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Horror Story Of The Buyer Beware Variety

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Here is another installment in the Curbed Horror Story series. This time we hear about one (of the many) ways to get taken for a ride by a real estate agent. If anyone out there has a similar story that can be told in four hundred words or less, send it in to dc@curbed.com. We can keep your name anonymous as we did with this contributor.

We were first time home buyers over ten years ago and the learning curve was so huge. We looked at over three hundred houses so we really knew the market, but we still felt like we were getting screwed at every turn. The house we ended up buying was owned by a real estate agent so she sold it to us herself, but we also had our own agent acting on our behalf. You would think that a seller who is a real estate agent would be honest and upfront about any problems with the house, but that wasn't the case for us. There was bad workmanship all over the house and we had to have a lot of things fixed, but the biggest—and most expensive—problem was with the water pipe.

Early on when we first moved into the house I had a load of laundry on and I went to turn on the kitchen tap and no water came out. I tried the other taps but they were all bone-dry. When I called the prior owner to ask her if she knew what was wrong she said that we couldn't have more than one water source on at a time because the water pressure was too low. After further questioning she finally divulged that when the front porch addition had been built the builders had crimped the water pipe to the house and the flow was never going to be one hundred percent. She never disclosed this during any of the conversations about the house before we signed the paperwork—and she is a real estate agent so she knows she is supposed to do this. She told me that it was no big deal and we just had to do our laundry at night. Since my husband and I both worked in medical offices at the time we went through a lot of laundry and that wasn't going to work for us.

After a lot of back and forth with our agent and the home inspector it became pretty clear that this lady wasn't going to admit she had been wrong or offer to pay for any part of the repairs. Since any legal action would have been even more expensive, we had to solve the problem ourselves. It ended up costing $3,500 to have someone come dig up the front yard and replace the water pipe. Not to mention the huge part of the yard we had to put back together once they were done. Moral of the story? Always ask about water pressure.