TRUE CLIENT STORIES - first time home buyers

by Mark Broady, for The Surban on Monday, January 8, 2018
Part 1 of a four-part series

Earlier this year a young couple who were expecting their first child, were referred to our team by long time family friends. (For the sake of our story, lets call them Kevin & Stacy). They were really excited about finding a new home in which to start their new family and entrusted us to guide them through the complex process of navigating the West Island real estate market. 

Unfortunately for Kevin & Stacy, what should have been a positive experience, spiralled into a very stressful situation as their dream home purchase quickly deteriorated into suspicions of fraud, a break down in communication and a nightmare experience with their insurance company over aluminum wiring. 

Kevin and Stacy were even contemplating walking away from the deal. If you’re curious to hear more, keep reading and you just might learn something new. We certainly did! 

Now… these were motivated buyers who knew what they were looking for. They were financially qualified and pre-approved for a mortgage, and they had done their homework. We had them in for an in-depth buyer consultation and had a keen sense of what kind of home would be a great fi t. 

Over the next few weeks we sent them listings and set up a few visits to view properties. We even managed to have them preview some upcoming listings that hadn’t even hit the market yet. Things were going well but unfortunately, inventory was slim and nothing they had seen quite fit the bill. 

After a series of showings, a few weeks went by with no news from Kevin and Stacy. We finally got a call from Stacy who told us, 

“I feel bad saying this, because we appreciate everything you’ve done for us so far… but Kevin and I have found a house through a family friend and it looks like we’re going to make a deal with the seller privately.” 

“Wow, that’s fantastic!,” We said, “Are you sure you feel comfortable handling it all on your own?” 

“Yes we do – everything seems very straightforward.” 

“That’s great, congratulations then. And even if things all seem very straight-forward, you never know what can happen during a transaction. So, if you need any advice or have any questions, please call us. We are here to help.” 

Looking back, however, we now see where we failed Kevin and Stacy. 

You see, even though we tried to warn them that things can get complicated, and took them at their word that they were comfortable handling their own transaction, we should have known better. We should have followed up sooner and asked to see their inspection report, because sure enough a few weeks later Stacy reached out to us, distraught that no insurance would cover them prior to the signing at the notary. Apparently, the home they bought had aluminum wiring. No big deal right? Half of Kirkland, DDO and much of Beaconsfield have homes with aluminum wiring. What could be the issue? 

Although they did have the property inspected prior to moving forward with the purchase, and the inspector pointed the aluminum wiring out, he did not warn them about the potential implications and that this system needed to be inspected and certified for their insurance provider. It didn’t seem like a major issue to them, so they moved forward with their purchase and the sale became firm (with a speedy occupancy date, to boot!). Had we been involved at that point, we would have insisted on an electrical inspection, at the seller’s cost of course! 

So, there we were, trying to help Kevin and Stacy figure out how to handle this issue within 5 days of signing for the home. Multiple calls to electricians revealed that the seller had the aluminum wiring inspected by an electrician a few months prior, but had failed to disclose the report which contained recommendations for extensive repairs before the home could be certified as safe. Kevin and Stacy were mortified! 

At this point, they were ready to simply default on the sale and not show up to the signing – they were prepared to lose the house over this. However, with our help and involvement, we ended up negotiating a settlement from the seller in order to cover the cost of repairs needed for the buyer’s home insurance. 

We didn’t make any commission from this sale, but that’s not important to us. What matters is that our clients found a great home, and that we were still able to protect them from a costly issue.