- Episode 5 -
I started to write this week’s blog about a totally different topic when something happened so out of the ordinary that I had to share it. As the saying goes “if walls could talk, the stories they could tell.”
This week’s “walls” could speak volumes!
While showing a potential buyer some properties in a nearby county, we stumbled upon the most pristine development I had seen in years. The homes were perfect, right out of a Norman Rockwell painting, with their natural colors, huge porches with swings, and tree lined streets that looked like they were right out of a 1950’s sitcom. There were kids playing in the streets, people walking their dogs and everyone was friendly, almost like a script taken from the “Stepford Wives”.
My buyer immediately fell in love with the area and its manicured lawns. And the tri-level townhome, with its two car garage, granite counters, stainless steel appliances, top of the line appointments and perfectly matched décor was beyond ideal.
We decided to draw up an offer, but before the ink would dry on it the unthinkable happened.
While sharing the story of house hunting with his family, the buyer’s brother Googled the development to get a good look at this “picture perfect neighborhood” which his brother would soon call home. To his disbelief, there on the screen were dozens and dozens of stories about this little piece of paradise – only these stories were anything but utopia.
The articles told of sick homes, 161 out of the 262 in the community, where windows were built into wooden frames incorrectly allowing rainwater to seep into the structure causing mold. Rotten wood and mildew produced smells into the home, making residents nauseous. And some homes were pictured with the exterior walls that “fell off” due to the faulty construction.
When I inquired with the listing agent about the property, she knew nothing of it. So where does the fault lie with the disclosures? Wouldn’t a seller have to disclose such issues, even if their home wasn’t one affected, especially since the HOA was heavily involved with a lawsuit against the builder? While agents always stress inspections and to have buyers do their own due diligence on the property, what can be taken at face value vs what could be hidden behind the drywall?
Obviously a search of local newspaper articles, contacting the HOA, or just checking out the area online might be enough to stop a potential nightmare for your buyer. For me going forward, such background checks will be vital to assisting my clients in understanding the areas they are choosing to call “home”.
I bet the resident who was quoted as saying that she leaned against the wall of her home and fell right through it wishes her agent would have done her homework.
Kay Conageski is a professional Realtor® with The Keyes Company based in Plantation, Florida. Check out her RESAAS profile ›