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Nightmare First Home Purchase

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M

moneypit

Guest
Bought first home in Oct. 2000, in Wisconsin. ASHI inspector said basement looked dry, and did not use a moisture meter. He did not check for rotting wood on the exterior. He said to re-grade, to patch the gutters in a few spots, and to paint the west side of the house. The gutters are actually leaking and rusting in many spots and need replacing, and the whole house needs re-caulking on the exterior, mildew removal from the cedar siding, and to be repainted. He neglected to put in his report that the floor behind the powder room toilet was badly warped and stained from tank condensation dripping on it, due to a bad toilet flapper. (House was vacant, and dripping was not occurring when offer was made... but we could see it had once been damaged. After offer was accepted, we came back and found it dripping and had to have realtor ask seller to shut off the water to it). We were not warned about things that can happen as a result of water damage (mold, for instance)The inspector only said "well, it was dripping once but it's all dry now and looks fine.. it's probably ok" or something along that line. I have recently pulled away a strip of molding from behind that toilet and found mildew growing behind it. We are afraid to pull up the floor around it now, for what we might find.

We are finding all kinds of problems and expenses now. Many wood storm window frames are rotting and need repair. Dry rot around the whole base of the front door unit and sidelites... it needs to be replaced also, because the builder failed to caulk around the base where wood meets concrete stoop. The house is 10 years old and had never been stained again since the construction, and we were told recently by a contractor that it looks as if it may not have been primed first. We live on a heavily wooded lot, so moisture is a problem with so much wood. These things were not noted in the inspection and I doubt it only took the 5 months that we owned the home, for rot and mildew to form. The estimates we are getting to have re-grading done start at $2000 and all have said that a drainage swale needs to be constructed since we are built into a hill, and there is improper drainage. A different inspector we hired recently to help address moisture problems tells us there is active seepage in the concrete basement blocks. He says there may be possible drain tile failure from the nature of the stains around the floor line in the basement. There is a strange odor coming from an outlet, in order to investigate it, the drywall needs to be cut away. On the exterior of the house, where the cedar siding on the main body of the house meets the garage roof, a gap was not left between siding and shingles, so the siding is soaking up rain water. We have been told by professionals to have the siding taken off and cut off then put back on. It can't be cut in place or it will cut into the flashing, which has been put behind it. We found a storm window missing, contrary to the disclosure, and had to tape plastic over the window until we found the frame up on the garage rafter. (Inspector missed this also). The tile above the bathtub faucet was caved in and the seller tried to put it back into place with some caulk, but then indicates no previous water damage on the disclosure. (How can they say that when it is clear the tiles are caved in???) There are 16 other obvious contradictions to the disclosure. They even took the smoke detectors after the sale and left the brackets behind.

We are getting estimates for the repairs and although we expected to have to fix some things, this is going to cost a fortune and turned our first homebuying experience into an extreme disappointment and a financial nightmare. We talked to an attorney who said that we could possibly have a claim against the seller about the disclosure, but only if we can prove they lied, which he said would be difficult and very expensive. The real estate agent we worked with basically has turned her back on us and says she is sorry but can't do anything. She says she's never heard of a home inspector using a moisture meter. The sump was not working at the time of the sale, and when we asked her if we could have the seller pay for a new one, she shook her head no. When we asked if we could have the seller clean the food off the built in cutting board, she said we shouldn't do that, it would embarass the seller! Later discussions with realtors have of course enlightened us to the fact that we could have negotiated anything.

We want to move as soon as the two years are up in order to avoid capital gains.... because this house has drained us emotionally and financially, and the whole experience has been awful... and now are liable to disclose everything we can't afford to fix (and we will disclose things.) Hopefully we will find a buyer who likes to fix things up because aside from the problems it is a lovely house. Is there anything we can do? We weren't even offered a home warranty from the real estate agent. In our state, they work for the seller, so I was told... so her interests were with them from the beginning.

The attorney I spoke with almost seemed to side with the seller... grin and everything. I have posted on other forums and have been told by so many people that we shouldn't have to accept this... but every professional we talk to about it says that there's nothing we can do. The board of realtors for Wisconsin said they only take complaints from realtors, not buyers, and told me to complain about the inspector. But the attorney says the inspector is only liable for the dollar amount of the inspection. Something tells us we just basically got raked over the coals. All I can say is we will never buy a pre-owned home ever again.

 


HomeGuru

Senior Member
moneypit said:
Bought first home in Oct. 2000, in Wisconsin. ASHI inspector said basement looked dry, and did not use a moisture meter. He did not check for rotting wood on the exterior. He said to re-grade, to patch the gutters in a few spots, and to paint the west side of the house. The gutters are actually leaking and rusting in many spots and need replacing, and the whole house needs re-caulking on the exterior, mildew removal from the cedar siding, and to be repainted. He neglected to put in his report that the floor behind the powder room toilet was badly warped and stained from tank condensation dripping on it, due to a bad toilet flapper. (House was vacant, and dripping was not occurring when offer was made... but we could see it had once been damaged. After offer was accepted, we came back and found it dripping and had to have realtor ask seller to shut off the water to it). We were not warned about things that can happen as a result of water damage (mold, for instance)The inspector only said "well, it was dripping once but it's all dry now and looks fine.. it's probably ok" or something along that line. I have recently pulled away a strip of molding from behind that toilet and found mildew growing behind it. We are afraid to pull up the floor around it now, for what we might find.

We are finding all kinds of problems and expenses now. Many wood storm window frames are rotting and need repair. Dry rot around the whole base of the front door unit and sidelites... it needs to be replaced also, because the builder failed to caulk around the base where wood meets concrete stoop. The house is 10 years old and had never been stained again since the construction, and we were told recently by a contractor that it looks as if it may not have been primed first. We live on a heavily wooded lot, so moisture is a problem with so much wood. These things were not noted in the inspection and I doubt it only took the 5 months that we owned the home, for rot and mildew to form. The estimates we are getting to have re-grading done start at $2000 and all have said that a drainage swale needs to be constructed since we are built into a hill, and there is improper drainage. A different inspector we hired recently to help address moisture problems tells us there is active seepage in the concrete basement blocks. He says there may be possible drain tile failure from the nature of the stains around the floor line in the basement. There is a strange odor coming from an outlet, in order to investigate it, the drywall needs to be cut away. On the exterior of the house, where the cedar siding on the main body of the house meets the garage roof, a gap was not left between siding and shingles, so the siding is soaking up rain water. We have been told by professionals to have the siding taken off and cut off then put back on. It can't be cut in place or it will cut into the flashing, which has been put behind it. We found a storm window missing, contrary to the disclosure, and had to tape plastic over the window until we found the frame up on the garage rafter. (Inspector missed this also). The tile above the bathtub faucet was caved in and the seller tried to put it back into place with some caulk, but then indicates no previous water damage on the disclosure. (How can they say that when it is clear the tiles are caved in???) There are 16 other obvious contradictions to the disclosure. They even took the smoke detectors after the sale and left the brackets behind.

We are getting estimates for the repairs and although we expected to have to fix some things, this is going to cost a fortune and turned our first homebuying experience into an extreme disappointment and a financial nightmare. We talked to an attorney who said that we could possibly have a claim against the seller about the disclosure, but only if we can prove they lied, which he said would be difficult and very expensive. The real estate agent we worked with basically has turned her back on us and says she is sorry but can't do anything. She says she's never heard of a home inspector using a moisture meter. The sump was not working at the time of the sale, and when we asked her if we could have the seller pay for a new one, she shook her head no. When we asked if we could have the seller clean the food off the built in cutting board, she said we shouldn't do that, it would embarass the seller! Later discussions with realtors have of course enlightened us to the fact that we could have negotiated anything.

We want to move as soon as the two years are up in order to avoid capital gains.... because this house has drained us emotionally and financially, and the whole experience has been awful... and now are liable to disclose everything we can't afford to fix (and we will disclose things.) Hopefully we will find a buyer who likes to fix things up because aside from the problems it is a lovely house. Is there anything we can do? We weren't even offered a home warranty from the real estate agent. In our state, they work for the seller, so I was told... so her interests were with them from the beginning.

The attorney I spoke with almost seemed to side with the seller... grin and everything. I have posted on other forums and have been told by so many people that we shouldn't have to accept this... but every professional we talk to about it says that there's nothing we can do. The board of realtors for Wisconsin said they only take complaints from realtors, not buyers, and told me to complain about the inspector. But the attorney says the inspector is only liable for the dollar amount of the inspection. Something tells us we just basically got raked over the coals. All I can say is we will never buy a pre-owned home ever again.

My response: I do not respond to posts this long but made an exception this time.

It is clear that you got taken for a ride by the Seller, the real estate agents and the home inspector. Home inspectors are not require to use moisture detectors but are required to follow the ASHI standards of practice. http://www.ashi.com It is obvious that the home inspection was not complete and that there were numerous errors due to imcompetence and negligence. There may be a limitation of liability clause in the home inspection agreement, but that clause will not protect the inspector from gross negligence and incompetence. Sue the inspector or file arbitration and force his (if he has any) errors and ommissions insurance to pay out.

You can file suit against the Seller and agents, but it will be costly.

The Board of Realtors is full of BS. A consumer can indeed file a complaint against a Realtor member, especially if that member represented you. http://www.realtor.com
In addition, you can also file a regulalory complaint against the licensed agent with the State.

Lastly, please have the mold tested to make sure it is not "stacky" the toxic mold. If it is, move out of the home.
 
D

dman6666

Guest
I don't know if you've considered it, but, I had a similar (albeit much less) experience when I purchased my home. My first mistake was not going through the house with the inspector, I trusted them--and my realtor (that was the second mistake).

Anyway, the inspector did NOT notice that there was water damage in the master bathroom which caused the tiles to bow out and had damaged some drywall behind the toilet. When I moved in I just thought it was poor construction.

I didn't notice myself it was a problem until about a year later when the drywall was really getting bad -- rotting away. I had a problem with a hose bursting to the washing machine which sprayed out the garage and damaged the drywall in there so I called my insurance company on that. I asked the agent to check out the bathroom while he was there. He said it was covered and explained that it was likely a leaking showerpan.

My saving grace was that I had purchased the homeowners insurance which covered the water damage. Because the inspection had not caught it, it was NOT a pre-existing condition, and they paid for some of the repair.

You MAY have some recourse via your insurance company, it's worth a call. I would warn that each problem area would likely be considered a different claim (the garage and the bathroom were separate for me) so you'd have multiple deductables, but, it may be worth loosing your policy (from making too many claims) if you can get most of the damage covered.

Good Luck.

 
M

moneypit

Guest
Thanks

Thanks for that suggestion. Actually we are in the process right now of having insurance work done to the roof/attic/gutter from an ice dam this winter, so the adjustor is quite handy at the moment. Worth a shot. Thanks again.
 

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