Marching to a Solution - Habitability Lien

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 DRE# ER40011786

This month's challenge has asked us to relay some transactions that needed solutions and ideas to get to the closing table, and this one took some digging!

 

Early in my career, somewhere around the 5-year mark, I had a past client that was a pastor of his church, and this family needed to sell their home, as they were deep in debt and nearing foreclosure, and knew my client had the money to buy their home.

 

My client called and asked if I could do this transaction, and not put it on the MLS, just work with the FSBO and him to close it before the homeowner went into foreclosure.   Of course, I could do that.    

 

Then, I get a call from a "lawyer", and he was representing the Sellers.   Problem was, he was not a real estate attorney, and don't remember him ever having the credentials of an attorney.   Anyway, he wanted to know the details, so we could both move forward to get this home sold, before it went into foreclosure.

 

Upon receipt of the O & E, I found a habitability lien on the property.    I called "the attorney" to see what he was going to do to remove it, and he had no idea what it was, or how to remove it.   So, called my broker, and she had never heard of it either.   I called a few more brokers who had years in the business - NO ONE had seen this issue in their career.

So, I called the City of Denver to see if I could find out WHAT it was, and how to get it removed prior to closing.   He said the home had a backed-up sewer line, with sewage floating in the finished basement, and hence why the lien had been placed on the home.   The head of this department said the buyer would need to remedy the issue prior to closing.   I had to tell him, the buyer has to sign a form stating he did NO work to the home prior to closing.    We talked a bit more and said I thought I had spoken to him in the years I was with Safeway.   He asked me where I had worked, and he said he wanted to call someone and would call me back.

 

He checked with the officials at Safeway, and heard I had been well-respected at Safeway, and would sign off, if my buyer would sign a form stating he would remedy the issue after closing.   I assured him, he wanted to remodel the home, and "flip it" and definitely would remedy the issue.

 

He signed off on the lien, and we closed.   Never knew my 20 years at Safeway would assist in issues in a real estate transaction!

 

Posted by

Joan Cox
Broker/Owner, REALTOR®
House to Home, Inc.

Serving the Denver Metro area including all suburbs


Helping Buyers and Sellers achieve their real estate dreams, one house at a time!

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Comments (18)

Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Joan,

What a nice surprise! I have never run across this type of lien. We have had issues with septic system inspections.  This is a seller inspection and the house can't close until it passes inspection.  It is nice to see everything work out.  

Mar 18, 2023 09:46 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Flower Mound, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Joan Cox - that one was a tough transaction. For the first FSBO I worked with as the Sales Agent, I learned, there is a reason why they don't want to hire at least a Real Estate Attorney, or a Real Estate Listing Agent. (Texas is not an Attorney State). Homeowners that are FSBO's may not know there are different specializations in being a Lawyer, just like in licensed real estate agents who specialize in a niche.

Discovering there was a Habitability Lien must have been shocking. I alway do my due dilligence and check with the City when I don't know who I am dealing with and something is suspicious. Cities keep records. Apparently, you do too.

Glad it all worked out. it could have been worse. Thank you, Joan for another great and very interesting entry for the March to a Solution|ActiveRain March 20023 Challenge!

Mar 18, 2023 09:50 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Sheri, it definitely was different, and so happy to get it closed for that seller in trouble.

Mar 18, 2023 10:12 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP I did have to do lots of digging, and was probably a week or more before I could tell the buyer if we could even move forward.   Glad it all worked out, but to this day, have never run across another agent that has seen this lien.

Mar 18, 2023 10:14 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Joan, for sharing this interesting story.

Unusual and unexpected challenges sometimes require creative solutions.

Mar 18, 2023 10:50 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Yes they do Roy!

Mar 18, 2023 11:12 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

Well, that house was full of __________. Good thing your buyer was willing to fix the issue. 

Mar 18, 2023 12:03 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Jeff, LOL, I agree, but think the backup was years before, the sellers just never cleared the lien off.

Mar 18, 2023 12:44 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Joan- Oh my...I'm not familiar with that either but l liked Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty 's comment. And what a small world for you and Safeway. 

Mar 18, 2023 05:20 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

What an interesting story, Joan. I've never heard of a habitability lien... I tried to see if we have something like that in North Carolina and couldn't find anything.

Mar 19, 2023 06:22 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I'm glad that all worked out - I never heard of a habitability lien so I learned something new today! So that's it, I can go back to bed. haha.

Mar 19, 2023 07:45 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kathy, it definitely is a small world, and was just thankful, it all worked out.

Mar 19, 2023 08:04 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Nina Hollander, Broker it was and still is one I haven't heard of since.  My previous broker used to say I would find the most unusual stuff in my deals.

Mar 19, 2023 08:05 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kat Palmiotti it was a strange one, and one I haven't run into again, thankfully!  

Mar 19, 2023 08:06 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Joan - so many thoughts come to mind while reading this post.  I think a pause is not only necessary but more than wise.  

Mar 20, 2023 07:07 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Michael, it was quite the situation, but glad we came to a solution.

Mar 20, 2023 07:44 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

That is right up there with Bizarre.  I cannot imagine, with or without money, anyone living in a home where the sewer had backed up into the basement.  Good Grief. 

Thank you for your participation in the March Challenge. 

Mar 20, 2023 03:58 PM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Kathleen, I thought the same thing.

Mar 20, 2023 04:36 PM