Monday, December 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Caught in a possible ‘double-ending’ sale

By
From page C2 | February 15, 2014 |

Q:  Late last year I bought my first home, a condominium. I should say upfront that, unbeknownst to me at the time, the Realtor who both listed the condominium and represented me in the sale is the president of the homeowners association. I never met the seller because they had long since moved out and this was a short sale.

As soon as I got in, I started to notice cracks were appearing on the walls. My dad used to be a contractor and he says the cracks had recently been filled in and painted over. He says that he’s sure the cracks are from a movement in the foundation of the building itself. He has a laser that measures how flat the floor is, and it turns out there’s a 2-degree slope in the floor. I called my Realtor who basically said it wasn’t his problem because the outside of the building, including the foundation, is the responsibility of the homeowners association. But, like I said, he’s the president of the homeowners association. I’m confused and don’t know what to do.

A:  Well, it’s wishful thinking on his part to think that the settling of the building, which I presume includes any number of other condo units, isn’t his problem.

There’s nothing illegal about a member of a homeowners association also being a Realtor who deals in the purchase or sale of the houses, or condos, in the association.

But this person wore two hats in the transaction.

Hat No. 1 was his Realtor cap. So let’s talk about that first.

Realtors are allowed in California to represent both the buyer and the seller at the same time. That’s not true in many other states, but it is here. However, they must disclose, in writing, that they are representing both sides (called, “double-ending” in the profession) and must get both the buyer’s and seller’s signature on a consent form.

So let’s assume he properly did that and you consented to his double-ending the sale.

He then has the same duty as any buyer’s real estate agent to do two things.

First, he has to disclose in writing anything he knows to be wrong with the property. Technically, the definition of “wrong” in this case is anything that might tend to make the buyer believe the property is worth less than it would be if the thing wasn’t wrong.

Now under normal circumstances, a Realtor probably wouldn’t suspect a house is moving if all of the signs, such as the cracks, were covered over by the seller. But it’s quite possible the president of the HOA had received complaints from your neighbors. If so, it became his job as your Realtor to tell you. It matters not that he got the information in his position as the HOA president.

Secondly, your Realtor has a legal obligation to inspect the property. To be sure, buyers shouldn’t read too much into this. Realtors, at least most of them, are not contractors or engineers and nor are they supposed to be. They aren’t required to crawl into the attic or under the house. They’re not expected to know the appropriate building codes.

They’re responsibility is to take a careful walk through and around the property, just as a conscientious buyer would, and identify areas of concern.

The classic example is a Realtor spotting cracks appearing at the corner to doorways that might indicate the house is settling. However, if the cracks are repaired and therefore not visible, the Realtor isn’t expected to spot them.

Since we’re talking about a condominium, I have no doubt the HOA is responsible for any repairs to the building and its foundation. So ultimately everything should be fixed.

But the fact that you paid a certain amount for the unit without knowing of the condition is a concern since you might not have paid so much knowing of the hassle that’s coming down the road. Not to mention the fact that you may be required to pay special assessments assigned by the HOA for what it likely an expensive repair.

So here are my suggestions: Start by going to everyone in the building and see if any of them are experiencing the same problems.  If so, find out if anyone had previously complained to the HOA about it.

If there were complaints before your purchase, your president/Realtor may have some personal responsibility to you.

It’s likely the actual seller of the property does too if you can show that they knew of the problem.

Perhaps more importantly, you and your neighbors have to unite to get the HOA to investigate and repair the problem. It’s their obligation regardless of whether you knew about the problem before you purchased the property.

Tim Jones is a real estate attorney in Fairfield. If you have any real estate questions you would like to have answered in this column you can contact him at SolanoScene@TJones-Law.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Christmas comes early to San Marco Street park

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Travis squadron delivers Christmas gifts to East Tabor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

How this chunky Wade met Chunky Wade

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Multiple car accident blocks I-80 in Vacaville

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Solano Kwanzaa celebration set for Vallejo return

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Lawyers off free legal advice in Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
 
Famous Creations’ toy drive and cupcake sale

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Last-minute shopping at Vacaville Premium Outlets

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Kitchen fire dislocates family for Christmas

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Fairfield police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Weather for Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Timeline of events before and after NY cop deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

A look at the 2 NYC officers killed in ambush

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
What’s being said about killings of 2 NYC officers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Killer of 2 NYC officers had long criminal history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Killings of 2 New York officers trigger backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Pakistan makes arrests in Taliban school carnage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Florida authorities say 1 police officer shot and killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Tent city sprouts in shadow of downtown Detroit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Satanic Temple puts up display at Michigan Capitol

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Australian woman charged with murder of 8 children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Exit poll: Ex-regime official is Tunisia’s new president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
.

Opinion

Faust and the 2015 federal budget

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8

 
Obama, surgeon general still losing to NRA

By Francis Wilkinson | From Page: A8

Let the music begin

By Colleen Britton | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Dec. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Dec. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
 
Horoscopes: Dec. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Review: ‘The Interview’ deserves to be seen

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B7

Happy day: Elton John, David Furnish marry in England

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
TVGrid Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

‘Hobbit’ goes out on top with $90.6 million 5-day debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Good news from Tom Brokaw: His cancer is in remission

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

.

Sports

The Week Ahead: Not much of a break for Christmas

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Steelers, Packers win, move into playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders knock Bills out of playoffs with 26-24 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Kings snap 5-game losing skid, beat Lakers 108-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Burns gives Sharks late-night win over Blues in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Super-G crash makes Vonn wait in bid for record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL Roundup: Cowboys end 4-year drought, make playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
7 hurt when lightning strikes near Tampa Bay game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

India’s Arjun Atwal wins Dubai Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Documents: FSU QB Winston cleared in conduct hearing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

US companies eager to embrace Cuba face hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Survey: US gas prices fall 25 cents per gallon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Bart Ferro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Zits Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sudoku Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Crossword Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7