What You Can't See Can Cost You

In January we helped out-of-state buyers purchase a home that they had found on our site. The clients fell in love with the beautiful photos on the MLS and the video walkthrough we provided, and submitted an offer before they even saw the home in person. The offer was accepted, the financing approved, the inspection went well... our team and our clients felt like the transaction had to be too good to be true. The transaction went flawlessly. 

A few days after the sellers had moved out, the parents of the buyers called us in a panic. Because their son and daughter-in-law were still in Alaska and not planning on moving in for a few months, they decided to stop in to check on the property. Much to everyone’s shock, the client’s father reported that there was water gushing out of the wall. After turning off the main water line and calling a plumber, it was determined that when the sellers were packing to leave, they removed a family portrait that had been secured to a wall with a nail that had punctured a sewage pipe. The frame had been there for years, along with the nail in the pipe and not caused any leaks or problems, however when it was removed after closing, the pipe began to spew.

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image via

The silver lining is that this issue was caught early. If our clients family had not stopped in that day, the damage caused to the home would have been much worse. Either way, damage was caused and our client was left wondering, “Will our home warranty cover the cost of the repair?”

The buyers received a home warranty at closing. However, the home warranty did not cover any of the cost for repair because it was caused by the sellers. Seems a little silly, but home warranty companies are known to be incredibly picky when it comes to what they’ll cover and what they won’t. The drywall had to be removed, the leak fixed and new drywall installed, mudded and painted. The cost to the buyer’s was about $1000.

So, what can we learn from this story? Well firstly, use a stud finder when hanging pictures. Also, no matter how hard you try to mitigate risk and avoid issues, sometimes freak accidents occur. Could the buyers have gone after the sellers in small claims court? I think they'd have a strong case. Would it have been worth it? Not at all.

We recommended our clients to trusted vendors and are happy to say they are now living in a dry, leak-free home.