Misleading MLS info...leading to potential contract fight?

10 Replies

We are currently under contract on buying a condo in Florida with a June 2nd closing date. The original MLS listing stated a number of things...

1: "Recent exterior building renovations have been completed, including a new roof and sewer lines.  

2: "Laundry Appliances Included: Washer / Dryer Hookup"

We asked seller & the sellers realtor what "newer" meant, during our first visit to the property and was told face to face & again via text, the roof was installed 4-5 years ago & had a 30 year warranty.  After the inspection & now the appraisal, we are learning that the roof was installed in 2003 (18 years ago) and had only a 10 year warranty.  Additionally, there is NO WASHER/DRYER Hookups at all and vented dryers are not even permitted.  Both of these a concerning to us.  

Q: Do you think we have any option here to potentially challenge the contract and back out without sacrificing our full $13,000 deposit?  We have already spend over $1,000 on appraisals and inspections.  Looking for insight here, before we involve the attorneys.  

Are you still in your inspection/DD phase? If so then likely yes you can back out and should likely get your EMD returned. If not, then it's less likely since you didn't do it during the provided DD time frame.

Ultimately without seeing the PSA, no one knows what the contract actually says to be able to confidently answer your question.

Thx for the reply... and Nope were beyond the inspection phase. We didn't know we were still pending any of this additional info. Assumed what we were told (4-5 years/30 yr warr.) was factual. Wasn't until HOA board corrected that info to us, just a couple weeks ago.

@Jimmy Marsh I don’t think you have any grounds to back out 

Texts/verbal conversations are not part of your contract. Roof age needed to be verified during your inspection period. 
It is obvious to the eye if there are washer/dryer hookups. Usually theses types units get the stackable “ventless” washer/dryer combo. 

Originally posted by @Jimmy Marsh :

Thx for the reply... and Nope were beyond the inspection phase. We didn't know we were still pending any of this additional info. Assumed what we were told (4-5 years/30 yr warr.) was factual. Wasn't until HOA board corrected that info to us, just a couple weeks ago.

The MLS listing has a disclaimer that basically says information is factual to their knowledge, but not guaranteed and should be verified. The entire reason you hire an inspector is to verify major things like roof age and condition. From what you are saying, you found out two weeks ago. Did you contact the sellers agent and make a formal request at that time? Even if you are contractually past time lines, it doesn't stop you from raising an issue and attempting to negotiate. That being said, now you are two weeks after finding out.

What does your real estate agent recommend is the best course of action? Is the HOA responsible for the roof replacement? Do you have information on the HOA's financial situation?

@Jimmy Marsh what a pain in the A**! so sorry you're going through this.  However, as many others have stated without looking at the actual contract its hard to tell.  But usually you can only back out during DD period, again as others have stated.  So if you are beyond that you are essentially saying you agreed to the property as it was.  

While frustrating and annoying and certainly it feels crappy to get lied to like this I'd encourage you simply to re-run the numbers.  Regardless of the roof issue or not being able to have a vented dryer...do the numbers still make sense, and can you simply take your licks and make the best of it.  If this kind of thing takes the deal form a good deal to a bad deal.  Then It might be worth consulting a local real estate attorney.  but if a new roof and vented dryer take it from a good deal to a bad deal...I'd honestly question if it were a good deal to begin with. But thats just me!

@Joe Splitrock @Michael K Gallagher Thanks for the replies.  The numbers still do work.  Appraisal came in $10,000 over sale price, so that's good, as long as we don't have to replace a roof anytime soon.  But I did pay full asking.  

There are only 36 units in the association. We estimate the roof replacement would be upwards of $400,000+ (maybe more in todays material environment) The HOA financials have nowhere near that amount in reserve. ($90,000) Remember, there was no way for our inspector to know the year of the roof. We asked seller to supply this info and was told one thing, then the HOA came back and said something different. 18yo roof that only carried a 10yr warranty, is concerning for us. FTR: We feel a bit slighted here, but will likely continue in order to meet our commitment.

Originally posted by @Jimmy Marsh :

@Joe Splitrock @Michael K Gallagher Thanks for the replies.  The numbers still do work.  Appraisal came in $10,000 over sale price, so that's good, as long as we don't have to replace a roof anytime soon.  But I did pay full asking.  

There are only 36 units in the association. We estimate the roof replacement would be upwards of $400,000+ (maybe more in todays material environment) The HOA financials have nowhere near that amount in reserve. ($90,000) Remember, there was no way for our inspector to know the year of the roof. We asked seller to supply this info and was told one thing, then the HOA came back and said something different. 18yo roof that only carried a 10yr warranty, is concerning for us. FTR: We feel a bit slighted here, but will likely continue in order to meet our commitment.

 It may be different in your city, but in my city the building permits are public records. As part of the property inspection, they do an address search and they list any permitted work on the inspection report. Roof replacement requires a permit. Sometimes the records don't go back far enough, but they usually not that and say 15+ years (or however far back they go). I am not sure what type roof you have on the property, but asphalt shingles generally have 20, 30 or 50 year warranties. Warranty period doesn't necessarily directly correlate to life span. That is where the inspector can help by getting up on the roof and evaluating condition. They must have though the roof looked good if they didn't flag it in the inspection. Odds are good if the roof is in good condition now, you have at least several years left.

I understand your frustration, but after doing this many years, I have little faith in what a property listing or real estate agent says. Trust but verify is the rule with everything.

Is there a check box on roof age? I don’t see it in Nevada (probably because fo the tile roofs), but properties listed in MN say roof is more/less than 8 years old, check a box. (Probably because they aren’t expected to last much beyond 10.)

Are you still within the HOA approval timeframe? I don't know how they could say they are financial responsible if they have 18 year old roofs and no capex set aside. Usually they'll do all the roofs at once, pay 1/2 out fo pocket and asses the other 1/2. At least that's what happened to me in MN ($7500 was my end of it.)

Are you using an agent? If your agent knew that the roof age would be a deal breaker for you, they should have confirmed it during your due diligence/inspection period.