Skimmer sinking. Neighbors retaining wall fell.

markayash

Gold Supporter
Mar 21, 2016
2,601
Atlanta Ga
I am torn between using an inspector and not..I know there are good ones but to be most do the very basic stuff and charge you a bunch of money. I guess you can't really blame them for not seeing everything but I agree with Dirk they should at least noted it.

We bought this house from my cousin so no inspection but they gave us a great deal. I knew enough about pools to check that part
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,193
Central California
Pardon these insults, but in my experience, most inspectors (city or home) are fat, lazy x-contractors looking to monetize their experience without actually doing any real work. Home inspection reports are filled more with disclaimers about what isn't going to get inspected than they are with actual usable data! What are consumers supposed to do?! We hire people (contractors, engineers, inspectors, etc) because we don't have the expertise or skill set required for the task. We don't even have the expertise to determine if the experts we hire have any expertise!!! Lots of flaws in the system...
 
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jamjam

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2020
199
NY
In NY the banks require an inspection or they won't lend to you, at least in the transactions I have been involved in. It is worth the price, as an additional layer of insurance, just like having an attorney (who in RE is mostly pushing you a boilerplate form) - but if anything goes wrong, their legal responsibility to protect your interests acts a bit of an insurance policy if they missed anything that their expertise should have caught at your expense.
 

jamjam

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2020
199
NY
What I have found in my RE transactions (and no offense to anyone here) but all parties involved are completely complacent and just see you a a big check with no real interest in putting in any work ("oh this is standard practice").
 
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borjis

LifeTime Supporter
Aug 19, 2014
3,317
Pacific NW
The guy that inspected my first house missed all kinds of things the next owner's inspector found. The repairs to make it right cost me 20k. Thankfully this home I'm in now, I will live in til my time comes.
 

Dirk

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,193
Central California
What I have found in my RE transactions (and no offense to anyone here) but all parties involved are completely complacent and just see you a a big check with no real interest in putting in any work ("oh this is standard practice").
And that's why I think the OPs realtor and home inspector are at fault, and should be liable. They both got paid to do a job they didn't do. Time to make it right.
 

jamjam

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2020
199
NY
how long did you live in a house with $20K worth of unnoticed material defects that were so important that they would have prevented the sale? Depending on the market conditions you can tell the buyer to pound salt on repairs if you think the market strength supports the sale conditioned as-is. My parents are selling their home as we speak and I advised them to push back on requests - they found a happy medium with the buyers without getting carried away.
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,193
Central California
In my market I pretty much got a free pool. That free pool has so far cost me about $20K. In my mind, I have to subtract that $20K from what my pool and landscaping would have cost me had I put it all in. And then also adjust the numbers in consideration of the headaches I avoided from not having to build a pool! I'm way ahead, probably by about 80 grand, and that helps me justify repair costs. If all else fails, maybe a rationalization like that can help the OP a little? He may be looking at x-amount to get his pool fixed, but did he actually pay x-amount more for his house than if it hadn't had the pool?
 

ajw22

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TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,392
Northern NJ
New York State law mandates that a seller complete a detailed questionnaire and deliver same to the purchaser. In the absence of the completion of such questionnaire, the purchaser is given a credit of $500.00 against the purchase price at closing. Certain sellers, such as estates, are exempt from the requirement to deliver a property disclosure statement and are not required to apply a credit at closing.

Interestingly enough, it has become the custom for sellers to complete the disclosure questionnaire in upstate New York, while most sellers in the downstate area typically do not produce such a statement.

So while NYS has a law requring disclosure they also allow sellers to bypass it for $500.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,101
In my opinion, the seller actively took steps to hide the problem, which is different from not disclosing the problem.
 
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jamjam

Well-known member
Jun 25, 2020
199
NY
New York State law mandates that a seller complete a detailed questionnaire and deliver same to the purchaser. In the absence of the completion of such questionnaire, the purchaser is given a credit of $500.00 against the purchase price at closing. Certain sellers, such as estates, are exempt from the requirement to deliver a property disclosure statement and are not required to apply a credit at closing.

Interestingly enough, it has become the custom for sellers to complete the disclosure questionnaire in upstate New York, while most sellers in the downstate area typically do not produce such a statement.

So while NYS has a law requring disclosure they also allow sellers to bypass it for $500.
My attorney told me not to expect the disclosure and to expect the $500 - it was as if it was not even a question, it was an automatic $500.
 

Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,193
Central California
the seller actively took steps to hide the problem, which is different from not disclosing the problem.
Which, unfortunately, would be impossible to prove in court. ("Your honor, my kids just finished swimming that day and did't put the floaties away!") I'm guessing it's why all the lawyers have taken a pass: "as is" with no way to prove fraud. Except the one unscrupulous one that would "take the case" if paid upfront. Nasty business all. At this point, it's not clear why the sellers are still pretending they didn't know. It seems like they haven't actually done anything illegal.

Allen, good info. That $500 is about what a home inspection costs, yes? Probably how that all came to be: here's my disclosure form, or here's $500 to go get your own inspection. In CA the forms are worthless to me. They're phrased in such a way that they prove almost nothing. For a buyer, it's all on the home inspection. If I was in NY, I would have taken the $500, too, and used it to pay my inspector.

If there is any case, it's against the inspector, not the sellers.
 
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Woodstock1234

Well-known member
Aug 4, 2020
46
Illinois
I found out that this issue was known by the previous owners. I’m having A LOT of trouble getting someone to take a look but apparently previous owner was quoted $40k. Although I dont know for what. The pool still works perfect but the difference in skimmer height is posing issues in using one or the other which will only get worse as time goes on. I think the neighbor behind me and his retaining wall is to blame but is there a way this can be fixed without costing $40k? Anyone have any experience with this type of deal?
My 2 cents is to get an engineer to determine the cause of the sinking. If the cause is the fault or negligence of the neighbor, you can make a claim against his/her homeowners insurance. Insurance coverage is always determined by the cause of the damage.
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
20,392
Northern NJ
Allen, good info. That $500 is about what a home inspection costs, yes? Probably how that all came to be: here's my disclosure form, or here's $500 to go get your own inspection. In CA the forms are worthless to me. They're phrased in such a way that they prove almost nothing. For a buyer, it's all on the home inspection. If I was in NY, I would have taken the $500, too, and used it to pay my inspector.

If there is any case, it's against the inspector, not the sellers.
A good inspection costs about twice as much around here. Receiving a sellers disclosure should never eliminate the need for an inspection in buying a house. In my experience sellers are often confused, misinformed, or flat out lie in their disclosures. I often find discrepancies between what a seller disclosure says and what I observe in the property and I kick it back through the real estate agent.

My son recently bought a house in NYS advertised as "move in ready". He had an inspection that identified some issues. I told him I thought there were more hidden that the inspector could not see. He got the $500 disclosure credit at closing. We now have the house stripped to the studs and joke that he bought a slab and sticks. It will turn out ok but has been a learning experience about home buying.
 
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Dirk

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TFP Guide
Nov 12, 2017
7,193
Central California
Receiving a sellers disclosure should never eliminate the need for an inspection in buying a house.
Agree, of course. If I'm understanding the situation correctly, NY allows, in effect, the opposite to be OK, even the norm, when both should be virtually mandatory. The seller paying the credit allows him to circumvent the disclosure, in effect absolving him of any liability for defects, whether he knew about them or not. That's messed up.

I'm not convinced this is even on the seller's "evil" realtor. Her responsibility was to the seller. She probably advised this course of action, knowing the loophole would get the sellers out from under the looming repair. They high-tailed it when their initial estimate not only revealed the cost, but also revealed the possibility that the whole thing could give way and take out the house behind (speculating). As I said before, the fault lies with the buyer realtor and the inspector. And as you point out, neither one of them can be relied on either.

Sorry, Poolsnotmygame, as I'm just rubbing salt in it at this point. Again, so sorry this has happened. I hope you know that this discussion is as much for the benefit of others as you, that maybe your situation can save another from something similar.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
21,101
Which, unfortunately, would be impossible to prove in court.
Not really. When the plaintiff files a case, the defendant has to file a response. They could say that they didn't know, but then they would have to worry about someone saying that they definitely knew. Then, they would be liable for perjury charges. There's definitely someone who could say for sure that they knew. They had at least one estimate. So, the company that gave the estimate could say they knew. The neighbor could say that they knew. You could probably find several others who could say that they knew.