Profile picture for aw realca

Dishonest real estate agent

I've bought house in Mission Viejo. The real estate agent [deleted by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy for posting guidelines]was agent for seller and myself (she did not allow me to have my own agent). There was conflict of interest in that she was focused on getting her seller the best deal. The house inspector who was selected by her did not found any problems. After close of sale I found of $15,000 water damage to kitchen cabinets that was hidden from me (since I have asthma I was concerned about any pipe leaks and water damage to property). The damage was not identified in house inspection report. What are my options at this time. I've asked seller who made $530,000 net profit on the property to cover the cost of the repairs. but I do not know seller address and responses form real estate agent I'm receiving are that I should talk to home warranty (they cover only up to $1,000 oer damage). What are my options; shoudl I sue them? I also want to warn other buyers about dishonest real esatte agent and her team .
  • July 10 2014 - US
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Answers (6)

Profile picture for Blue Nile
Interesting; the other thread states 7/8/14 the plumber came to repair the P-trap came that off and reported at that time there was mold at the back of the cabinet under the kitchen sink; AND that all the cabinets at floor level were damp...

How could it have been told to the new owner on 7/8/14, and not mentioned in this thread on 7/8/14?  And another thread states it took 3 days from the time of calling until the plumber came.  She also stated she "dried" all the water; which couldn't be done as it ran "under" the cabinets and flowed to under the dishwasher as well.

And she claimed she only ran the dishwasher once since purchase, and that that occurred after the P-trap was put back on.

We are clearly not getting the full time table of the events that occurred.  Some of the mold at the back of the kitchen sink cabinet appears to have existed prior to the sale, so it appears that the home inspector would have noticed those after sliding out the two drawer items under the sink in order to check the shut-off valves and connections for the dishwasher and garbage disposal.
  • September 01 2014
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Profile picture for Blue Nile
Thread posted over a month after the sale; prior to the P-trap issue, prior to the "flood", prior to all that mold growing.

"Hidden" in the sense of "at back of cabinets" and at base of cabinets (kick-boards).  But not really "hidden"; available to be seen if someone was looking for it.

The bigger issue is the vent pipe for the kitchen drain that was removed in 1993 with a building addition that didn't get a permit until 2013.  This is what caused a lot of the past issues, and what has now caused almost the entire kitchen to be gutted.  All the drywall on the north (exterior) wall needs to be replaced, and the drywall at the east of the kitchen sink needs to be replaced.

This doesn't make the agent "dishonest"; the agent obviously had no clue either.

And if the seller knew about the missing vent pipe, it would have been fixed 20 years ago instead constantly dealing with an annoyance.

So though although no drywall was removed before July 10 when the thread was created, a lot of water-logged moldy drywall has been removed now.
  • September 01 2014
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I would talk to an attorney, and I'd also be careful about dragging the agent's name through the mud in public WITHOUT your attorney's support.

From what I read, it seems as if your complaint is that the inspector missed $15,000 in damages, and you blame the agent because she recommended the agent, and you also fault her for representing herself as a dual agent when she was actually the seller's agent.

Real estate agents have a duty of honesty to all parties in a transaction, regardless of who they represent.

Can a listing agent "make you" use them in the transaction? In my opinion, the seller must provide written consent, as part of the listing agreement, in order for the agent to require that "you can't get your own agent," which really means, she'll only split the commission with the agent that actually shows the property. There is nothing to prevent buyers from getting their own agent, as long as they are willing to pay their own agent separately.

As Tim points out, inspectors are limited to a visual inspection of whatever is accessible. They are not allowed to damage the property in any way, and if there was a water leak behind the cabinets, I think you'd have to demonstrate that the leak was readily discernable by a capable inspector with "ordinary" effort.

Fifteen thousand is a decent chunk of change, so I think it's worth talking to an attorney at a cost of a few hundred dollars.

All the best,

  • July 10 2014
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Profile picture for craigfial
Sorry to hear about your experience.  Unfortunately most buyers are unaware of the "Agency" rules.  If a Realtor has a contract to list a sellers home, they have a fiduciary responsibility to their (seller) client.  You as a buyer have NO contractual  relationship with the Realtor.  The agent is working as a Transaction Broker meaning she is working for commissions not you.

I try to educate people everyday about how Realtors should be doing business.  If you are a buyer working with a Realtor, you should have a Buyers Agency Agreement with them. This protects your relationship and ensures they are contractually obligated to work in your best interests.  The ABR Designation  (Accredited Buyers Agent) is a desigation issued to Realtors who have gone through a very intense course in how to work with buyers.

Back to your situation. If the seller was aware of the condition, there could be liability if they did not disclose it, and the Realtor may also be liable if they were also aware.
The inspection company probably has the least liability.  Their contracts basically state the maximum liability is what you paid for the inspection.  You can file a claim against them for that money.  Read the agreement and seek legal counsel.

I recommend being careful of what you state online.  If you make inaccurate statements you may be liable for damages to the Realtor or Real Estate Company for false remarks.

Good luck.  I hope it works out for you.
  • July 10 2014
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Profile picture for Outer Banks N C
You blame the agent for a lot of your errors and misconceptions. You had a home inspection done, so obviously any damage you found must have required removing sheet rock and an inspector can't do that. You said she would not allow you to have another agent. ok........????
  • July 10 2014
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
You will need to talk with a real estate attorney.     Good luck.
  • July 10 2014
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