Friday, September 12, 2014

Buyer beware and other adventures in consumer law

Interesting times in our house this week.  On Monday I put in an offer on house on behalf of my parents.  Looked just right.  Felt I might have to haggle a bit over the price so I worked out my strategy and I put in the first offer subject to (and this is the key point) a building and pest inspection. 

On Wednesday, a nice inspector looked at the property.  On Thursday, I rang him and found out that this lovely four-year old property has a drainage problem and the concrete slab has lifted and that's a major structural problem.  Because the house was so new, the damage was not yet visible when we had a good (but amateur) look around the property before putting in an offer. But if we'd bought the house, and obliviously waited a few years, we would have been rewarded with all the tell-tale signs of cracked brickwork and doors that no longer open and close properly.  And we would have had problems re-selling the house.  So glad we forked out the money for the inspection!

Photo credit: krosseel from

I explained this politely to the real estate agent later that day.  He tried to talk me into continuing the contract.  I was confused.  Maybe the problem wasn't such a big deal.  I rang the inspector back and told him the estate agent was giving me some push-back about cancelling my contract.  The inspector told me that he had been very direct with the real estate agent and had told him that any remedy to the situation would require consulting a structural engineer.  "Hang on," I said, "Did you just say that you had told all this to the agent yesterday?  Because I just spoke to him and he acted as if he was completely unaware of the issues and tried to talk me into continuing to buy the house!"  I was, shall we say, unimpressed.

I firmly cancelled the contract this afternoon.

Meanwhile, I was also on the case of untangling the mess that had been made by hackers in my Skype account.  Skype, bless their hearts, have been very helpful and stopped all the early morning texts coming through from Denmark and Sweden.  And they also refunded me the cost of the 1012 unauthorized texts sent from my account.  Nice Skype.

If only everyone who was selling products had such good service (I'm looking at you, Mr Sneaky-the-real-estate-agent).


CardsAsGifts said...

Good on you for being smart enough to get inspection

Deb said...

@CardsAsGifts: scary isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Dodgy. But I'm not too surprised. We had some work done on our house when we were your way and the contractor had some horror stories about some of the new houses in the area. Very uncool of the realestate agent though. I pity the people he eventually sells it to... J

Sarah said...

I'm so glad my dad is a retired real estate agent and will know exactly what to suss out should we ever want to buy a house.