A Real Estate Horror Story

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Accent Realty Group

I just had to blog about a story I just heard.  I will never do a quick walk-thru with my clients again!  Time to slow it down and get serious!

unhappy home owner 

A lady bought a new home.  She hired an inspector, a termite company, and local repairman, etc... to go over the house with a fine tooth comb.  She knew she was going to have to do some renovations and updates, but she was very excited about her new purchase.  She was extra happy to see a brand new, upgraded and very expensive stove and refrigerator had been added to the home as a selling feature.  

So, she and her agent did the final walk-thru, and everything looked great.  They went to closing and she bought the house.  I'm not sure how long she waited to go back to the house.  When she walked into her new home, she immediatley noticed the brand new (upgraded) stove and refrigerator had been removed and replaced with cheap low-grade appliances.  The former owners were no where to be found, so the lady filed charges against the former owners.  Not only that, when they started taking down walls....mold was found everywhere.  

The former owners have still not been found.  What should the lady have done to help prevent all this from happening?  Even by doing everything perfect....this could still happen to anyone.

First....never skimp on a good home inspector!  They are worth the money....but do your research to get a good one!

Don't come to the walk-through empty-handed. Along with your paperwork, you want to bring items such as light bulbs, a flashlight, a measuring tape, a carpenter's level, a power strip with surge protection, a roll of light blue paper shop towels, toilet paper, a camera, and if possible, your spouse or a friend.  Place the blue shop towels under the sinks and toilets.  If there are any leaks, it will show on the towels. Take the power strip and check all the plugs.  Put bulbs in all the light fixtures to make sure they are working.  Flush all toilets, run all appliances to make sure they all work properly, change the air unit from cool to heat and pay attention to the odors.   Anything you want fixed before closing (that happened after all agreed upon repairs were completed) must be noted and demanded at this time.

Please, take pictures and notations of model numbers, brands, etc....of anything that looks new or that is a selling feataure to you.  Looks like we, as agents, are going to have to get even more specific when we write up our offers.

Be ready to immediately change all the locks after closing.  I mean.....have them in your car and go straight to the house after closing! 

It's a fun hot market here inTennessee!  Make sure in your excitement, you don't miss all the very important things!  

It takes many professionals to get a home purchase completed.....so, make sure you hire the right team to help you get it done and done RIGHT!

Accent Properties is an Exclusive Buyer Agency.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Contact us here!



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Kenneth Cole
Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com... - Staten Island, NY
NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

What on earth do we have to do today to protect our buyers?  Send an observer to the house while the closing is in progress?  Shame on those sellers.

Aug 08, 2013 09:13 PM #35
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for sharing the story. I have heard of sellers taking the appliances that were supposed to be included but it is usually discovered at the walk through.

Aug 08, 2013 09:27 PM #36
Edward Gilmartin
Boston Homes - Boston, MA

I would only hire a local home inspector who is probably familiar with mold problems in certain parts of town...talke with neighbors too. I was trying to sell a property with vinyl siding....they neighbor informed me that the seller covered up lots of rot with the siding.

Aug 08, 2013 09:55 PM #37
Amanda Christiansen
Century 21 Bradley (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Century 21 Bradley Realtor

Very scary story.  A walk through is very important, as is the home inspection.                                                                     

Aug 08, 2013 10:16 PM #38
Kelly Taylor
Keller Williams - Lakewood Ranch, FL

That poor lady. I have heard of sellers switching appilances. Too bad about the mold, we don't conduct that test unless asked for specifically though.

Aug 08, 2013 10:18 PM #39
Pam Rumley and Lisa Lewis
Accent Realty Group - Gallatin, TN

Thank you for all the responses.  This client was not ours.  This happened to a friend of mine.  I know most of us, as agents, write up everything we want in the offers.  But, what I'm saying is get MORE specific.  It's a shame we have to do that.  Write down serial and model numbers of major things your client wants to stay with the home (even if it's in the listing sheet and already pre-written in the contract)!!!!!  Just crazy......

Aug 08, 2013 11:07 PM #40
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Pam, this story emphasizes the importance for having a thorough inspection of the property. As far as removing the appliances, shame on the sellers.

Aug 08, 2013 11:08 PM #41
David Popoff
DMK Real Estate - Darien, CT
Realtor®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct

Pam feel so sorry for the buyer, the seller pulled a scam for sure stealing the appliances. All the items you suggested our home inspector do...part of their contract.

Aug 08, 2013 11:20 PM #42
Raul Rodriguez
Covenant Partners Realty - San Antonio, TX
Looking out for the client's interest and not my p

In todat's society it is a shame the things people do. Why have good morals been so eroded? Just leaves a person shaking their head!

Aug 08, 2013 11:52 PM #43
Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Home inspections are just not somethng you wawnt to skimp on, and having specially trained inspectors, eg., mold, to follow-up on the general inspection is often smart.

I would think, if the items in question were in the offer and the MLS, depending on the contract and your state, that mediation and arbitration might be next steps.

Aug 09, 2013 12:03 AM #44
Harry F. D'Elia
Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

We all can share one horror story when it comes to real estate

Aug 09, 2013 12:08 AM #45
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

I guess having a fridge and stove on the inclusions list isn't enough. Now you have to write in the brand, model and year. Crazy. I feel so bad for this poor woman. I have no doubt that the purchase price reflected those new appliances.

Aug 09, 2013 12:10 AM #46
Ed & Tracy Oliva
West USA Realty - Arizona - Fountain Hills, AZ
The Oliva Team Arizona Agents

Good Morning:  Yes a final walk Thur is very Important,  always do one and you and your buyer will be much safer,  E

Aug 09, 2013 12:32 AM #47
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Interesting and relevant too. Often others think others are doing and checking and sometimes NO ONE is...then there is the negligence factor.

Aug 09, 2013 12:40 AM #48
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience


You make some very good points, specifically hiring the best inspector you can find and doing a walk-through before closing. Some very good tips on what to bring with you during the walk-through.

Aug 09, 2013 12:55 AM #49
Stephanie Arnett
RE/MAX Partners~ Starkville, MS - Starkville, MS
SRS, IMSD, Broker Associate, REALTOR


Aug 09, 2013 01:15 AM #50
Kelly Barbus
Keller Williams Buffalo Northtowns - Buffalo, NY
Keller Williams Buffalo Northtowns

I feel so bad for the new owners and her agent.  I can't imagine getting that phone call.  I hope they find the owners and she gets some kind of financial reimbursement for the repairs and appliances.  Best of luck!

Aug 09, 2013 02:03 AM #51
Norma J. Elkins
Elite Realty Group - Morristown, TN
Realtor - Elkins Home Selling Team
This is indeed something that should have never happened. We usually do our walk through the day before closing or sometimes the day of the closing. But it is hard to work with thieves. Sad story!
Aug 09, 2013 08:14 PM #52
Pam Rumley and Lisa Lewis
Accent Realty Group - Gallatin, TN

You guys have all been so understanding, and have given me some great tips as well.  Thank you!!!

I'm sure the sellers agent will be pressured to find her clients and get those appliances back for this poor lady.  I'll keep you updated on any news we hear!   

It's so great we can all share stories and help each other with issues.

Aug 10, 2013 05:27 AM #53
Kathy Stoltman
Rockwood Realty - Ventura, CA
Ventura County Real Estate Consultant 805-746-1793

I wonder where the listing agent was. 

Aug 15, 2013 04:52 AM #54
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