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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Dream--2+2=1? Attention to Details in Real Estate Transactions

Do you ever get frustrated when you talk to folks thinking they just are not listening, or they have to have something wrong here?


I seem to find this happening often--especially when I talk to anyone in government related work--I wonder often how anyone gets a fair trial for instance as I know whenever I've spoken to a police officer after some kind of incident they've gotten many details wrong or not even listed them.

This seems to happen in all realms, not only in government--but more prominently so there. I'm finding that this happens with health records, grocery receipts, store receipts, library records, real estate deals, taxes, and all manner of pretty darn important transactions. I can recall a few times over the years when I sat in a doctor's office and realized he or she didn't know which drug my child was allergic to, or had not updated a record that specified which medication I am on. Scary!

Today I'm seeing how non-attention to detail can cause trouble in a real estate deal. Right now I'm waiting to see how things will go with our offer on the partly finished house we would like to purchase.

So far, its pretty amazing how details seem to get tossed about like salad ingredients, and Hubby and I seem to be the only folks concerned about it.


Yesterday I called the county about the permits and inspections that have been done on the house we are looking at. The seller had told us he'd had inspections done that were needed so far, but of course, nice as he seems I feel its important to make sure I have proof of that. Well-- the county had records of 2 permits and one inspection. The inspection was a footing inspection done in 2007. The footing is the first thing done, before the rest of the foundation is laid and the frame built.

This didn't make sense to me. I looked at this house and the older man who has been building it--mainly alone--on a pay as you go basis. The seller told me he has worked on the house for 4 years. The house looks as if it has been there for nearly that long. How on earth could the footings have been inspected in June 07?

The county said he has not had any other inspections. He insists the foundation and frame have been inspected and passed. The realtor says, not to worry, it is not uncommon for the county to lose such records. The seller apparently can't find his copies either.

In our offer we had to insert a contingency that there must be proof the foundation and frame have passed a county inspection. I feel bad for the seller because I know he is obviously not well off, he and his wife are in poor health and struggling--and this will cost him $400 to have this inspection re-done (assuming it was done once). What if it doesn't pass? Well then this deal may be over, or there may be a remedy-but it will cost something.

The thing that bugs me is--details matter. I have to insist on them for our protection.

I'm bugged because I've dealt with folks who don't listen before and it is not uncommon. Sometimes people get in big trouble because they relied on someone else to be attentive to details and they weren't.

Writing our offer was a bit of a pain. It took quite a while to make sure what was being done made sense. By the time it was done and signed we realized that some details had been missed again!

I must blame the realtor for this.She seemed so disorganized when were at her office that I think it made this whole process take too long and end up confusing. I'm not terribly impressed with the realtor--but what's unfortunate is I don't think there's much we can do about that except hope that the lawyer handling the title and all the details makes sense of the mess and it comes out right at closing--if there is a closing.

From what I've seen in evidence here the big problem is people not listening and not keeping track of what they are doing or actually reading documents. Its going to cost someone, I guess I feel bad about that but its my job to make sure its not me that pays for other people's mistakes.

I'm not perfect by a long shot, some of my posts here have been hastily written and have typos or a bit of detail that is wrong--I know that. They aren't important transactions though. I'm not detailing the scene of a crime or inspecting a house or writing offers to purchase here. Nonetheless, I often come back and repair/ edit things I realize I've done wrong in my writing and I re-check recipes and receipts and math on things several times usually to make sure I'm doing things right.

Why? Well it matters. Not everything is rocket science of course, but its one thing to have one too many carrots in a soup, its a whole 'nother thing to buy a house not knowing if the frame and foundation are legal and safe.

When it comes to important transactions, if two plus two doesn't equal four, I want to know why and I want it corrected.

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