By Kay Wilson-Bolton
President, Ventura County Coastal Assn of REALTORS®
October 15, 2000
Everyone home has its own personality…the squeaks, the groanings and the special twist of the knob that makes the door open easily. Such traits are not usually discovered until after the close of escrow.
Whether or not they are considered defects is often a debatable issue and likely these examples are not considered to be defects. However, the lines blur when the new owners discover that the gutters don’t drain and water runs into the patio and under the sliding door; the sprinklers don’t work, the water heater begins to fail or the roof miraculously begins to leak after the first rain.
Owners have a duty to disclose material defects and red flags to potential buyers and buyers have the right to rely on them.
Some of these problems can be covered by the various home protection or warranty plans. The cost of the plan is negotiated during the sale process. Buyers become responsible for calling the 800-service number and for the $35 to $50 deductible fee.
Sadly, some buyers have called their favorite service company or tried to fix it themselves only to discover that the policy does not cover the work. It is a requirement of the policy that their service providers are dispatched to the job.
The “as is” clause is a common method of sale. It means, what you see is what you get, with the caveat that the seller is required by law to tell you about things you don’t see.
It is not uncommon for sellers to view some items as normal and not troublesome. This becomes problematic after the closing when the buyers decide it is more than a casual oversight.
When such situations occur, you are urged to contact the seller directly or continue to work through your agent or REALTOR®. Sellers should be given the first chance to correct a problem and satisfy their buyers’ concerns.
Most sellers would prefer to resolve the issue without legal proceedings and most purchase contracts provide the means for settling disputes through arbitration.
Your REALTOR® will want to help correct problems and soften this potential for dispute. The best approach is to let your REALTOR® guide you and it is always possible that you will need legal advice from a qualified professional.
When buying or selling your next home, choose a REALTOR® . There is a difference and you can benefit. For more information, contact Kay Runnion, Interim CEO, Ventura County Coastal Assn of REALTORS® at 981.2100. Our website is http://www.vc-realtors.com