DEAR BOB: My husband and I sold our home in July 2005. At that time, the buyer requested additional time for inspections, and multiple inspections were conducted. The buyer requested a credit back, which we granted. Now more than a year later, the buyer’s lawyer has sent us a letter accusing us of nondisclosure and is demanding $85,000. The items the buyer accuses us of withholding were not discovered by any of the inspections, and my husband and I knew nothing of their existence. We are now involved in mediation, which is costing us lawyer fees and time. Our lawyer says that usually all named parties (inspectors, Realtors, and us) contribute to the settlement. My husband and I are outraged by the process. We do not agree to any settlement. What prevents any buyer with remorse from accusing the seller of nondisclosure? –Connie S.
DEAR CONNIE: The situation you describe is called a “shakedown.” You are the victims. Mediation is usually a simple one-day procedure and should not be expensive. If that doesn’t result in an acceptable solution to the dispute, then the buyers can sue you.
Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.
After you win a lawsuit, then you can bring a “malicious prosecution lawsuit” against the buyers to recover your costs for suing you on a groundless claim. For more details, please consult a local real estate attorney.
BOOK ABOUT PROBATE PROPERTIES
DEAR BOB: Please recommend the three best books you’ve read on how to profit from probate real estate –Joseph G.
DEAR JOSEPH: The only book I am aware of about probate properties is the excellent “Creating Wealth Through Probate” by James A. Banks. It is available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and www.Amazon.com.
ADDING SWIMMING POOL RARELY ADDS MORE VALUE THAN IT COSTS
DEAR BOB: Next summer our kids want us to have an inground swimming pool built at our house in the backyard. A few neighbors have them, but most nearby houses do not. It would cost at least $25,000, maybe more. Do you think a swimming pool would be a good investment? –Janice P.
DEAR JANICE: No. You would be very fortunate if the swimming pool adds as much market value to your home as it costs. Unless you live in a hot climate where most homes have swimming pools, my best advice is tell your kids to make friends with someone who has a pool at their house.
In fact, swimming pools can be a detriment when you decide to sell your home. Many families with small children refuse to consider buying a house with a swimming pool because of the drowning danger. Also, pools and their equipment can be very expensive to maintain.
The new Robert Bruss special report, “How to Buy Fixer-Upper Houses with Little or No Cash for Fun and Fortune,” is now available for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant internet delivery at www.Amazon.com. Questions for this column are welcome at either address.
(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center).