Friday, July 26, 2013

Into Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall

Let's say that you are shopping for a condo.  One day you find one that is beautiful, in a good location, a terrific setting, and perfect floor plan.  Let's say that you make an offer on that nice condo, and your offer is accepted.  The disclosure papers mention an attached letter, which is not attached.  So you pursue the letter, because it's important to see what it might say.  The agent finally agrees to give you a copy.

The letter says, in effect,  Oh, by the way...  We've had water damage in the lower level, but it's been taken care of by some unknown builder person.  Excavations were done, sumps were installed, and it will never happen again.

Really?  What actually happened, you might ask.  What was actually done?  There is no evidence on the grounds of any excavating a few weeks ago...  Oh no - doesn't this sound like a problem that you do not want to buy into?  Doesn't this make you feel as though somebody is trying to sell you a pig in a poke?

So we have rescinded our offer, and the search continues.  Dick wrote this letter to our agent, with no effective response:

From: Richard Steiger
Subject: letter
Date: Wed 7/24/13 7:40 AM
In our minds, the Addendum Letter has raised more questions than it
has answered.

 We don't understand how it is that Mr. Christians did
not provide you with the letter with the property description in the
original report. (His inclusion under EXTERIOR FEATURES of handicap
accessible and attached green house raised a red flag from the

With the letter in hand we would have been much more aware
of things to look for when we visited the unit with you. We feel that
by not including it, he was not being fair with you. (Or us)

The letter reports "extremely heavy rains in March". In fact the 2 1/2
inches for March was below the average in Traverse City for most
months. We did have a day of heavy rain but living on the river we
know that we have had heavier and more prolonged rains in the past.

states that the repairs were done by "the builder" and refers to "4
square construction". A search for that business in Traverse City
yields nearly all the builders in town. Was "the builder" the firm
which constructed the development or was it a firm hired by the owner?
To proceed with our purchase, we will need the name of the builder who
made the repairs and an opportunity to meet and discuss them. We
mistakenly anticipated that the "attached letter" referred to in the
"Professional Report" would be from him.

The letter states that many basements flooded, we wonder if the other
attached units in that area flooded. Did they all require repairs? In
fact, why did they need to waterproof and install drain tile to the
building, isn't that code for new construction? We have it installed
on both sides of our lower basement area. We also wonder how the sump
is connected to the catch basin, did they dig up the basement floor to
install the pipe or does it run along the wall? These are questions
that we need to ask the builder or repair firm.

When we saw the dehumidifier operating in the basement, we were
inclined to agree with you that it was because the air was off.  Needless to say, now we are suspicious.

We are not aware of the full scope of the building inspector's job. Can he be expected to check all
aspects of this flooding problem and the repairs? This has obviously
been the major topic of discussion for us. We are concerned that a
situation which appears to have been repaired at this point in time,
will once again become a problem and a money drain in the future.

What inspector do you have the most confidence in? Who do you feel
would best represent us? Is it standard procedure for us to accompany
him while he carries out his inspection?

We will be busy this weekend with our family reunion but would like to
resolve this situation next week.