Emo­tion trumps logic in home pur­chase dis­pute

Imperial Valley Press - - HOME - Richard Mont­gomery Con­tact Monty at DearMonty.com

R eader ques­tion: We have an ac­cepted of­fer on a home. We learned that the floor is vinyl, not lam­i­nate as stated on the list­ing data sheet. Un­like lam­i­nate, vinyl adds no value to the house.

We asked for a $3,000 price re­duc­tion, which was less than half of a new lam­i­nate floor price.

We do not want the sellers to suf­fer for this since the seller when asked, said it was vinyl. The agent made a mis­take when com­plet­ing the list­ing sheet.

The agent says be­cause the list­ing sheet reads all in­for­ma­tion may not be ac­cu­rate she is pro­tected.

We do not think so. We won­der if it was de­lib­er­ate as lam­i­nate floors add value to the home. If we buy the house can we go after the list­ing agent since she is the one re­spon­si­ble?

Monty’s an­swer: The laws in ev­ery state vary on such is­sues. The lan­guage on the data sheet does lit­tle to pro­tect her.

Con­sult an at­tor­ney in your state to an­swer your ques­tion.

Be­fore you pro­ceed, con­sider these thoughts and ques­tions:

• While you are sym­pa­thetic to­ward the sellers, the con­tract is be­tween you and the sellers.

The sellers may be more likely and able to re­duce the price than the agent is likely or able to write you a check.

• The fact the dif­fer­ence in the floors had to be pointed out to you sug­gests other buy­ers would not no­tice, or pos­si­bly even care, about the dif­fer­ences be­tween lam­i­nated and vinyl prod­ucts.

There are cer­tain sit­u­a­tions where vinyl may be a better choice in a home.

A bath­room may be a good ex­am­ple or a laun­dry room.

Vinyl is su­pe­rior to lam­i­nate when mois­ture is a pos­si­bil­ity.

An al­ter­nate course

Con­sider con­tact­ing the agent’s bro­ker. The bro­ker’s slant on this sit­u­a­tion may be dif­fer­ent.

Some real es­tate com­pa­nies will go to great lengths to sat­isfy a cus­tomer in such cir­cum­stances.

They do not want an er­rors and omis­sions in­sur­ance claim this size as their de­ductible may be higher than the cost to set­tle.

If they dis­cover the agent was in er­ror, they may set­tle with you as a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple.

They will also want to avoid a com­plaint to the state real es­tate reg­u­la­tors.

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