A house that at first appeared to be the answer to a woman's dreams has now turned into a nightmare. Local 12 Troubleshooter Howard Ain says she's learned a lot about buying a house, and wants to share those lessons with everyone.
Emily Willoughby and her husband were looking for a house for themselves and their 2 young children. They contacted a real estate agent and found a home in Independence. "I fell in love with the house as soon as I walked in. We're a one income family. We would never have taken on something we knew we couldn't take care of."
Willoughby picked a home inspector from a list given by her real estate agent to check this 19 year-old house. "I wanted it to be safe for my daughter. That's why I went with the inspector. She's very asthmatic."
Willoughby says the inspector found no major problems, but she did after buying the house. "The roof is bad, leaks coming in. I did not expect that my husband would be downstairs sucking up the basement the first hard rain we got when we lived here."
In addition, they found major problems with the furnace. They say both it and the air conditioner have to be replaced. Problems with the chimney means cold air is coming in and they had to put plastic around the opening. Willoughby says "I put my trust in the realtor. I put my trust in $350 of my husband's hard earned money for an inspector to come in and inspect my home."
She says at this point repairs to the house are so costly she's not sure she's going to be able to keep it and she has advice for anyone in the market for a new home. She says "Always have an attorney present. It's scary, I did not know you needed one. I did not know I could say to them move all your stuff out, I need to look closer. I need to make sure its safe for my daughter. Have an attorney present absolutely."
To be fair, some of the problems were disclosed by the home seller and others were found by inspector. But Willoughby says she felt pressured by her real estate agent to buy the house.
In addition to having your own lawyer to guide you, hire your own home inspector, one who is ASHI certified. Pick the inspector yourself without input from your realtor. That avoids any conflict of interest.