First time homebuyers left with disaster home after skipping the inspection

Downsides of skipping a home inspection
Posted at 5:25 PM, Aug 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 18:18:51-04

First time home buyer Jacob Pinder describes the experience as devastating. He bought into the Zillow ad that touted the mobile home as move-in ready and well maintained.

But after moving in Jacob and his fiancé Amy discovered extensive damage behind walls and under the home’s outside trim. They also found a termite inspection sticker on the breaker box.

We found that prospective buyers paid for the termite inspection in April. The realtor representing those buyers confirmed her office verbally relayed the infestation discovery to Remax Real Estate Agent Charlene Angelo. Angelo is listed in closing documents as the listing agent.

While Angelo did not return repeated phone calls for comment, her office Remax Realty One sent this statement denying she knew about the termites:

"Regarding accusations that RE/MAX Realty One knowingly, as a Listing Transactional Agent, misrepresented the condition of this listing during a transaction. The subject property is located at 5511 S. Delilah Point, Homosassa, FL 34446.

  • RE/MAX Realty One has been representing buyers and sellers within our community for over 28 years.
  • Our Associate Charlene Angelo is a full time Realtor® who has been representing buyers and sellers for over 20 years.
  • RE/MAX Realty One was acting as a Transactional Agent on the seller’s side.
  • Buyer hired Plantation Realty to represent them on the buying side of the transaction.
  • Subject Property was listed on 10/11/16.
  • Realtor Charlene Angelo had been involved as a Transactional Agent on the buyers side once before in the sale of the subject property on June 9, 2014. She is familiar with the property and its former owners.
  • Buyer #1 submitted a written offer on May 29, 2017 with 10-day inspection period.
  • Inspection occurred on April 6, 2017.
  • On April 7, 2017, buyer #1 exercised their right under paragraph 12 of the Florida FAR/BAR ASIS Contract, to cancel without explanation. (document is attached with explanation for cancellation)
  • On April 7, 2017, after request, buyer #1 refused to share their reports or findings with the listing agent. Many people believe that when they pay for the inspections and written reports it becomes their proprietary information, and there is no question that they have the right to not share their findings.
  • On April 13, 2017, buyer #2 submits written offer with a 10-day Property Inspection and Right To Cancel Period.
  • Within this 10-day period, buyer #2 informed Plantation Realty Agent, despite their agent’s recommendation, that they were choosing to wave all professional inspections and would perform any inspections themselves.
  • Plantations Realty agent stated that they strongly advised their customer to have both a professional home inspection and a WDO inspection. Buyer #2 choose not to follow that advice.
  • In proceeding in this manner, buyer #2 disregarded paragraph 14 PROFESSIONAL ADVICE; BROKER LIABILITY of the Florida FAR/BAR ASIS Contract that was signed effective April 13, 2017. “PROFESSIONAL ADVICE; BROKER LIABILITY: Broker advises Buyer and Seller to verify Property condition, square footage, and all other facts and representations made pursuant to this Contract and to consult appropriate professionals for legal, tax, environmental, and other specialized advice concerning matters affecting the Property and the transaction contemplated by this Contract. Broker represents to Buyer that Broker does not reside on the Property and that all representations (oral, written or otherwise) by Broker are based on Seller representations or public records. BUYER AGREES TO RELY SOLELY ON SELLER, PROFESSIONAL INSPECTORS AND GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES FOR VERIFICATION OF PROPERTY  CONDITION, SQUARE FOOTAGE AND FACTS THAT MATERIALLY AFFECT PROPERTY VALUE AND NOT ON THE REPRESENTATIONS (ORAL, WRITTEN OR OTHERWISE) OF BROKER. Buyer and Seller (individually, the “Indemnifying Party”) each individually indemnifies, holds harmless, and releases Broker and Broker’s officers, directors, agents and employees from all liability for loss or damage, including all costs and expenses, and reasonable attorney’s fees at all levels, suffered or incurred by Broker and Broker’s officers, directors, agents and employees in connection with or arising from claims, demands or causes of action instituted by Buyer or Seller based on: (i) inaccuracy of information provided by the Indemnifying Party or from public records; (ii) Indemnifying Party’s misstatement(s) or failure to perform contractual obligations; (iii) Broker’s performance, at Indemnifying Party’s request, of any task beyond the scope of services regulated by Chapter 475, F.S., as amended, including Broker’s referral, recommendation or retention of any vendor for, or on behalf of, Indemnifying Party; (iv) products or services provided by any such vendor for, or on behalf of, Indemnifying Party; and (v) expenses incurred by any such vendor. Buyer and Seller each assumes full responsibility for selecting and compensating their respective vendors and paying their other costs under this Contract whether or not this transaction closes. This Paragraph 14 will not relieve Broker of statutory obligations under Chapter 475, F.S., as amended. For purposes of this Paragraph 14, Broker will be treated as a party to this Contract. This Paragraph 14 shall survive Closing or termination of this Contract.”
  • On April 23, 2017, per the Terms of the Contract, buyer #2 “Accepted the physical condition of the property and any violation of governmental, building, environmental, and safety codes, restrictions, or requirements, but subject to Seller’s continuing AS IS Maintenance Requirement, and Buyer shall be responsible for any and all repairs and improvements required by Buyer’s lender.
  • Seller did not supply and was not required to supply a standard “Sellers Disclosure.” Sellers were not the occupant of the home and merely acted to close an estate of a family member. 

I hope this clarifies the professional manner, we as RE/MAX Realty One take to assure a successful transaction for both buyers and sellers. The accusation that we or one of our associates would knowingly misrepresent the condition of a home is totally fabricated. Our reputation for providing real estate buyers and sellers professional guidance from talented agents who are skilled, driven and focused on achieving outstanding results is a testament in our small community. 

Kevin Cunningham, CRB, ACP, CLHM
RE/MAX Realty One

Now the couple is suffering the consequences for buying a home as-is without ordering an inspection. They fear being homeless as there is no money for extensive repairs.

Joe Perez heads up the Greater Tampa Realtors group. He says agents have an obligation to be honest about their listings. He explained it is considered a serious violation of the code of ethics to not disclose something that could seriously affect the value of a home.

 Pinder has filed a complaint with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the agency that regulates realtors.