Sunday, August 29, 2004

Last minute issue crops up

So it's Sunday at 1:30 PM. Both myself and the buyer have signed our paperwork and we're just waiting for tomorrow to roll around for escrow to close. Then I get a phone call....

It's my agent and she tells me the buyer had his final walkthrough on Friday and found three problems. The most serious is a big paint bubble in the ceiling of one of the bedrooms. It looks like a water leak and he is concerned about a roof leak. The other two issues are a shower head that sprays water funny and some trash that is in the garage.

I'm ignoring the last two. He's not buying a new house. If he wants the shower heads to function with a perfect spray pattern, he can go to Home Depot and buy a new one for $10. The trash in the garage consists of an old bookshelf, some plywood, some old mini blinds and two bags of trash. The garage is actually cleaner than it was when he had his first walkthrough (and none of these issues were mentioned after his first walkthrough). I honestly did try to clean up the garage. I filled both trash cans full of garbage and put them out for trash collection. I never did it a second time with the remainder of the trash because I didn't want to have to make the return trip out there to bring the empty cans back in. So I figure he can put the trash out for himself. It's not a big deal.

But the ceiling is not good. I was out there on Thursday after signing and did not see this, so it's something that is fairly recent. We have not had any rains lately, so I can't believe it's a leaky roof.

So I got in my car today and made the 45 minute drive out there to check it out. Sure enough, there is a big bubble in the paint in the ceiling, near the ceiling fan. I crawled up into the attic with a flashlight to check it out. I couldn't see any signs of water damage or spots or leakage on any of the attic walls, ceilings, or beams, so I'm really confident this isn't a leaky roof. But the air conditioner unit is directly above the bedroom where the paint bubble is. What I believe is happening is the condensation from the AC unit is either overflowing the drip pan or leaking out through a crack in the drainage line. I suspect the former because I think one of the drip pan supports has slipped, leaving one side of the drip pan lower than the other. The drip pan has very shallow walls, sort of like a big cookie sheet and the drainage outlet is at the higher end. So I believe condensation is collecting and overflowing the shallow wall at the lower end before it can exit the drain hole at the higher end.

This leaves the issue of what to do. Escrow closes tomorrow. No one I hired ever worked in the attic, so it's not like a handyman broke this. By the same token, the professional home inspector hired by the buyer did not catch this either. I could say, since it wasn't mentioned before, I'm not going to fix it, but then the buyer could back out.

What I've instructed my agent to do is to explain to the buyer what I believe the problem is and offer him $300 back to get it repaired on his own. If he doesn't want to do that, what we are going to suggest is for escrow to go ahead and close, but the escrow company will withhold some of the funds due to me. I will get the problem fixed, present the escrow company with the receipt showing it was fixed, and then they will release the remaining funds. I really prefer the former, since I'd like to be done with this house and move on to the next investment.

So my agent will contact their's today and we'll go from there. And this is the reason why I never count my money until it's sitting in my bank account.

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