if they can be screwed. Definately check your states disclosure laws, though---theer MAY be a precedent you can exploit without having to take it to court. Good Luck!!
     
  9. davidjh7

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    As an addenum to my previous post, here is a quick web site that may provide you with information about Wisconsin disclosure practices. If you live in another state, let me know and I will try and find you some information.

    http://www.vernacker.com/cndition.htm
     
  10. 11incher

    11incher New Member

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    I don't know your state law but there may be some federal issues if you have a mortgage and he lied on a disclosure.

    This is not my expertise but if you mess with banks and loans you usually have major problems and those boys do not mess around.

    Call a lawyer not a real estate agent.

    One more thing take a lot of pictures that can be date proven.
     
  11. wi_sugargrl

    wi_sugargrl New Member

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    Yeah, I'm going to do more checking. I've dicked around for a month getting all the estimates required by the inspector for them to say that I'll get $290. What a crock of shit!

    The previous owner is denying everything, even has gone so far to say how "disappointed" and "insulted" he is.

    But yeah, there is a mandatory disclosure form here in Wisconsin (yes I'm telling the truth in my profile :biggrin1: ) and I have it in my file - absolutely NOTHING was disclosed, even the water that was in a different part of the basement (I found this out later and I have a phone message attesting to that). But the kicker is that I have documentation from 1 contractor and my homeowner insurance adjuster that it was an old problem, and I've had 3 other experienced people say that it's obvious that he painted over the mold. BUT I didn't have a mold expert, expert roofer, expert this or that to come in after the inspection. I'm telling you - HouseMaster's contract is airtight almost. Just be aware if you ever use them - they "advise" you to have experts look at everything (but isn't that THEIR job :confused: ).

    However, I don't think it's really going to help. It's just really disappointing that I've had to deal with this less than 2 months after moving in. Oh well - stupid, single female right! At least that's what they were probably thinking - that I was an easy target. Well, never again!

    Thanks for the advice. Like I said, any is appreciated. Even if it's just for moral support.

    Sugar
     
  12. wi_sugargrl

    wi_sugargrl New Member

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    Thanks David.

    Sugar
     
  13. wi_sugargrl

    wi_sugargrl New Member

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    Yeah, I have tons of pictures. So, I think I know what the next step is. The good news (if you can call it that :eek: ) is that I've done my homework, even if it's after the fact.

    Thanks for the advice.
    Sugar :cool: :tongue: :mad: :rolleyes: :smile:
     
  14. davidjh7

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    By the way---you certainy are NOT a stupid female!!! From yoru description, the previous owner/seller intended to defraud you. Given Wisconsi DOES have a disclosure law, I would tell your real estate people you are considering legal action, such that the sale is voided due to breach of contract. That might get them excited about doing something other than throwing tea and sympathy at you. For what it is worth, in the future, to really protect yourself, don;t just get a "home inspector" to evaluate a property. If you want a real, legally binding assesment, get a structural engineer to evaluate it, and give reccomendations. As specifically for any needed further expert inspections which ar outside the real of the engineer, including hydrology or soils tests. Also including pest inspections. Get him to give a written report. Then make sure he applies his Professional engineers stamp to that report. That report then becomes a legal document---with his career on the line, as well as his legal liability, if he failed to perform it correctly--so you know he is going to make damed sure he does it right. He also can make legal reccomendations for repair. And those reccomendations can then be used in the permitting process for those repairs. Home inspectors have training, hopefully, in the more common problems. Some state even hold them liable for more than just thier fee as well, though this is still rare. Every state has professional structural engineers, with the ensuing legally binding liabilities. Now, having said all THAT, if nothing else, make sure you make the guys life a living utter hell--if nothing else, get the 4 grand out of his soul.:biggrin1:
     
  15. wi_sugargrl

    wi_sugargrl New Member

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    Can I hire you? Seriously, you pointed out some things that I can definately use - I'll be sure to check them out more thoroughly. But, I am going to get an attorney - at least call one tomorrow (sometime during my never ending day at work!) to get an idea if I have a case.

    I must say that I'm smarter now because of this mess. Live and learn. But I can have SOME fun trying my best to annoy the shit out of them - I'm good at that LOL.

    :rolleyes:
     
  16. davidjh7

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    It's alot easier if they still live in the same city....don't stalk, but definately annoy! Like I mentioned, I got screwed over, too---I at least had the foresite to hire a structural engieer in my place--given it was built in 1904 ( I love old houses), I felt that the foundation HAD to be evaluated---a bad foundation can cost half the price of a house to repair right---and it isn;t something you can ignore. My problem was it was winter, the roof was covered in snow, and the ^%()$%_$_ flat out lied, then covered it up by playing dumb. once burned....
     
  17. DC_DEEP

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    Sugar, you do need to contact the WI real estate board and tell them you may have a serious ethics violation going on. You also need to find out if you can hold the inspector liable for a substandard inspection. You know, the sort of "could any reasonable inspector have found this in the course of a standard inspection" sort of thing. Also find out if the real estate agency has had dealings with that particular inspector in the past. If you can show collusion, you may have something going on. Best of luck to you, dear. I went through the buying process just over a year ago, and in my area, it really is a nightmare. The standard process here, when we were looking, was that if you wanted to submit a "winning bid" on a property, you had to offer several thousand above asking, be willing to escalate at least $40,000 over your initial offer, and most of all, be willing to strike most of the contingencies. A scary market, indeed.
     
  18. wi_sugargrl

    wi_sugargrl New Member

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    Update - very good news :biggrin1:

    I'm still struggling with the basement issue and my inspector, BUT.... :tongue:

    My insurance company is giving me $$$ for hail damage for the entire roof AND my siding! I didn't even know i HAD hail damage to the siding!

    YEAH

    Sugar :smile:
     
  19. Wonderboy

    Wonderboy New Member

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    Damp is easy to spot, there's a device they're supposed to use...it doesn't sound like you hired a good surveyor. Compain, su, good luck.

    Sounds like you got a fixer upper hehe, itll be worth loads in a few years :smile:
     
  20. wi_sugargrl

    wi_sugargrl New Member

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    :confused: It wasn't supposed to be a fixer upper. But, things are better now. Hopefully I'll have my check early next week!

    Sugar
     
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