Walk through before going to settlement Avoid bad surprises like a trashy house

Mailbag

February 02, 1997|By Michael Gisriel

Dear Mr. Gisriel:

I recently settled on a house. After settlement, when I arrived at the house, I noticed that the back storm door was gone and the house was full of trash and debris. Do I have any recourse?

Marcia Waters

Baltimore

Dear Ms. Waters:

I always recommend that a buyer of a house walk through it before settlement. You should try to schedule the final walk-through either the morning of or the day before settlement.

This way, any unanticipated problems such as your missing back door or trash and debris left in the house can be discussed and resolved at the settlement table -- usually by a credit to the buyer from the seller for the reasonable value of the missing item or cost of cleanup.

In your case, however, I suggest writing the seller a letter that explains the problem and suggest an appropriate remedy -- that is, a refund amount. If the seller balks, you can sue in small claims court. Remember, you'll have to be ready to itemize and prove your damages in court.

Questions?

Michael Gisriel is senior vice president of Fountainhead Title Group of Columbia and host of the weekly radio show "All About Real Estate."

Send real estate questions to Michael Gisriel, c/o Mailbag, Real Estate Section, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

You can also leave questions on Sundial by calling (410) 783-1800 and entering the code 6170.

Pub Date: 2/02/97

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