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4 years ago
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Who is responsible for a non-working AC after I bought the house? We were told that it worked fine, but that we couldn't test it because it was freezing out.

We bought our home in January and for the first time, last week, turned on the AC which made noise but didn't cool. We had a guy come out to look at it and he said it doesn't look like it's worked in a year or so. We bought it from a couple who lived there (but traveled a lot) and they told us it worked fine the last time they used it, but we don't believe them based on what our professional told us.

Can we get them to pay for the repairs (it's like $1,700) because the contract said all systems had to be in "working order' and we couldn't test the AC because it was freezing out
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4 years ago
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This is not a big issues. Most homes bought, comes with a one year warranty. Contact your warranty company and have the repairs made. Sounds like the AC unit needs to be recharged and the center barrings needs to be greased. A small matter due to lack of use. Very common when dealing with mechanical units that are not often used. It would be a waste of time and money on your part to view this as a non-disclosure issue. $1,700 is a rip off and I question the motives of this so called professional. If the unit turns on... it functions. Just get it serviced and dump the chump feeding you the BS.
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4 years ago
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The statement "Most homes bought, comes with a one year warranty." is based on what? Your opinion? Only new homes are guaranteed to come with a warranty and the length depends on state law. Sometimes a warranty is available for previously owned homes, as there are many factors that determine eligibility.

Diagnosing the problem to be coolant and bearings based on the description is incorrect. There are quite a few other things that could be the problem, including something as cheap as a relay switch or as expensive as a new compressor unit.

A proper diagnostics check and second estimate is the best bet when given an expensive solution by the first guy to look at it.

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Red
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4 years ago
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I'm currently looking to buy a house and I can say FOR SURE that "most homes bought" do NOT come with a one year warranty. You have to separately purchase a home warranty and they run around $400 for basic coverage.

I would get a second opinion on the A/C unit, just to be sure what the guy is telling you is correct.

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2 months ago
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When you purchase a home you should have a home inspection and the inspector should have discovered a problem with the air conditioner. Also you should have made sure that a home warranty was purchased when buying a home. Now that is is several months later you should not be pointing your finger at the sellers. Contact your home warranty company. If you did not purchase a home warranty then that was a big mistake on your part. If you did not have a home inspection that was also your mistake too. Several months later the air conditioner could have just went out over age and its not the sellers problem its yours.

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4 years ago
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It is YOUR responsibility to obtain the proper inspections prior to closing. If you did have a home inspection prior to closing, then you need to talk to the home inspector regarding any items missed during inspection. Usually the AC is not operated in cold winter months due to potential compressor damage. The inspector should have put in his report that the AC was not operated during inspection. Also, not all homes bought come with warrantees. You must pay around $400 for a warrantee. If you didn't do these things, well..enjoy the new AC you just bought.
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4 years ago
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No, not if the contract states that everything is in working order. In that case, the seller is still responsible.

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2 years ago
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thats why there is a seller disclosure. they advise that everything is working "to their knowledge" and that can kill an argument or put it in a court room for months on end. Yes, if they said "everything is working" then it is their responsibility.
Along with that, you have to think about the fact its been a year. Who knows what could've happened? a compressor can give out anytime. i had a fuse bust in my car while i was driving down the road. things can happen at any time.

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2 years ago
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thats why there is a seller disclosure. they advise that everything is working "to their knowledge" and that can kill an argument or put it in a court room for months on end. Yes, if they said "everything is working" then it is their responsibility.
Along with that, you have to think about the fact its been a year. Who knows what could've happened? a compressor can give out anytime. i had a fuse bust in my car while i was driving down the road. things can happen at any time.

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2 years ago
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Some compressors actually operate in cold weather. Computer rooms have systems that work all year long. Any heat pump system operated the compressor to extract heat from the outdoors, in turn rejecting it into the indoors. Without knowing this, your statement saying that the compressor could potentially be damaged is only conjecture.

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4 years ago
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"Most homes bought, comes with a one year warranty. Contact your warranty company and have the repairs made. Sounds like the AC unit needs to be recharged and the center barrings needs to be greased. A small matter due to lack of use. $1,700 is a rip off and I question the motives of this so called professional. If the unit turns on... it functions. Just get it serviced and dump the chump feeding you the BS. "

This "ADVICE" is so incorrect and just plain wrong. Few homes come with any warranty at all unless it's brand new or you opurchase a 3rd party home warranty, if available.
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4 years ago
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Exactly. Very few homes come with a warranty. However, in most cases, the realty agency will sell one to the buyer.

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3 years ago
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Or at the least they will try to. And most wont buy it because it costs more money.

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michelle kolano
michelle kolano
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3 years ago
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Hi There,
I know this was originally posted a long time ago but I just have to get something off my chest; as a Full-Time, Full Service Professional in WA State, many buyers may end up with a Home Warranty regardless if the home is new, old, condo or single family. Sometimes it's offered by the seller or listing agent, negotiated as part of the contract or given as a gift from the buyer's agent. I often offer my client a HOW as a closing gift for this very reason, I work by referral so I can't afford an unhappy client. Often the Warranty info gets buried with all the other escrow docs, but a great Realtor is only a text message away and will have all the details - she should definately be your first call!

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4 years ago
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When you write a contract to purchase a home, it's the buyer's "right and responsibility" to write in an inspection contingency, then do the inspection and negotiate repairs with the seller after you've done your inspection. Closing constitutes acceptance of the property in the condition it is in when you close.
You don't mention having an agent. This is only one of the reasons to use a buyer's agent. You can't take a seller's word as gospel.
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3 years ago
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A. San,
I am not sure a Realtor would be of help. I have had realtors not disclose assessments fees, or that it was distressed when it was not published. I have been discouraged by Realtors to obtain home warranties. I don't think a buyer should rely on the realtor's word.

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4 years ago
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Contact your realtor. If the seller guaranteed that items like the a/c work, then it is a contract matter. At the very least, it is an honor system to repair it. You can always test the a/c, even in cold temperatures. It should have been tested during the inspection. Your realtor will know the law.
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4 years ago
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No, you can't test the A/C properly in very cold temperatures.

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Mark MonDragon
Mark MonDragon
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3 years ago
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Nancy,
Wrong on testing the A/C in temps. lower than 70 degrees. You can damage the condenser. Even a bump test can result in damages. We inspect hundreds of units and if their inspector didn't test it during a cold period then he did the correct thing.
Northern Nevada Property Maintenance & Inspections

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4 years ago
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Ah the lessons I learned as a first time home buyer are priceless! I suppose you should never take people's words for it, even if they dont know they are misleading you

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Mark MonDragon
Mark MonDragon
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3 years ago
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Testing an A/C unit under 70 Degrees can cause damage to the condenser. Even a bump test can result in damages. If you had an inspection and the inspector didn't test the A/C during cold weather he did the correct thing.
Northern Nevada Property Maintenance & Inspections.

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4 years ago
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The sellers disclosure statement, which every seller must sign when selling their house, asks the sellers to complete the document "to the best of their knowledge." So if the sellers really thought the A/C worked, because the last time they used it, it did, then most likely you will be stuck with the repair. If you can prove that the sellers intentionally did not disclose the truth to you, there are lots of case studies in which the seller was held responsible for deceiving the buyer. I know this is too little too late for you, but for other readers, a home warranty would have reduced or eliminated the cost of this repair, especially if you knew the system could not be tested in the winter.

I would recommend speaking with your Realtor and possibly an attorney, depending on the circumstances. Also talk to your neighbors. If the former owners were friendly with their neighbors, they might know something about the working condition of the A/C that will give you the information you need to move forward.

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3 years ago
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Don't listen to the people that say to use the home warranty. It will not cover this issue. It will be seen as a pre existing condition! Period. The warranty will only cover things that break due to normal wear and tear while you have had the home in your possession. FYI

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Laura Redhawk
Laura Redhawk
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4 years ago
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Just in case you end up in Small Claims court...DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. Inform both the real estate agent and the prior owners IN WRITING, by mail using a Certified/Return Receipt notice that there is a problem. In addition, if there IS a one year home warranty, there should be no big problem, but make jolly sure you also inform them via a follow up letter to your initial phone call, by the same method. This makes it a lot easier for a judge to see that you DID inform all parties within a timely manner to the closing, that there was a problem, you were led to believe would not exist. I experienced this same sort of issue with my first house purchase, with regards to the fireplace. "We don't use it, because we have expensive oriental rugs and you have to put the ashes in a pail and carry through the house, since there is no outside ash trap to push them out of..." I informed the agent, who informed the sellers...who then denied everything and lied in court. The Judge told me with a simple Certified/Return Receipt letter of notification, I would have won hands down. But they lied and said I didn't tell them within 30 days of closing! Good luck!

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4 years ago
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You are responsible.
If you purchased a one year home warranty or the seller provided one to you at the sale of the home, then follow those steps. Looks like you did not get covered either by the seller or bought a home warranty yourself. Sadly sounds like your first home ownership woe's.

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Bonnie Waller
Bonnie Waller
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4 years ago
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From what you are saying, I assume you didn't use a Realtor. If you mean it couldn't be tested because the outside weather was too cold "freezing", that is partially true. They could still test by turning it on and checking freon levels, etc. I would definitely get a second opinion about needing to be replaced at the price of $1700. If the unit was freezing up, that usually means that it is low on freon. Sometimes it is because it has a leak. That could be as simple as an "O" ring needing to be replaced for about $100 or the coil could have many holes and need replacing at a cost of around $350. However, I'm sure this info comes a little too late. You have probably already taken care of it. Also, if you had used a Realtor, he/she should have advised you to get an inspection and ask for a warranty and have the Seller pay for it. After the fact, unless you can prove that the Seller knew about it and concealed the defect (and that is sometimes hard to prove), it is your problem. If you want to try to sue whomever said "you can't inspect it because it's freezing.., it would be a small claims action that doesn't cost you very much. However, if you hire an attorney, you will have to pay him if you lose.

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Tracey Rosenblatt - TGR Group, Inc
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4 years ago
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The only homes that come with a home warranty are newly constructed ones, or the seller provides a home warranty which would be disclosed so the buyer knows about it. Any buyer i represent, i advise them always to purchase a home warranty at closing if the seller is not going to or already has one in place. In Florida you also wouldn't be able to make any claims on the home warranty for two weeks from the date of purchase of the warranty. The seller is responsible if the contract states that that it is in working order, but you only have a limited time to go after them. If you buy as home with an "As IS" contract the seller is not responsible for anything. I suggest you call a Real Estate Attorney and ask them and show them what you have.
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4 years ago
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Great advise Tracey!

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Margaux Milchen
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2 years ago
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not so, I got a home warranty for 2 yrs with mine, built in 1949 from Freddie Mac.

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3 years ago
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I'm so sorry to all of you that say most homes have a 1 year warranty. This is so far from true. If you want a warranty you have to purchase it.

To the home owner the only way this could be repaired and not out of your pocket is if you purchased the warranty or the seller paid for it for you. Or possibly as one of the other comment state is if your inspector stated that he could not check due to weather. If neither of these situations happened looks like you will front the bill.

Also I really wish people would realize that the entire world does not lie. As you stated the couple that owned the home traveled and that the last time they used it it worked. Maybe it did work and maybe they used it 5 years ago. None of us can know for sure. If I was in your situation I would just call it a lesson learned and I guess never buy in the winter because you never know if the AC will work. They can still test the heat when it's hot out.
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3 years ago
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C. Barnett,
The entire world does not lie. However when you are selling a home, would it be best to hire an inspector to know what needs to be fixed before you market it? Perhaps this should be a law. If homeowners are really not coming back in 5 years than it would show inside of the house. I think they probably did not disclose the broken air conditioner.

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4 years ago
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As the Buyer, it's your responsibility to have Inspections performed by qualified and licensed inspectors prior to purchasing the home, because that provides you with a written report of defects or issues you can negotiate with the Seller. And these negotiations will take place PRIOR to closing and your occupancy. If you elected not to have the property inspected, repairs are a liability you have to accept. Even if the Seller provided written Disclosures of the condition of the property, they will not provide the legal recourse that an Inspection report will. And the fact that several months later you found the AC was not working, is too late to ask the Sellers or your Realtor (if you had one - another reason to use a real estate agent) to remedy your problem. Systems always need repair throughout the life of owning a home. And even if the Inspection indicated the AC was functioning at that time, certainly several months later is an unreasonable period to expect anyone else to pay for it. But again, the important point is to make sure you BEFORE you purchase the home you conduct Inspections for the building, all appliances, systems, electrical, plumbing, heating and cooling, termites, radon, etc. Failure to do that eliminates your options to seek remediation later.

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4 years ago
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You need to see what your inspector told you about the AC if you did an inspection since the time to request something to seller is before the inspection deadline, after that, nothing can be done. If you did not request that to your realtor or if your realtor did not ordered for you an inspection without you signing a inspection waiver, then maybe something can be done with your realtor, if not, you can get new AC for 5k at home depot!!
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4 years ago
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David is right. A home inspection throughly checks everything in a home, cracks, electricals, even flooring. This is thier expert opinions. Most people purchase or choose not to purchase a home because of the report, which you should have a copy of as well as your previous realtor. Check the findings on report regarding the air conditioner.
If it shows it was checked and checked off as working and in good shape, you must call the inspectors who checked it out. The report is concise in regards to everything from top to bottom and underneath the house to the roof, basements, and attics, water heaters, inside the walls, fireplaces, everything. That report has their professional status of each area of the house, recommendations to check, fix, or watch out for items during the coming years.
Non disclosure does not come into play here, unless you did not have the home inspection. It only comes into play then and if you can prove that the realtor had the knowledge but refused to relay the information to you. This is almost a losing situation as the proof is in your court.
Sorry but David is right long story short.
And its always a good idea to make sure you keep the report in a safe place.

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Rich Ferretti
Rich Ferretti
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3 years ago
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Did you have a home inspection prior to purchase?

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3 years ago
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I don't know about Colorado law, but I know Texas law states that anything wrong with the home has to be documented before signing the contract and if it is not then it is a an act of fraud and you are able to get every penny you paid for he home back from the seller. If the seller confirmed that it worked and it was false it is a misleading act... Talk to your lawyer.

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3 years ago
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You should have had an inspector check this prior to your closing. Just because it is cold outside is no reason to not check out the furnace/handler and the a/c. The inspector should have given you a list that he checked everything out. Also, no one knows when a furnace or a/c is going to quit working. That is why you purchase the homeowner's warranty within 90 of your closing date. The price depends upon what items you want covered. This can be anywhere from $300 and up.
Once the papers are signed, and you haven't asked for an allowance to cover this, it is over. That is why it is called a 'closing'. Case closed. You have learned a valuable lesson. When you purchase a house you have an inspector --- inspect. Then you have a 'walk-thru' where you again check everything. You turn the water on, look, is it leaking under the sink? You turn on the furnace, does it heat up? You turn on the a/c, does it work? These items don't come with a guarantee though, just because it works in Jan does not mean it is going to work in June. Things rust out, they freeze up, they wear out. Buy a warranty when you close for the first year while you save up for unexpected home owner expenses.

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1 year ago
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This same situation happen to me! It's easy to say buyer beware when someone tricks you into buying something broken. I would blame the inspector for failing to properly inspect the home and the appraiser for failing to properly inspect the property for defects. The inspectors should have something called " errors and omission insurance" to cover these things.
Using a home Warranty for preexisting issues is fraud and anyone telling you to do so needs an ethics class. I asked the seller to help with the repairs and file a claim against the E&O policy of the appraiser. Anything breaks on my watch I can deal with but don't tell me everything is fine and not expect me to complain!

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4 years ago
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go for the home warranty angle, yes, usually a nonissue. if there is not a warranty,, crucify your realtor then get a personal referral for an hvac guy... not home depot. they just contract to hvac guy.
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4 years ago
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This has nothing to do with the realtor - call the inspector. Realtors are not inspectors, mind readers or miracle workers.

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3 years ago
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I love this site, thank you for teaching me what to look out for because I can never get enough education about buying a home.

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sylvia phillips
sylvia phillips
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3 years ago
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That is the purpose of Due Diligence. You obviously didn't take advantage of that. In the advent that you did, please look back at your findings and pursue those results. If it showed it worked good then call the Heating Air Conditioning Company that performed your inspections.

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2 years ago
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The house that I sell come with a comprehensive home warranty. Hi, This I$ a buyer's market. I SELL homes through a lease with the option to purchase. Must have verifiable income/employment, be willing to change some behaviors neccessary to improve your credit score (through HUD approved counselling agency...not the scams on the internet!), AND have at least 3% to move in.

You can visit www.buyproperty4lesstoday.com and complete your individual preferences. We'll locate homes and forward the info. to your email.

I work with homeowner's and real estate investor's EAGER to help you achieve the "dream" of home ownership!

Tell me what you're looking for at www.buyproperty4lesstoday.com and I'll locate it!

Thanx,
George

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Mike Nichols
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2 years ago
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Not unless you purchased it through a licensed Real Estate agent. Unfortunately, home sales are the same as car sales EXCEPT when you purchase from a Real Estate Agency who are regulated by the state and can be held liable if they give false or misleading information. If the deal was private you are stuck with it AS IS!!

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