Water heater leak aftermath

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We went to have the house my kid is buying inspected. They had it winterized and then de-winterized. When they de-winterized it they left open the drain on the water heater. When the inspector came in three days later, we found water all over furnace room on the second floor, bowing in the garage ceiling and all along the drywall on the wall in the garage and soaked carpets in the hall way. The sellers "fixed" the water problems.. in less than 8 hours of work. I am suggesting that I should guffaw loudly at the assertion that the problem was fixed. It looks like they replaced the drywall in the garage ceiling and walls. They aren't giving me a real clear answer on what they did with the insulation and are stating that there was no black spots on the subflooring so no need to change out that. They did not even change the carpet padding. Also apparently had no fans or extraction machines there for more than 5-6 hours. Am I being shafted as much as I think I am.
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you're only being shafted if the sale goes through. If there's an inspection clause in the purchase contract, use it. If the seller gives trouble, offer to continue with the sale so long as the seller agrees to fix any future problems arising from this (say within a year or so). Make sure the agreement (in writing) includes some provision for an escrow account to be held by a neutral 3rd party until either the year has passed or until it's needed for mold remediation.
Seriously, I would try my hardest to back out of this. Get legal help if necessary.
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Year be long enough? I am also wondering how much should we escrow for mold. Seems like a rather open-ended amount to escrow.
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Kurt Ullman wrote:

I wouldn't want an escrow. I would want to see that this damage was repaired correctly right now. Mold takes a long time to grow and if it grows in areas that were covered up, like the garage ceiling, how will you even know it's there? If this is corrected right now, mold is not an issue. Later, it can be a big one.
This water flow was found soon after it happened. What is important is that you be able to verify that the areas were in fact correctly dried out. At the very least, you are entitled to another home inspection of these areas and the seller should pay for it. That inspection should include cutting a hole in the garage ceiling to see what they did there.
I agree that it's very suspicious if all this was repaired in 8 hours. The garage ceiling, walls, carpeted areas upstairs, etc would need to be opened up and allowed to dry for at least several days. Using some de-humidification eqpt would be appropriate too. I'd ask to see receipts for whatever was done, which they should have as it likely will be a claim to their insurance company.
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I don't know how much, you may want to call around to some mold-removal contractors to see if they can give you a ballpark. They would also be good ones to ask how long to write the contract addendum for. The seller will likely NOT go for this and will kick and scream the whole way. I only suggest it if you have no other way out of the contract.
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I dought the carpet is any good now, it will likely smell even if profesionaly cleaned. Mold will die when the walls dry, bad drywall will be visable but all damage may not occur for weeks till everything drys completely. A moisture meter should be used and a pro to go over what flooded. I would not accept their word, verify everything yourself. Also did the house freeze, then all pipes and traps must checked out for freeze damage.
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (m Ransley) wrote:

I know for a fact that they winterized it and then whoever de-winterized it did not fully close the drain valve on the heater and we were off to the races.
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Figure out what you would do if it was your house already and the water heater blew up. Estimate what that would cost you, and ask them to credit you that much plus %10 stupid tax. (don't call it that)
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I would call a company that specialize in this type of work and ask what the acceptable industry practices are.
If you are not getting straight answers from the seller, I would be real concerned and seriously consider backing out of the deal. An escrow account is a good ideal but do you really want the hassle? Get this resolve NOW before he has your money. Once the deal closes you lose all your leverage. This is his problem. Once you close it is your problem.
I find it odd that the carpet pad was not replaced. With that amount of water, I would have guessed (heavy emphasis on the word guess since this is not my area of expertise) that they would of pulled up the carpet and pad and allowed the sub-floor to dry out. Once the floor has dried out, It can be inspected for damage and replaced if necessary. If the sub-floor was tongue and grove wood planks, it is probably ok. If it was flake board, it could be trouble. As for the ceiling, the insulation should have been removed and the cavity allowed to dry. Bear in mind that as far as I know, mold needs water to grow. You need to research this or talk with a mold expert.
If you go through with this, I would demand that you be able to pull the carpet and pad up and inspect the floor below.
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no way did they fix it right so fast. typical seller wants it fast and cheap.
get a folloup inspection of the area with a future coverage clause. A home I owned had that for odors but I knew it wouldnt be a problem.
if they want a fast sale you might say we will take 5 grand to forget about it since by law they will be required to tell all future buyers of the accident....
gives you bargaining power. you are in charge bargain to save bucks.
what shape was the rest of the home?
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

What makes you think by law a seller has to tell all future buyers of a water leakage accident that was fixed and is no longer a defect. You sure don't have to do that here in NJ. If something is repaired, that's the end of it. Suppose I have a roof leak, find it and fix it. Are you saying I have to tell future buyers about that too? Or how about if a window went bad and I replaced that?
I agree that if it was not done properly, which it sounds like could be the case, then that needs to be addressed. But that's different than saying the seller has to tell all buyers about it.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

As to the roof leak, yes (even in New Jersey).
Obligations to disclose information about a property vary from state to state. Under some state laws the seller and the seller's broker, if there is one, are required to disclose all facts materially affecting the value or desirability of the property which are known or accessible only to him or her.
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Travis Jordan wrote:

That's complete BS. Following that logic, owners would have to keep a log of every repair ever made to a house. Should I tell them that in the summer of 1988 I had to use a plunger on a toilet too? LOL Have you ever even bought or sold a house? I've done it lots of times and no seller ever disclosed that kind of nonsense to me, nor did I to anyone else. If it was a roof leak and it was repaired correctly, that's the end of it, period.

And since when does a repair that an owner made to fix a roof leak materially affect the value of the property? Sure, if the seller was told by a home inspector that the foundation on one side is sinking and unsound, that would be something materially affecting the value of the property. But that is way different than a roof leak that was fixed.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Sure, I've bought a sold a few houses over the years.
http://www.nj.gov/lps/ca/adoption/dcado517.htm
EXCERPT: The property condition disclosure statement shall be in the following form and contain, at a minimum, the following information. Additional information may be requested if, in the opinion of the real estate licensee, and under the facts and circumstances of a particular real estate transaction, it would be appropriate to do so.
SELLER'S PROPERTY CONDITION
DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
Property Address: ______________
Seller: _______
The purpose of this Disclosure Statement is to disclose, to the best of Seller's knowledge, the condition of the Property, as of the date set forth below. The Seller is aware that he or she is under an obligation to disclose any known material defects in the Property even if not addressed in this printed form. Seller alone is the source of all information contained in this form. All prospective buyers of the Property are cautioned to carefully inspect the Property and to carefully inspect the surrounding area for any off-site conditions that may adversely affect the Property. Moreover, this Disclosure Statement is not intended to be a substitute for prospective buyer's hiring of qualified experts to inspect the Property.
/snip/
ROOF
Yes No Unknown
4. Age of roof _______ 5. Has roof been replaced or repaired since seller bought the property? 6. Are you aware of any roof leaks? 7. Explain any "yes" answers that you give in this section:
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Travis Jordan wrote:

Oh yes, I forgot this paragraph which deals directly with the leaking water heater:
40. Are you aware of any leaks, backups, or other problems relating to any of the plumbing systems and fixtures (including pipes, sinks, tubs and showers), or of any other water or sewage related problems? If "yes," explain: _______
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Travis Jordan wrote:

The water heater isn't leaking. A valve was left open which resulted in a small flood. If it was correctly fixed, then there is no leaking, no backup, nor any other problem that needs to be disclosed.
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Travis Jordan wrote:

Well you got me on the roof repair issue. Apparently this was adopted here in commie NJ within the last two years, which I guess should not surprise me, as this is one of the most corrupt and over regulated states in the country, where politicians would rather waste everyone's time on feel good regulation like this, rather than address real problems, like govt spending and taxes that are out of control. I'm sure lots of people will be surprised when they go to sell their house and are asked to provide answers about routine repairs of no consequence that they made years ago. According to this, if a shingle blew off 20 years ago, or there was a small leak around the flashing, the owner now has to disclose it, which shows the mentality of the morons that write this crap.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Don't feel singled out -- the majority of states now have similar disclosure documents. I suppose too many sellers tried to pawn off known house defects onto inexperienced or novice buyers, and the backlash is what resulted in this regulation.
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Thanks for the input from everyone. She decided to walk (actually more like run) away.
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Kurt Ullman wrote:

With supply up and house prices declining now in most parts of the country she'll get a better deal on the next one.
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