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Realtor lied

Just spent the first two nights in our newly purchased home and we hate it. The house is located roughly 1 mile from a train track crossing, when we were considering purchasing the home (which was new construction) we asked the realtor that was selling the home how frequently the train comes through because we were concerned about the noise. She told us it didn't come by very often only once or twice and just during the day. Well she lied, the train comes through at all times of the day and night. I don't mind during the day, however when the train comes through blaring its whistle 8 times between the hours of 2am-6am and wakes up our newborn this is a huge problem. Can anyone tell me what our rights are. Now that we have closed on the house I am not sure what we could do if we could do anything g at all. The realtor had to have known that the train goes by at all hours because they have built every home in our neighborhood, so I'm sure we are not the first to have a problem with it. However we specifically told her and our own agent when we were looking at the house that two of the most important things in our home were privacy and quiet. , we never would have bought this house had we known this information.
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September 03 2013 - US
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Absolutely unbelievable.
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September 04 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Just as "reference material"... we used to have a freight train route though the city, that also handled interstate passenger traffic... about 2 to 4 trains would go through per day... but Union Pacific and Amtrak abandoned the line, routing the trains through other cities instead...  and California's Metropolitan Transportation Authority bought the right of way, tore out the single set of tracks, widened bridges, and put in two sets of "welded track" for an "electric" commuter train system (with overhead power lines), with a schedule of "every 15 minutes" both directions.

The residents were "up in arms", including adjacent cities... regarding the potential noise, additional traffic backup, and safety at crossings, especially people that lived within 4 blocks of a crossing (0.4 miles).

The city promised to integrate the automated traffic lights with the railway crossing gates, to keep the traffic from backing up, which was impossible due to the close distance of the gates to major intersections.  They eventually solved that problem by making sure that traffic crossing the tracks clears before the signals change, and having personnel closely monitor cameras to alter signal timing and signal changes to keep traffic from backing up.  It still doesn't address the safety, but they put in pedestrian gates in addition to 4 traffic gates at crossings, and time them to help clear vehicles of the tracks.  And the train operators are supposed to watch for items on the tracks while driving, but it still hasn't stopped major accidents in other cities.

But the "noise"?  Welded tracks help some.  Electric motors instead of diesel help some.  Putting most of the route down the center of the freeway helps a lot.  But that didn't address gate bells, and train horns, and platform speaker systems.  But what did help those was electronic directional bells and horns.  Yes, you can still hear the gate bells 4 blocks away, but less than 30 db.  Yes, you can hear the horn a couple blocks away from the train if in front of the train, but not a couple blocks to the side of the train nor behind the train.

If the area is becoming substantially a residential community, it may be possible to get the train authority and city to work out a compromise to replace the existing horns and bells.  It is at least worth a try if you are still there 6 months from now and the noise is still bothering you.
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September 04 2013
Profile picture for hpvanc
OP you do need to check with an attorney, personally I doubt you have any recourse on this. I also think there is a civic obligation here, one that Mack would very much like for you to ignore, and does not even want discussed.
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September 04 2013
Profile picture for Dunes ..
Correction
"What is your reaction/feedback to the input from the Zillow Regulars Mack (Realtor) & hpvanc (non-Realtor/Agent)"

Should have been ..
the Zillow Regulars Mack (Realtor) & hpvanc (non-Realtor/non-Agent)

Apologies
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September 04 2013
Profile picture for Dunes ..
user/OP


Perhaps the difference of opinion between the Zillow "Regulars" Mack & hpvanc has provided some food for thought? ....or perhaps not?

I'm curious..
What is your reaction/feedback to the input from the Zillow Regulars Mack (Realtor) & hpvanc (non-Realtor/Agent) and/or the other Agents input?


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September 04 2013
hpvanc, I hope you're getting physical therapy for overswinging on this.

You know better than this. Our homeowner needs to obtain legal advise as to what their remedies might be in court, and it would require an action of the court to take action against anybody.

Now sit down and behave yourself. You're acting foolish.
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September 03 2013
Profile picture for hpvanc
Okay Mack, what recourse does the OP and the other buyers in that subdivision have against their agents for misrepresenting, or helping the developers agent misrepresent, the overnight train schedule? Noise mitigation may help, however if they are extremely sensitive to noise it may not make it satisfactory. Is there any way they can force the agent(s) to make up their losses if they find they can't tolerate it and move?

If and when they do move, isn't it better that they go in with their eyes wide open to how "buyer's" agency really works so they don't make this mistake again? What can they do to help prevent their family, friends, and in the distant future their newborn from getting caught in the same trap?

The OP specifically told their agent that they had to have a quiet neighborhood. A lot of people aren't bothered by train noise at that distance, I live a little closer than that to a very active track and it doesn't bother me, but I know people who would be bothered. The OP was trying to buy well, their own agent/salesperson was apparently a liability rather than an asset, and the system was at much at fault as the individual agent.
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September 03 2013
Well, hijacker, I'm not trying to adjudicate this here, I'm trying to help this person.

I'm thinking that if there are several homeowners with the exact same problem, they might find a better solution together than separately.

If you have a better idea, I know they'd love to see it.
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September 03 2013
It's unfortunate you don't like the house you just purchased.  If you specified to the realtor your desire to have a quiet, private area, then he/she should of made sure that is what you got.  sorry, you didn't have a good experience with your realtor.
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September 03 2013
Profile picture for hpvanc
My apologies for derailing your thread user0496759.

So Mack, then your conclusion is the "buyer's" agent is not supposed to add any value by providing due diligence services for the buyer? The OP seems to indicate that they specified "privacy and quiet" to their agent. Why use a "buyer's" agent if they don't assist you with due diligence that includes uncovering misrepresentations by the seller (in this case a developer) and listing agent? We don't even know that the developer's agent misrepresented the train schedule to unrepresented buyer's, what we do know is that the OP's agent chose to act as a stereotypical salesperson instead of a buyer's representative. She collected her commission at least partially based on selling a misrepresentation to the party she was contractually obligated to. This seems to be a very common problem, yet it is extremely unlikely the so called "buyer's" agent did anything explicitly illegal or that the buyer has recourse for under the current system.
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September 03 2013
hpvanc, that really doesn't have anything to do with the problem that this homeowner is having. The people in this development who bought directly from the "site agent" as customers, rather than represented buyers, share this problem. 
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September 03 2013
Profile picture for hpvanc
I don't know what state you are in, but I suspect that if you review your purchase agreement, you will find that the "buyer's" agent is actually listed as the Selling Agent and compensated as a sub-agent of the Listing Agent. You will also note on your HUD-1 statement that the "buyer's" agent was paid on commission from the sellers proceeds, like a salesperson.

You got lucky the on your 1st two purchases, unfortunately you didn't this time. This time the school of hard knocks is giving you a real life lesson on the realities of what the real estate industry euphemistically  refers to as "buyer's" agency. You now know caveat emptor refers as much to the services of a Realtor® as it is with the property itself, if not more. Your Realtor® got you to close a deal, as a salesperson they did what they consider their job to be.

Yes you were mislead, but the real fraud was that a commissioned salesperson was allowed to misrepresent themselves as a buyer's representative in the 1st place.  A true Buyer's Representative is pretty close to being the polar opposite of a commissioned salesperson. I suggest that you also complain to your state's real estate authority about allowing such a fraudulent version of "buyer's" agency to exist.
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September 03 2013
   One mile sounds far away. contact the train line and request that they keep it quiet in the residential area from midnight to 7am.  Have the City pass an ordinance so the train respects quiet hours in residential area.  Triple pane windows are expensive but may help if the city does not.
First and foremost, you should have looked into the train yourself. My opinion, your agent also failed you a bit.  Its called looking out for your clients best interests because  That's who you represent.  You should be pissed. sorry
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September 03 2013
Profile picture for Pasadenan
As they say, "buyer beware"... the railway tracks are on the maps, and all trains are known to make noise.  The Realtors don't call it "lying", they call it "marketing" and "puffery".

There is no standard for intermittent noise measurements, and no place to put such issues on disclosure statements.

It is not call "lying" if it is pure ignorance.

Realtors are not responsible for checking anything, and have standard disclaimers to avoid all liability.

As wetdawgs pointed out, your best option may be to replace all windows with triple pane.  Or possibly add a white noise generator, such as a fountain out front (or back, depending on the direction of the noise source).

Or, maybe tell your Realtor and broker that you will sue them for $600k and tie them up in court for the next 3 years if they don't get your house sold for you in 30 days entirely at their expense.

Actually, it is entirely likely that in the next 60 days you will become so accustom to the noise that none of you will hear it, not even the child, as you will all tune it out.
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September 03 2013
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My husband is very upset with our agent that represented us because we feel that these were things she should have brought to our attention and/or further researched for us. We relocated from another part of the country so had no knowledge of the area. We looked at homes for 3 months with the realtor, so she was well aware of what we were looking for. She made a significant amount of money on the sale (a $600,000 home) so one would think she would have really helped with researching if this was a good choice for us. This is our third home buying experience and the worst thus far :(
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September 03 2013
We cannot speak to your legal rights, 049x, but it may be worth contacting an attorney - you know what? Maybe go around and see if any of your neighbors feel similarly misled, and THEN see whether you might have some recourse.

All the best,
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September 03 2013
I agree with all of the responses.  The responsibility is the buyer's as the train noise is undefined and not a material feature of the property.  As a buyer you should be informed to investigate all features of the property especially those that are most important to you.

The listing agent is selling the property and will only disclose what they know.  The information you should trust will come from your agent and your own evaluation.  For instance, I always tell people with a concern over water infiltration in the basement to view the property during or directly after a rain storm.

I hope this helps and you find a suitable solution to your issue.  Best of luck.
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September 03 2013
I'm very sorry to hear your disappointment with the new home. You should be excited. 

Unfortunately, I doubt there is any liability on the agent.  Generally when people ask me about noise, or other concerns, I direct them to people who have better knowledge.  In the case of train schedules, I'm sure the agent did not have one in their briefcase.

I also tell people, come to the property at different times of the day and night.  During the day, many people are working so streets are quiet and not much activity.  At night and weekends that can change quite a bit.

I've had people ask me how many children live in the community. How would I possibly know how many kids there are unless I knock on every door and ask.

Airport noise is also something people ask about.  I'm not the FAA, so I don't keep track of flights or landing directions, yet, people ask me about noise from the airport.

I would recommend voicing your complaint to the agent and their broker, so that in the future, when questions come up that they may not be absolutely clear on, direct people to the correct resources.
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September 03 2013
Profile picture for wetdawgs
I'm sorry you are having this issue in your new home.  Quiet and privacy are both features that are hard to define, so the buyer carries a lot of responsibility in assessing these characteristics to their own satisfaction.

What you are describing, assessment of noise level, is ultimately the buyer's responsibility.   There are many steps a noise sensitive individual can take before purchasing:  visiting at all hours of the day and night, talk with neighbors, getting information on the train schedule etc.

Of course you can talk with an attorney.   Do you have the agent's assessment of train frequency in writing?

Some of your options now:  keep the windows closed and install triple paned windows,  landscape for sound buffering, window treatments for sound buffering, white noise machine in the baby's room and many other possibilities. 

I hope you find a workable solution to enjoy your new home.



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September 03 2013
 
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