Thursday, October 29, 2009

And now I am ready to talk about what happened to our contract.

Maybe. I might still be too mad. We'll see. Some of you have already heard this, or parts of it, on angry e-mails or phone calls. Here's the whole thing.

Five years ago, we put a contract on our lovely house in Dallas and had it inspected. The inspector reported that there were cracks in the sheet rock and the brick exterior, and that we needed to get the foundation inspected. Our sellers produced a report from a foundation expert stating that the foundation was within acceptable limits, and that the home needed to be watered regularly.

Being not from Texas, we were perplexed at these instructions. We came to learn that this region has a very shifty soil type, and the soil contracts by several inches in times of drought, and expands just as much in times of rain, taking all the houses along for the ride and leaving them with cracks and frequently needing foundation repair. Therefore the house must be watered like a plant. Our realtor assured us that this was normal for this area, and we would be hard pressed to find any home in Dallas that did NOT have cracks in it. Over time, we have found this to be true of our friends' homes as well and have accepted this as a fact of life, as do all of the homeowners in this area. And we have watered the house faithfully.

When we put our house on the market, we noted in the seller disclosure that there were indeed cracks on the sheet rock and the brick exterior, but that the foundation was within acceptable limits and the cracks were normal for the age of the house and the soil type. When our lovely buyers came on the scene, they asked some questions about the foundation, and our realtor again relayed to them our disclosure about the cracks.

So we all signed the contract and awaited the inspection. The inspector (shockingly) found that the sheet rock and the bricks had cracks in them. He told our buyers that this house had MAJOR foundation problems (in all caps) and then proceeded to note every other little flaw of the house, as is his job. We received several angry e-mails from the buyers' realtor demanding to know why we hadn't disclosed this MAJOR issue (all caps) and what we were planning to do about it.

Well Greg and I were very upset to learn that we had a MAJOR issue, because that means major dollars to us. We reassured the buyers that we were looking into it, and had several companies come out to give estimates. Two of the companies told us that we had MINOR foundation shifting, that could be fixed for about $3,000, with a lifetime transferrable warranty. (While that is a lot of money, please bear in mind that we know people whose homes have required $10-20,000 in repairs. $3,000 is minor.) Meanwhile, the third company informed us that all of the cracks were cosmetic, and that there was no actual problem with the foundation itself, so no repairs were needed. Their estimate was zero dollars. Seriously.

However. While we were still getting estimates from the different companies, we received a termination of contract notice from our buyers, stating that we were liars and had intentionally deceived them about the foundation, and that we had broken the law by not disclosing this MAJOR issue.

Several days went by. Our realtor, in a peace-making effort, forwarded all of the reports to the buyers, plus a copy of the bill for some electrical work we had done after the inspection.

Finally, we heard back from our angry buyers. They would like to renew the contract, they said, for the previously agreed on (and very low) price, plus a few extra things, such as:

Fix the foundation (which we had already offered to do).
Plaster all cracks in the interior and exterior of the home.
Rehang all of the doors in the home so they would be perfectly perpendicular.
Dig out all of the flower beds and grass so that 4 inches of the foundation is visible all around the house.
Recaulk all of the exterior windows where the caulking has become separated.
Replace the driveway because it has cracks in it. (?)
Regrade the yard. (!)
Fix a loose faucet handle in the guest bathroom.
Replace cracked tiles in the walkway off the patio.
Install two extra fire alarms because there just aren't enough in the house.
Have the dishwasher repaired (It is not broken. I use it every day.)
Install a pan under the hot water heater.
Have the chimney cleaned.
And by the way throw in an extra $3,000 in closing costs.

There were actually more requests, but I can't remember them right now and it makes me too mad to look at the e-mail. I need to assert here that in our original contract our buyers were getting our house for at least $11,000 under its appraised value PLUS a $7,000 stimulus rebate from Uncle Sam. That is what is known in financial circles as A Good Deal.

We responded that they could have the original price and the foundation repair and a few extraneous things that we'd already done since the inspection. We didn't hear back from them, and we were not sorry to see them go.

Then this week, we got an e-mail from their realtor, stating that his clients continued to be "very angry" over our deception and lies, and that they were taking legal action against us because they had to spend $300 on an inspection to find out about a MAJOR foundation issue that we knew about all along and should have disclosed.

The issue we had offered to fix. And give them a lifetime warranty.

Which we now know isn't really even an issue.


The end of the story (up to this point) is that I wrote out a description of our knowledge of the foundation from the very beginning, quoting directly from the report from our seller and describing our meticulous watering and monitoring of the cracks should they move (they have not) and quoting from all of our current reports, etc, etc. I hope this will make them see that they have no case, however these people don't strike me as being exceptionally rational.

Anyway, that is all I have. Please cheer me with your incredulous and incensed comments.


  1. OH MY FREAKING WORD!!!! (in all caps)
    What a bunch of flipping loonies! I want to beat them down, seriously. I feel like fighting. Is that bad? I can't help it. It makes me violent. You should send them back an angry email saying that you are counter suing them for being dicks. (oops, can I say that on your blog?)
    I don't blame you for being ticked. I can't even tell you how mad I am for you.
    Needless to say, they don't have a case. It sounds like they are trying to use scare tactics to get what they want. Why the HE#@ would they PAY an attorney to sue for $300??? That makes NO SENSE. Course, nothing they have done makes any sense.

    All I can say is that Karma is a mean b&*#h, and they'll get theirs, I'm sure. And you will find lovely buyers that deserve and will treasure your wonderful home.

    Prayers for you (and now for me for loosing my temper)!!!!

  2. Okay - that buyer was just trying to get a steal and thought you were going to go for it. They were ridiculous! Hopefully you will find better buyers here soon. And now you have the paperwork to show that the foundation issues are minor, so you won't have to face that again!

  3. I've been reading the Old Testament lately, and I think these are the type of people that the Lord will deal with heavily, much like Og king of Bashan.

  4. Kat, I have thought and said much worse, trust me.

    And believe me, I have tried to understand their point of view and I just can't. It makes absolutely no sense. I know that English is not their primary language; even their realtor's e-mails are in somewhat broken English. I don't know if this is a communication issue or if maybe this is how it is done in their culture, or what. I actually feel sorry for them because they missed out on a really good deal on a great house with great neighbors. Actually my neighbors have thanked me for not inflicting these people on them. :)

  5. Just remind your neighbors how thankful they shoulcd be since These "RATIONAL" people wont be moving in!!! I am sure they would make the BEST neighbors!!

  6. it's like they're trying to rip you off. like they are hoping you are desperate and stupid enough to take the bait. They are bad, bad people with a bad, bad realtor. you have every right to be incensed. You behaved completely appropriately and frankly, very, very nicely to them when they were such complete @sses to you.

    That's awful. I would make sure I have everything in writing and march myself down to my friendly neighborhood lawyer. Sheesh.

  8. OMG! WTF is wrong with those people?!


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