Profile picture for user5132399

How can I get over bad feelings created by a sellers very inaccurate listing?

Original listing claims of: new roof, 5 yr. old furnace, re-wired, and .45 acres have fallen one by one to: 7 yr. old roof, 13 yr. old furnace, partially rewired, and 0.23 acres.  Shame on me for assuming these things were true and concentrating on other aspects of the property during the buying process.

I feel like I can't get straight answers now because the seller "has a back-up offer".  For example after the inspection when the furnace age was discovered I was told that they think "maybe that was just an error."

I'm still willing to pay the agreed price, it's just that all of these inaccuracies to get over have taken a lot of the joy away from what could have been a very enjoyable experience.
  • April 26 2012 - Auburn
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Answers (9)

Profile picture for sunnyview
I understand the let down. I've been there in the past myself. You have to try to put your emotions aside and evaluate the house the way it really is not the way it was listed. Your offer was initially made based on those representations, so only you can decide what the house is really worth to you after the inspection.

You shouldn't let the idea of a back up offer press you into overpaying either. Look at the inspection and consider asking for credits for the items that have been found to be less than represented. There is a big difference between a 5 year furnace vs 13 year furnace, a new vs 7 year old roof and .45 vs .23 acre lot.

Only you can decide what to do, but you have to sort out if the house you made an offer on is the same one you are in escrow with today. If it is, try to let that stuff go, if not you need to reconsider or renegotiate.
  • April 26 2012
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Profile picture for user5132399
Thanks so much for your reply.  We did try what you've suggested in asking for credits.  The seller responded that they did not want to provide credits and also did not want to fix anything (because of the back-up offer).

The story is that the seller panicked when they either saw or heard about the inspection report and pulled the sale pending sign.  A person then knocked on her door and she showed them around and I assume pointed out items identified during the inspection.  The person then made the back up offer from their agent to the listing agent.

I suspect that the back up offer is for the same price to which we agreed but with no inspection contingencies.  A 3 day extension for the closing date had to be signed so she could have backed out if the back up was significanIlty better.

I guess it's the "letting that stuff go" that I'm struggling with.  Really I think just a "I'm sorry for the lousy listing" from the listing agen would probably make me feel better but I don't think we'll get it.

  • April 26 2012
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I hear you and agree that the listing agent should step up if it was an error. Agents deal with a lot of listings and honestly some do not go beyond what the owner says in their disclosure form. On the other hand, if you feel that the listing was intentionally dishonest, I would contact the listing agent's Board about the bad practice you feel happened.

If it's the house you want and the price is fair, then you look at what you are getting at the end of escrow. It's like big event like a wedding gone awry at the beginning where the cake is late and it's pouring rain, but you get the I do's done and get a story to tell that gets better as time goes on. Sounds cheesy, but look at the final outcome may help you move forward.
  • April 26 2012
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Unfortunately, your only option is to either buy or walk away; however, your problem happens more than you think.  Maybe future buyers will see this and realize to look closer at the home before you place an offer and/or have an agent that has a homebuilding background.  Taking a little time in the beginning can save you time and hard ache.

Another quick solution for your case is buy a home warranty at closing.  These are very cheap and would cover the cost of replacing these items.  Make sure that it is a good policy and check the exclusions.
  • April 26 2012
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
warranties don't buy you "new roofs" at no cost!.  They are "prorated".

Figure the Roof cost $12k, and that it is a 30 year roof, with 7 years already used.  That is 23%.  That means take $2800 off the value.

Figure the Furnace cost $5k, and that it's life expectancy is about 30 years.  With 5 years already use, that means take $833 off the value.

Figure that the land for a lot in the area is worth about 10% of the structure value.  Maybe about $60k per acre.  0.45 acres would place it at about $27k.  0.23 acres would place it at about $13.8k.  Difference is about $13.2k.

(It is highly unlikely that they priced the "list price" for acreage that wasn't there.  They would have done "comparables" to arrive at the list price).

Total difference between what you thought you were buying and what is really offered?  About $16.8k.

If you subtract that from your offer, what is presently on the market that you can buy in that price range?  How much is your time worth if you "start over"?

Yes, some "agents" get away with a lot, with that "deemed reliable, not responsible" clause.  You need to look beyond that, and just do the price comparison shopping like you would do for anything else.  And remember if you didn't verify it, it may not be what they said, as they likely didn't verify it either.

Also consider, if you put in a loan funding contingency, it will require an appraisal to come in at purchase price or higher.  So if it is not worth what you offered, you have another opportunity to re-negotiate or back out, but you would have to pay for the appraisal.  Right now, you likely only need to pay for the inspection.
  • April 26 2012
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Profile picture for user5132399
Thanks Pasadenan and Carlhawt for your replies.  The house did appraise for than we are paying.  The next time I look at a house I'll verify everything that's claimed first and then move on to look at the rest of the property.

At this point it isn't worth the time, energy, and money to start over.  We looked for 2 years before deciding that this house was the one to move on.  We're going to close on the house and take sonnyview's advice to view it in light of her wedding analogy.

I won't go as far as reporting the listing agent, but if the opportunity presents I may talk to her about it at the closing.
  • April 26 2012
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
What you do is up to you. I do know if I went to buy a car that I was told only had 75,000 miles on it and it had 76,000 miles I would not object. It was probably driven some before I got there. BUT if I was told a car had 75,000 miles on it and when I looked at it there was 150,000 miles on it I would never offer anything close to the original price. I might even walk away because it was not as it was represented.

If you agreed to buy a house that had a lot of wear you were not told about you can either choose to offer lower, forget the whole thing, or just pay more than you wanted to based on its condition being worse than you were told.

I would probably be ticked off enough to just walk away and then file a complaint. I would probably also talk to the broker at that  office and make a complaint in person with the agent present. Your choice can be very different.

Is it worth the price knowing the facts are different or not? If you say no then make the change in offer amount or walk away completely. If yes, just offer what you wish to and enjoy.
  • April 26 2012
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
We are dealing with "feelings" here and those take a while to heal.  The Property Disclosure is completed by the sellers not the listing agents, that way whatever the seller writes on the form, is what he knows about the property to the best of his knowledge.  The information regarding the size of the lot is obtained by the listing agent from city records at the assessor's office. As you can see the blame of the chain of innacurracies can be split between the seller and the listing agent.  Life is too short to waste energy on things you cannot control at this moment.  If the innacurracies are difficult to live with, then walk away and if they are not, move on, but whatever you do, "choose" to enjoy your new purchase if you move forward. 
  • April 26 2012
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While I am not of the Faith, I do think that the Serenity Prayer offers good guidance for situations like this. You can't control other people, and you can't rely on other people to make you happy - the agent apologizing, whatever.

I would like to suggest that while the TSA has made air travel a major hassle, it doesn't have to ruin your vacation; just because the transaction has been a hassle doesn't mean you can't enjoy living in the home once it's yours.

All the best,
  • April 26 2012
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