Monday, April 23, 2018
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How safe is your home purchase?

It’s been an experience so far trying to get all the bugs worked out on the website.  It seems that we’re up and fully functional now so I’m going to start updating the website on regular basis.

I recently got a question from a gentleman through an online question and answer session.  While the answer was apparent, I wanted to make sure I bring it to your attention so you can avoid such a mistake.

My parents bought a home about 21 months ago now. The thing is when I first saw their house (about 20 years old perhaps), I immediately noticed that there was some fairly significant water damage to the floor and bottom of the corner of the wall next to the bathtub in the bathroom.

There was water damage up to about 6 inches up the wall where the shower head/tub faucets come out from and also a tile on the floor that looked like it was poorly replaced. I told my parents about the problem right away and told them they should bring it up with the seller and my parent’s realtor ASAP to see if they could get some remedy or compensation. But my mother brushed it off and told me it wasn’t a big deal. But throughout the months that I visited them, the problem got progressively worse and now the wall has deteriorated even more and the bottom of the wall has rotted and parts of it have fallen off and as well I see that water has leaked through the floors to the basement and you can see water stains on one of the drop ceiling panels downstairs. And also my parents tell me that now everytime they take a shower or bath, they see a small puddle of water on the floor near the damaged wall.

What I don’t understand is how the realtor my parents hired could have possibly missed the damage in the bathroom in the first place and not advised my parents about it. Also what’s more puzzling is how the home inspector that the realtor recommended to my parents also missed such an obvious problem. I looked through the inspection report and there’s no mention AT ALL of any water damage in the bathroom. This makes me think that my parent’s realtor chose to not mention it or at least played it down and told the home inspector he got my parents to hire to do the same so that the deal would go through without any problems.

I know I should have complained for them sooner instead of relying on them to do something for themselves, but now that almost two years have past, is there still recourse for my parents or are they out of luck now? Has too much time passed for any action to be taken against the realtor or home inspector?

Any help would be much appreciated.

First of all, this is more of a legal question than a REALTOR question about real estate so I asked that they consult with a lawyer to see what all their options are.  Here’s my take on the situation and word of advise on how to avoid this happening to you.

  • You should always have a home inspection completed which was done in this case but a potential issue was missed.  It could be that the issue was fixed by the seller but it came back due to use or it wasn’t even an issue at that point.  It’s hard to pin point if the problem occurred after the close or before.
  • Best way to avoid this situation is to make sure you inspect the property with the home inspector.  Go through everything and don’t by shy to ask questions.  The inspector and REALTOR are there to help protect you from making a bad decision so use their expertise.
  • If you find a problem, make sure it is documented properly by the inspector.  There are a lot of home inspectors that have different ways of documenting issues/conditions.  Please make sure the Home Inspector chosen to do the inspection documents all conditions and doesn’t just report issues.
  • Depending on the problem, you may opt to accept the property or ask the seller to fix the problem for you before you would sign off on the condition.  Home inspectors usually give you a range of market value assessment of how much the repairs would cost but you are suggested to get proper quotes and not rely on these estimates completely.
  • Make sure you re-visit the property to review any repairs that were supposed to be completed before the closing.  This will ensure all work is completed and any deficiencies can be handled before the property title is transferred.

I hope you find the post useful.  Please feel free to comment or tweet our posts.

The contributing factor,

Addy Saeed
Real Estate Sales Representative
Re/max Active Realty Inc., Brokerage