I learned a lot from this mistake. Technically it wasn’t my fault, but I felt like it was, or at least I could have handled the situation differently.
It was october and I got a call from an advanced age Italian gentlemen(Let’s call him J, 86 years old) We could barely understand each other.
-Ciao, I am selling my house in NY and need to buy one here. He said with a heavy italian accent.
I have my accent too so with some effort we both agreed to meet at his nephew’s house to start the process.
I arrived to his nephew house. A small house in Hollywood but once you got in it seemed like an Italian Palace. Beautiful furniture, exquisite dinerware and tasteful decoration. While we discussed budget, location and the process the nephew’s wife, a sweet lady, brought delicious Italian delicatessen and coffee.
- I have cash, let’s see homes said J.
Next day, I presented a list of properties and after a quick review he picked.
- This one, this and this one.
Long story short, we visited a few properties and find the one he liked. He agreed to present an offer.
What would any agent in Florida?
Get the AS IS contract, fill the blanks with the offer price and terms and… voula… to listing agent.
Everything was flowing smoothly.
Listing agent called the evening after with the good news!
-Seller accepted your offer.
Ok, now I got with J and explained, we need to do the inspection.
And so we did. Inspector found a few issues worth of mentioned and seller agreed to repair.
With some effort we passed the walk-through and closed.
But the worst was yet to come.
A week after closing J calls me all upset:
-You tricked me, it is a “chiave” blablabla, I couldn’t understand. There is a leak!!#$%#$
After he calm down, he passed me with his nephew that explained to me:
-He is upset because he didn’t know it was an AS IS contract and inspector should noticed the leak. In New York apparently it is not common the AS IS contracts.
I can swear I mentioned to him we need to inspect because once we close there is nothing to do. But I take my responsibility, I should have stressed it more.
Since I don’t like my clients with bad experiences I got together with the inspector and we did go see the leak. Water was pouring from inside the paint. Seller fixed in a very precarious way the leak and painted over without disclosing the existence of the problem.
You would tell me to call the listing agent right?
Believe me I tried, called and called for 3 days in a row. Finally I got through and explained the situation. She laugh at me and said it is an AS IS contract.
I am not an attorney but I am pretty sure “failure to disclose” will win over “AS IS” in court. But would it be worth for my 86 year old client?
Most likely not.
I then called a contractor friend I refer lots of work. He assessed and repaired the issue.
My lesson learned: I need to take time to explain the situations and don’t just assume the most common things are common for everyone.