KOMO News published yesterday a startling story about the homebuyers who did everything right in purchasing their home; only to end up living in a toxic, flooded, waste-ridden moneypit that drove them into bankruptcy.
The 1940s farmhouse in Edmonds seemed quiet, picturesque, and the perfect place for the Nealeys to raise their family. Shortly after they moved in, however, the family members began to develop bloody noses, migraines, respiratory infections, and asthma. They soon discovered the cause: only weeks after the family moved in in 2001, heavy rains flooded the small stream running through the peaceful backyard, beginning a season of flooding in the yard and crawlspace of the home. Neighbors reported that the stream has flooded for decades. The floods brought years of industrial and other waste up from the ground, including oil drums and rusted car bodies from an old auto shop. The family was forced to move out, but was still stuck with the mortgage.
The Nealeys tried to protect themselves in the purchase of their home. As reported, the Form 17 provided to them by the sellers disclosed that there were no drainage problems on the property and no flood damage to the home. The Nealeys also included an inspection contingency in their purchase and sale agreement, and the inspection did not reveal these very significant problems. Additionally, the home was not identified with the Department of Ecology as a contaminated site until the Nealeys reported it themselves. Settlements from the sellers, listing agent, and home inspector totaled less than $56,000. This provides little relief from their continuing $2,600 monthly mortgage payments on their $360,000 home.
This story provides a painful example of the traditional rule in law of "buyer beware." Despite modern development, this rule is still very much a part of present-day property law, particularly when it comes to the consumer-to-consumer purchase and sale of a home. More information can be found in the full story at: http://www.komotv.com/news/local/8394152.html.