...A woman who lived in Michigan was selling a house in
Tampa that belonged to her mother who recently moved to a nursing home. Since the
daughter had never lived in the house, she was unaware of any problems with the property when she listed it with a local real estate agent.
Within a few months, an offer was made contingent on the buyer’s home inspection. During the inspection, a leak was found at the base of the toilet in the second, seldom-used, bathroom. Because most
buyer’s inspections take place as close as possible to the closing, the
seller had no time to shop for a plumber to cure the problem. She was told that the leak had damaged the floor and the repairs would cost $3,500.
She reluctantly agreed to lower the sale price of the house by $3,500 to expedite the sale.
If she knew what defects were present, prior to the property
being listed, she would have reaped an enormous benefit.
There may have been disappointment knowing the toilet was leaking, but no last minute hysteria or regret. No deal about to go sour.
She could have taken the time to shop around for the best price to fix the leak, and replace the floor, if that is, in fact, what had to happen.
Her pre-sale inspection report would have been cleaned up to reflect the repair.
She would have met the full disclosure requirements, and the transaction
could go forward as planned.
...While conducting an inspection for a buyer of a new home (less than a year old) a water stain was noticed on the wall behind the draperies in the living room. The seller said he never noticed the stain and didn't think there was a leak at all. This may have been true because the stain was on a white, textured wall and was only evident when the light hit it a certain way.
Never the less, there was no water line behind the wall nor a water line
located above the ceiling, the only answer seemed to be a roof leak. The
mystery was this; it had not rained in more than three weeks and our moisture meter indicated that
the area behind the drywall was damp.
Luckily, while we were there, the sprinkler system went on. We could hear the water hitting the side of the house where the stain was located. On closer inspection, we saw water from the sprinkler head shooting up directly under a loose shingle. From there it worked its way down the interior wall.
The point is, when a seller learns of a problem in advance of the
buyer's offer, he can choose either to fix or disclose. When a problem is found right before closing, like this one was, disclosure is not an option any more. The
seller was put in the unpleasant position of renegotiating the price of the house.
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