Profile picture for aw hbeach

Why bueyrs shoudl not trust their real estate agents?

  • August 23 2014 - Mission Viejo
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    Profile picture for aw realca
    Yes - I've talked to attorney. They are telling me that it will be year long affair if I want to file a law suit and they quote me price of $30,000 to $40,000 or $50,00 to $60,000 for their involvement. Century 21 Award attorney in response to my letter to [deleted by Zillow moderator.] in which I complained that [deleted by Zillow moderator.] got $18,000 for representing my (buyer) interest - she was a dual broker - told me that since [deleted by Zillow moderator.]commission was paid by the seller, she does not have any  obligations to me for selling me house with the MAJOR, undisclosed water damage. 

    I'm planning to contact Orange County Register since I strongly believe that real estate agent was in collusion with the son of the sellers (they were good friends) and together they've conspired to sell me house with the major damages. 
    [deleted by Zillow moderator.] do not mean anything?
    • August 23 2014
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    Profile picture for aw madru
    Pasedenan

    I do nor use dishwashers. July 4 leak was addressed immediately since I was standing at the kitchen sink when I noticed water on the floor. I've dried out water on the floor and called Home Warranty. 

    I consciously noticed spots on kick boards on July 8 when Home Warranty inspector came to fix the p-trap and at that time I've learned from him that I have  water damage, mold and that all kitchen cabinets on the floor are wet. 

    That started the saga that I clearly in my widest dreams did not expect. Remember that was supposed to be my retirement house I was planning to spent years in. 

    I also did not expect that I would not get absolutely any assistance from the Realtor once I reported problems, after all she has made height="200px" width="250px" 8,000 on this sale and she has spent with me about 5 hours (that doe snot include time spent to generate paperwork, which could be another 5 hours).

    As far as undisclosed water damage (which became visible after dry walls were removed), please note that in a past seller was making repairs to address the problem (one stud is a new(er) stud, although still with the mold damage. 


      
     
    • August 24 2014
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    Profile picture for craigfial
    Very sorry to hear your story and assure you this is not typical of the industry or it's members.  We adhere to the NAR Code of Ethics and by Law are required to disclose all "known" material facts pertaining to the property that may affect the value.

    In this case, you would have to prove the Agent, who was NOT your representative, failed to disclose as well as the seller who is equally if not more liable. 

    I would hope that there is a lesson to others here  to make sure the people they are working with are actually representing them and not the other side.  Agents can act as dual agents with disclosure but the law still applies no matter what side you are on.

    Buyers need to obtain thorough inspections.  Not handyman with screwdriver and ladder to inspect homes.  If there is a hint of mold, an air quality test should be performed before considering further investigations.  I'm certain the air quality test would have found some elevated levels of black mold. 

    I sincerely wish you all the best, and there may be an attorney out there who would take your case on Contingency.  It' appears there may be liability on the seller/agent.
    • August 24 2014
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    Profile picture for Blue Nile
    The more I look at the photos, and the "description" provided of what happened, the more I'm convinced the water damage and mold did NOT exist at time of closing, but were caused by knocking the P-trap loose from under the kitchen sink, and then running the dishwasher every day for over one month before calling a plumber in to fix it.

    This is not the seller's responsibility nor the inspector's responsibility, and you haven't provided sufficient evidence to prove otherwise in court.

    You need to file a claim with your insurance company instead.

    Still the high water pressure in your inspection report is a real concern, and I'm hoping you addressed it by adding a pressure regulator in the incoming water line.  But that would not have all addressed the flood and the mold, as that was caused by a drain line with no pressure, that came apart by hitting it with a trash basket or something.

    (You could have easily put the P-trap back on yourself and tightened the two nuts with a wrench.  You didn't need to call a plumber, and you didn't need to wait for the plumber to come to do something about it.  And people would have smelled the mold during showings if it was as bad as you claim now).  And you previously owned two houses and didn't know about P-traps and the potential for flooding and mold?

    From the info provided so far, you would lose any court case, and would end up needing to pay the seller's and agent's lawyers as well, and may even have a counter suit that you would have to pay damages for libel.
    • August 24 2014
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    This statement "she was a dual broker - told me that since Ms. Holmes commission was paid by the seller, she does not have any  obligations to me" really bothers me. As a Realtor, my obligation is with the person I have the signed contract with. Not with the person who pays me.

    In your case, she was representing both sides which means she really wasn't representing either side. In Maryland, it's illegal for me to have a signed contract with both sides. The only person who can be a dual agent is our broker as all contracts are really held with him and not with the agents. If I do have a signed contract with a buyer and they want to buy one of my listings, I must terminate the buyer's contract and either allow them to proceed unrepresented or have my broker appoint another agent. Regardless, at that point, I know too much that I can never share with my seller so I can't represent my seller in the same capacity as I would someone I knew nothing about.

    I truly don't understand how an inspector missed the pictures you showed. The only way I could see it is if it happened between the time of the inspection and when you moved in. But, that is just too much damage to happen in a short amount of time.
    • August 24 2014
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    Have you reached out to the home inspector?  I would maybe talk to your attorney and maybe go after the home inspector instead.  I do feel sorry for your situation, but are you sure the realtor knew about the mold?  If you and the inspector did not notice it, why are we certain the Realtor did?
    • August 23 2014
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    Profile picture for Blue Nile
    Thanks for sharing.  Yes, every house has some kind of problems, and some worse than others.  And though agents will tell you they are above all that, they don't check, and they are not contractors nor inspectors.  They want you to rely on your own inspector.  But as pointed out, they miss things to.

    Maybe the solution is an agent like Robin?  She'll get sick the minute she walks in the door if there is hidden mold...  But what about some other hidden issues?  There are dozens of other hidden possibilities that are just as expensive to fix and just as difficult to find and track down.
    • August 23 2014
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    Profile picture for aw realca
    I agree. According to what I learned real estate agents are not responsible for anything. They do not need to understand that leaks do happen and they do not need to advise buyers on the prudent steps that should be taken. The seller was plumber, the son of the seller was general contractor certified by state of California. The real estate agent was their friend and she did everything she could to help to off-load house with the major damages on unsuspected buyer.
    This is how kitchen looks today. I'm not allowed to live in this house due to high level of contamination despite that kitchen is surrounded by protective sheets.
    Kitchen cabinets with the signs of the water damage (before cabinets were removed). This water damage was not identified in house inspection report and I did not know enough about water damage to know what that meant (however real estate agent should warn me not to buy the house because behind those benign looking spots there might be a huge mold issue

    Mold under the kitchen sink. Not identified during house inspection

    Streamline technicians start removing kitchen cabinets

    Dry wall under the kitchen cabinets behind the sink

    Mold on the dry wall (now floor level dry walls are removed)
    Contaminated studs
     
    • August 23 2014
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    Profile picture for wetdawgs
    What you are describing is certainly a nightmare, and an excellent example why every buyer should hire an independent superb inspector who will stick her/his nose into everything in addition to doing their own careful inspections (we always find things that the inspector misses).

    It is not an agent's responsibility to have an inspection to confirm the accuracy of the seller's disclosure.   While you seem to be focused on the agent being to blame, a seller filling out a disclosure incorrectly is of concern I consider a seller's disclosure worth little more than the paper it is written on.   We hire inspectors, poke our noses into every drawer, closest, cupboard, attic, under sinks, etc etc. 

    Leaks happen.  That's why many of us check connections routinely.  It could be perfectly fine when inspected, and then a day or a week or a month later start leaking.

    I also worry when a buyer chooses to use the listing agent for their own representation.  That is also choosing to shoot yourself in the foot.  Some are fine, but in general your own representation.is a very good idea.

    I'm sorry you are in this difficult situation, but at the moment it seems like a blitzkrieg of blame.  Your attorney gives you sound advice.

    • August 23 2014
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    Your story keeps getting worse and worse! I truly wish there was something I could do to help you.

    I do wish you all the best in getting it resolved. I would love to hear how this gets settled.
    • August 23 2014
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    What a nightmare!!!! While I can't speak for other agents and I'm not an expert on mold or a home inspector, I can't see how something like that would have been missed. I have asthma so I know I would have been in serious trouble in a house like that. I've told buyers many times that I need to leave a house because I'm about to have an attack and they are usually caused by mold.

    Have you spoken with an attorney? Was there a seller disclosure? In Maryland, a case like that must be disclosed even if the seller opts to disclaim. That would be considered a material defect. Buyers do have ways to get help. I'm not sure about your state, but we have a guarantee fund for anyone who feels they were wronged during the process. (It's a process and each case has to be reviewed.) Every state does have a department of the government that is responsible for overseeing the behavior of those who hold a license and there is also the Board of Realtors.

    I absolutely understand your anger and frustration. But please, don't assume we're all bad.
    • August 23 2014
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    Profile picture for aw hbeach
    Somehow my entry was blanked out.

    I've purchased nice house with beautiful view in Mission Viejo. My agent was[deleted by Zillow moderator.] of [deleted by Zillow moderator.]. After the escrow I've learned that house had a major water and mold damage which was not disclosed during house inspection.
    Today floor level kitchen cabinets and dry walls had to be removed due to mold infestation, the studs are heavily damaged by mold and water. The house contamination is high despite that kitchen is surrounded by plastic sheets. reclamation personnel in the space suits came to remove asbestos and I was told that upper cabinets have to be removed as well. Removal is in progress.

    I've send email to real estate agent who sold me house with the description of the problem, only to receive email from her attorney telling me to "stop harassing" her clients by sending them emails with the list of the problem (house has other problems in addition to mold contamination in the kitchen).

    When I contacted[deleted by Zillow moderator.] asking for help, they told me that they do not get involved with their agents issues.

    The seller and seller son who obtain permits for the kitchen before closure of the escrow do not reply to my registered letters. I'm left on my own with house in which I cannot live and mortgage payment due every 1st of the month. Neither real estate agent not the sellers are responsible for selling me house with the long term water damage that has been hidden from me.

    So buyers, beware. Your real estate broker is not your friend.
    • August 23 2014
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    I'm not sure what has happened but I can assure we the vast majority of us are very trust worthy. I always put my client's needs and well being first.
    • August 23 2014
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