August Dick of the Month: Fradulent Home Seller

This month’s Dick of the Month is a little personal.  I’ve talked about the new house once or twice and mentioned that I’d eventually tell you the story behind getting the house.  Well, here it is…

We were in the process of buying a house down the street from our apartment at the time.  The house was decent, it lacked parking and it had a small yard, but inside it was pretty nice looking and it had large rooms with a lot of hand-crafted, built-in furniture like dressers and desks.

Everything was going well; we negotiated on a price and came to an agreement that was around where we wanted to be.  We went ahead with things and had an inspection done, discovering that the furnace didn’t work properly and the water to the front bathroom was shut off.

We stipulated as part of the sales deal that they fix the furnace and finish repairs to the front bathroom.  Finish repairs, you ask?  Yes, they stated when we were looking at the house that there was a minor leak and they were in the process of fixing the front bathroom to stop the leak.

The seller agreed and everything was going along somewhat smoothly, until we were getting close to the date to start signing for loans amount to about $70,000.

With about a week to go before everything is finalized, we find out that the seller is probably sabotaging the deal, because she learned that after she pays off a bunch of debts she won’t have enough money to get her own apartment and will have to move back in with her son after the sale.

She suddenly reneges on the deal and says that she doesn’t want to pay for the plumbing repairs to the front bathroom.

Hmm…I’m beginning to think something foul might be ahoof.

We finally brow-beat her into agreeing to let a third-party affiliate into the house, a home-warranty company, to see if the plumbing repairs would be covered under the included home warranty program.  We brow beat her by pointing out that if she backed out, we could sue her for breach of contract.

So the home warranty company goes in and checks things out and says no, they won’t cover the replacement.  They would cover the repairs…if there was any plumbing left.

That’s right…days before selling us her house…she took all the copper plumbing from the building and scrapped it for extra cash.  Intending to leave us with a house only half plumbed (the kitchen copper had been replaced with PVC years earlier) to make up for having to fix the furnace.

Here’s the problem: We’d already paid $760 in assorted fees and payments to home inspectors, loan agents, and other non-refundable things.

$760 is a lot of money to me.

So I spoke to an old acquaintance of mine, who happens to be a Real Estate lawyer.  He told me to be glad I didn’t go deeper into things, because I’d just spend $2,000 suing her for $800.

She probably would have declared bankruptcy and weaseled out of paying me the $800, anyway.

So, Lady Who Was Selling Me Your House.  You win the August Dick of the Month.

~RCS

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