Is Your Real Estate Agent a Problem Solver?
Foundation Issues before Closing? No Problem!
The Little House That could Be Sold!
This is the story of optimism, hard work, communication and exemplary problem-solving! It is also the story of a Buyer's walk through the property of her dreams ten days prior to closing and discovering that the foundation was heaving up in the center of the house and causing damage to the floor, wall and the kitchen. Like the Little Blue Engine's belief that it could push a toy filled train over a mountain, in The Little Engine that Could, two Realtors made the decision that they could navigate a transaction over a foundation issue that looked and felt like a mountain! After all perception is the reality!
The Story of the House That Could
The Sellers purchased a foreclosure to rehab for income property. Renovations began with an engineering study, slab leak test, extensive foundation repair, and a second slab leak test. The roof was replaced, Bathrooms and kitchen taken back to the studs and remodeled. Flooring was replaced with tile, wood laminate and carpet. The Sellers leased the property for several years to satisfied tenants.
Flash Forward. The Sellers asked me to list their income property. I questioned a slight incline at one end of the house and a hairline crack on an interior wall. The foundation company and plumbing company returned to check the integrity of the foundation and the plumbing system. There were no leaks in the plumbing system and once again the foundation company stated that the foundation was stable and performing. They further stated that extensive foundation repair does not always render a perfectly level foundation. Both companies put their findings in writing.
The Sellers quickly received three below market investor offers before offer number four that resulted in an executed contract. The buyers were engaged to be married. The day before closing, the lender called to notify the Seller that the couple had separated and they would not be purchased the property. The Sellers requested and received the earnest money.
THE BUYER appeared the second week of August toting two red flags. The Buyer had applied for two government grants that would not be available until October, so she was seeking an eight week close. Yikes! As Realtors we know that the longer the escrow, the greater the opportunity for a transaction to go south: as far as the South Pole! Although the time frame and the grants were not appealing, the Sellers were ready to sell and the contract was executed. Communication between the Realtors, Loan Officer, Buyer and Seller appeared to be open and honest. The Seller was keenly aware that the Buyer wanted this property and the Loan Officer confirmed that the Buyer could quality for another loan, if the grants were not fulfilled.
Repair requests were made and agreed to during the Option Period. All work was completed to the satisfaction of the buyer. Ten days prior to closing I received a call from the Buyer's Agent asking me if I was aware that the foundation had raised in the center of the house. To the credit of the Buyer's Agent, this was an understatement! She also added that there were a few significant cracks in two walls. Yep! They were cracks, alright! The Sellers and I felt like we were looking at Mt. Everest and damage from an earthquake. Everything is relative. Right?
The Buyer's Agent shared that the Buyer wanted everything repaired and assured us that the Buyer was willing to "hang in" as long as necessary. The Sellers assured the Buyer that they were willing to complete the necessary repairs. This was easier said than done. another slab leak test was done and once again indicated no leak. Three engineers looked at the house and said the piers were functioning properly. Another slab leak test was performed and once again indicated no slab leak. The original engineer and two other engineers looked at the property and confirmed that the piers were functioning properly.
A breakthrough in the resolution of the mystery came when the Seller called the original foundation company and told the story to an assistant. The assistant recalled a similar scenario years ago. Bingo! The mystery was solved. The builder had run the condensate line from the evaporator coil down the wall and through the foundation, but had neglected to connect the pipe to a drain pipe. Hello! This should be Plumbing 101! Walls were removed and replaced, the plumbing line was properly rerouted, floors and tile were repaired and everyone was relieved and happy! One question will always remain. Why didn't any of the engineers or plumbers think of this before! If you are a Realtor or homeowner reading this, file this information away in a safe place!
This is why I lovingly refer to this house as The Little House That could...Be Sold!
The Realtors in this transaction were like the Little Blue Engine, in the book The Little Engine That Could. The Little Blue Engine repeated "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can," as it struggled to push the toy filled train over a mountain to waiting children. Two problem-solving Realtors, through eight weeks of escrow and a heaving foundation repeated, "We know we can, We know we can, we know we can," with the full support of the Seller and the Buyer. This transaction was a true win-win, brought about through problem-solving and hard work by all involved.
Take Away: Make certain that you Realtor is an optimistic problem solver, with good communication skills! -And remember the story about the condensate line!