Am I going to be screwed?

Sam WaltonSeptember 27, 2011

I am in the process of closing on a 50 year old home in NJ. Tentative closing date is 10th of next month. Attorney's review was completed on 08/19 and I did home inspection on 08/30. Things got delayed because of Irene. Inspection report has all sort of small problems typical of a 50 year old house but few things stood out. There was mold in the crawlspace because of stagnant water there. Home inspector advised me to do a mold remediation and re-grading soil around the foundation so water can not get into the crawlspace. I immidiately reported this matter along with an other problem of worn out service entrance cable to the seller's attorney.

They took a week to acknowledge saying they had a bad computer problem. It took them another week to respond that they will fix everything (mold in crawlspace/regrading soil/replace service entrance cable). Another week passed and I was informed today that they are willing to give me cash credit at closing instead of fixing all these problems.

The seller is saying that she will get a quote for the mold remediation work as well as re-grading if necessary. I am highly suspicious that they will hire a third grade contractor to generate a quote and try to lowball me on repair costs. I really want this home as fits my bill perfectly but it can cost me quite a bit if I have to take care about every pending problems. Do you guys have any suggestion to handle this situation?

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You can ask to get your own quote by bringing in your contractor. You can ask and make it part of your offer. Doesn't mean they agree but I would insist on it.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 10:55PM
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Yes, that's what I would do also because if you get them to do the repairs instead of crediting you, they can get them done by a third rate contractor.

I am also buying a house in NJ.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 11:58PM
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Call your lender and let them know that the seller is going to give you a cash credit towards repairs. They could have problems with it.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 6:10AM
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When our inspection discovered mold in the house we bought in NY, the sellers wanted to have us do the work and give us a credit at closing. But our bank said that they would not close on a property with a known mold issue. So the sellers had to remediate prior to closing.

I think it worked out much better that way. The remediation company took 2 tries at remediation before they got it right, and the sellers ended up having to spend much more than they thought. Make the seller do the work, and then have them provide evidence of the work passing a mold test.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 1:24PM
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You need to have them get the repairs done. With a home that old they may run into other items when they perform these repairs, and then they will have to deal with it, or at least you will know what you are on the hook for.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 6:30PM
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You have a lot of different opinions from all over the country. Real Estate is done differently in almost every state. What you describe are pretty typical inspection issues on the East Coast for a 50 year old home. Mold in the crawl space is easily remedied. You can either have the seller fix it by a reputable company or you can get your own estimate from a company you are comfortable with and see if the seller will use the company of your choice.

Its a simple fix! I would not involve the lender. Depending on the type of mortgage you are getting, it can open up a whole can of worms that can delay things for weeks or months!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 11:34PM
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Regardless of who handles the mold issue, make certain that a reputable professional environmental firm is hired for the task. They know proper sampling protocol, and they also have the education and training to effectively deal with mold. Do not agree to the hiring of those who attended a quickie mold is gold course, as they lack the sufficient scientific protocol training for proper sampling and handling.

Below is a link to the NJ Dept of Health and Senior Services site that states the following:

NJ DHSS Laboratory Listing

"Microbiological Laboratories [pdf 43k]
This list is being provided as a service to residents of New Jersey. These companies are available for obtaining environmental health services in residences. The NJDHSS DOES NOT ENDORSE OR QUALIFY the work or services provided by these private companies. There are no State certification programs for companies performing microbiological analysis. This list is not inclusive and other environmental companies or organizations may provide these services."

Here is a link that might be useful: NJ DHSS Indoor Environmental Quality Laboratory Listing

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 3:45PM
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