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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Default Recourse for Buyer in Short Sale for Frozen Pipes

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: WA. We closed escrow on 12/10 on short sale (seller closed at same time/place). Got heat/gas on 12/11 and water turned on 12/13. Pipes froze in mid-November. Pipes burst, water damage on 12/13. Are seller/agent responsible for winterizing house before close of escrow? What recourse does buyer have for repair of damages and replumb of pipes that froze/damaged?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Recourse for Buyer in Short Sale and Frozen Pipes

    of course you had the home inspected, right? When? Was the home sold "as is"? When did you last view the home? Did you test the plumbing systems in your visit?


    Unless the seller resided in the home at the time the pipes froze, it would be unlikely they were aware of the problem so the disclosure is not an issue.

    Are seller/agent responsible for winterizing house before close of escrow?
    nobody is responsible for winterizing the system. Depending on the timing of an inspection (if there was one), when the sellers moved out, and the closing, it may have been a question you should have asked ahead of time.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    3

    Default Re: Recourse for Buyer in Short Sale and Frozen Pipes

    We had the home inspected at a date prior to the freeze. "As is?" . . .as of when? When we signed that document? Before freeze? After freeze? Signing of escrow documents? When does the "as is" clause take that snapshot that defines "as is" of the condition of the property? I assume "as is" is of date we signed that specific document? What question should I have asked ahead of time? I did however, enter the house with the selling agent just before time of freeze and express concern about the water being off, heat being off and freezing outside temperature.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Re: Recourse for Buyer in Short Sale and Frozen Pipes

    I would expect the "as is" to refer to the date and time of closing. To find out the terms of your contract, you will have to read the contract.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Recourse for Buyer in Short Sale and Frozen Pipes

    How can you narrow down the damage to mid-November? How can you prove it wasn't the night of Dec 10th?



    I did however, enter the house with the selling agent just before time of freeze and express concern about the water being off, heat being off and freezing outside temperature.
    I presume these were all on when you had the home inspected.

    We had the home inspected at a date prior to the freeze.
    and with the water on, there was obviously no sign of leaks or damage, right?

    I did however, enter the house with the selling agent just before time of freeze and express concern about the water being off, heat being off and freezing outside temperature.
    and s/he said???


    It sounds you likely have a claim for the damaged pipes and some portion (maybe all) of the damage. I say some portion simply because your actions after discovering the leak could alter the answer. If you took all actions to limit the damage, you would likely be owed all the damages. If you failed to limit the damage, you would be liable for some share of the damages.


    and to clarify a statement I made in my previous post:

    nobody is responsible for winterizing the system.
    while nobody is specifically responsible for winterizing, that does not mean nobody is liable for the resulting damages should the house not be winterized.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Recourse for Buyer in Short Sale and Frozen Pipes

    Thanks jk, all good points to ponder as I proceed with insurance/contractors and negotiations with selling agent/seller/attorneys! I can narrow date of damage to date of last freeze in area on 11/22-11/23. I also entered house on 11/16 with selling agent prior to freeze and voiced concern, but don't think I have proof of meeting except maybe his lock box (don't know how much info that records)--that's only putting him there on that date, but doesn't record conversation. I was onsite when water was turned on, on 12/13 and water company turned off as soon as leaking began (within a minute--surprising how much water can gush out of pipes in that short of time!), so we reduced water damage. Insurance company is paying for repair of broken pipes (and resulting property damage), but no more plumbing, but plumber says all pipes may have been compromised/weakened by freeze (could just be ploy to get bigger job of replumb). Lots to sort out.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Recourse for Buyer in Short Sale and Frozen Pipes

    if the known damages are being taken care of by the insurance company, you will have been made whole and have no additional claim against the seller.


    I would suggest a very thorough inspection once the repairs are made and water restored just to be sure there are no other damaged pipes not already discovered.

    You are not going to get all the plumbing replaced due to this. The plumber is correct in theory but unless it can be proven, it is a functional pipe and that is all that is required.

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