DEAR BOB: More than two years ago, we had a minor roof leak in our house, which was repaired by a professional roofer. We observed no problems with the roof since then. When we sold our home last February, we didn’t say anything about the roof repair when we filled out the disclosure form for our buyers. However, when a heavy rain occurred in late April, the roof leaked in the same spot. The buyers phoned us because they discovered the roof repair. We referred them to the roofer who said there was no guarantee on his repair work two years ago. Now the buyers claim we failed to disclose the roof repair two years ago. Do we have any obligation to them? – Horst S.
DEAR HORST: No. Home defect disclosure forms ask if the seller is aware of the itemized possible problems listed on the form. At the time you sold your home, the roof didn’t leak.
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The fact the roof leaked in the same spot two years after the roof was professionally repaired doesn’t make you automatically liable to the buyers for damages.
Unfortunately, the buyers might sue you in local Small Claims Court for the cost of roof repairs. If that happens, to protect your good credit, if you can work out a reasonable settlement, it might be smart to pay the buyers rather than have a judgment recorded, which can adversely affect your credit.
WHICH OF THESE ARE MORTGAGE JUNK FEES?
DEAR BOB: On our mortgage good-faith estimate there is an $81 tax service fee, $35 wire transfer fee, $18.50 flood certificate fee, $430 underwriting fee, $300 processing fee, $50 document preparation fee, $40 notary fee, $100 FedEx fee, plus $3,750 to the mortgage broker. Which of these are stupid and disputable? It seems to me that $100 FedEx fee is ridiculous – Beth E.
DEAR BETH: The definition of a junk or garbage fee is a borrower charge that is not paid to a third party for a legitimate service, such as an appraisal.
Of the fees you listed, the $430 underwriting fee and $300 processing fee are 100 percent pure lender profit negotiable junk or garbage fees.
The estimated $100 FedEx fee is very high. Ask to see the actual FedEx bill when your loan closes and pay only that fee.
The $50 document preparation fee and the $40 notary fee might be junk fees. But it’s not worth your time negotiating them if you are otherwise obtaining a favorable mortgage.
ARE ALL TIMESHARES A SWINDLE?
DEAR BOB: Recently my wife and I spent a weekend visiting a timeshare development. We were pleasantly surprised. There was no high pressure to buy. But we recall your frequent admonitions not to buy timeshares so we didn’t buy. However, we have talked several times since then about the pros and cons of timeshares. Are all timeshares a swindle? – Ron W.
DEAR RON: As I often say, please don’t buy a timeshare with money you will ever need again. Getting into a timeshare is very easy. Getting out is almost impossible except at a large loss. There is nothing favorable I can say about timeshares.
The new Robert Bruss special report, “Secrets of Buying Your Home or Investment Property for Nothing Down,” is now available for $4 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet download at www.bobbruss.com. Questions for this column are welcome at either address.
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