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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:54 AM
Original message
practical evidence of energy shift
Yesterday I met with the 1st of a few realtors I'll be interviewing. I liked her immediately -- she's a transplanted Minnesotan who grew up on a cow farm. Her accent sounded very close to my western PA relatives :)

Her 1st question was what the deal was with my land. She saw when she researched that I had bought 5 1/2 acres. Now my property shows only 2 1/2 acres. She figured I'd "sold the equity" but couldn't find a record of the sale.

When I told her what had happened, I had no expectations beyond the usual lies, thinly veiled contempt or, at best, "tough break." So I was pleasantly surprised when she stated straight out that it was "misrepresentation" and she believed I should be compensated. When we discussed who I could sue, and I asked "what about the realtor?" she shut down immediately. That was *good* news. Ethically, she can't say to sue the realtor, plus it turns out the 4 big chains have a single owner. But in the past, I was fed lines why the realtor was in no way responsible or liable for what they advertised. That she simply "shut down" spoke volumes. She did mention, too, that 1/10th of an acre off is one thing. But this was *half* the land I'd paid for. Totally different animal.

So my mercury retrograde will be spent interviewing a couple more realtors...and one other lawyer I'd kept in my back pocket when my property issue came to light last year. I have until mid-July before it's too late to sue.
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I Have A Dream Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'm glad that you're starting to feel the difference, northernlights.
May you find the best person for you; one who has your best intentions in mind. May all work out for the highest good in reference to your land situation.

:hug:

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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
2. Best of luck with that
I think justice will prevail.
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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
3. Have you posted
the story of how you ended up with half the property you purchased? I don't remember what happened?
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I hadn't posted it
When I bought this place, it was advertised as 5 acres, some thousands of square feet (the math works out to 5.06 acres). The town tax maps showed it as 5.7 acres. It was the original farmhouse of what was once a very large place.

When the large place was first subdivided, the town guy drew this property as a rectangle and made it 15 acres combined with some land across the street.

When it was split from the land across the street, he listed it as 5.7 acres.

When the surrounding land was surveyed for further subdivision, and the survey recorded, he adjusted the drawing to reflect its correct shape (rectangle with a big chunk bitten out of it), but he "forgot" to change the acreage. "A mistake was made," in his words. When we had our conversation, I was very friendly and made it sound like I was going after the realtor. He still was shaking in his boots.

The realtor completely invented the square footage. The ad doesn't even say +-5 acres, just 5 acres. Last year a realtor friend did a comp for the time when I bought and came up with 2 similar nearby properties with 2-3 acres -- they sold for $40K less than I paid.

There is an attorney about an hour north of here that has one r.e. cases against towns as well as realtors. He occasionally takes cases on contingency. I don't know if there is enough money involved to tempt him. He is the one I will see. (He also happens to be from the PA town I was born in.)

There is a *lot* of fraud in Maine. A lot, and at every level. That's why I hate it here.



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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Isn't something like that covered by the title insurance? nt
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. nope
title insurance very specifically does not cover acreage. :)

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Why Syzygy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 10:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. It's a good thing
you're going to talk to an attorney. I was a licensed Realtor at one time (there's another step we have in common). I don't remember if they have to carry professional liability insurance?

If it were me, I would pursue every option to reconcile the rip off.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 05:27 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. they do have to carry liability insurance
and it's a large chain, owned by a larger corporation.

I had talked to a lawyer last year, which is why I'm somewhat prepared this time around. (I went to my 2nd choice lawyer first to get my feet wet and be more prepared for the 1st choice lawyer. That's how I know I have until this summer to file a case -- the statue of limitations is 6 years.)

My 1st choice lawyer has won cases both in r.e. *and* against local towns. And he occasionally works on contingency.

If he won't take it on contingency (and I can do as much legwork and research as needed since I'm 'off' for the summer) than I'll consider it a lost cause and very painful lesson learned.

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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. I would have thought that as soon
as you learned the acreage you were buying was significantly less than what was supposed to be there, you'd have been able to opt out of the deal, pay a whole lot less money, or sue whoever sold it for some kind of fraud.

I'm no expert, especially on the law, but just eyeballing land anyone should be able to tell the difference between two acres and five acres.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 02:25 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. so much for the change in energy
Edited on Sun May-03-09 02:35 PM by northernlights
It was years before the truth came out. 5 years, in fact. I think the sellers have died since.

It was a couple years before I'd cleared enough underbrush and even found the perimeter walls that I really began to suspect there was a problem. One wall I never actually found, but just nough pieces to guess at it.

"I'm no expert, especially on the law, but just eyeballing land anyone should be able to tell the difference between two acres and five acres."

Well, so much for the change in energy, lol.

Even *experts* can't "just eyeball" land and tell the difference between 2 1/2 and 5 acres. A *lot* depends on the terrain. And how are experts or nonexperts supposed to know exactly where the boundaries are?

What if the boundaries are inside woods? Is anyone supposed to be able to "see through" the trees and "envision" where the boundaries are?

When I saw the property it was buried under several feet of snow. There was no way I could find the boundary walls. The seller had the property for 17 years and had far more opportunity to know where the boundaries were. And realtors are supposed to do some research on claims made by sellers -- I know that for a fact since I went through realtor school last year.

In fact, a realtor from N. Carolina (from a horse board) told me point blank that in her state, the realtor would be legally liable for misrepresentation. Open and shut. My real estate teacher from last year danced around -- basically the realtor was at fault but good luck suing. The realtor on Friday made no bones about it -- it was misrepresentation, it was wrong. Can't sue the dead sellers. Good luck suing "city hall." Shut down totally on suing the realtor -- she works for the same corporation and "realtor ethics" prevent her from suggesting I sue a realtor. But she also didn't do the "dance" that the teacher did -- because she was too honest to lie or try to mislead me.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-03-09 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I was thinking of flat, relatively clear land.
I should have realized your land might be different.

Wasn't a survey required at the time of sale? I suppose laws vary from place to place about survey requirements.

And why can't you sue the realtor involved? Or at least file a complaint with the real estate ethics board or whatever is out there.
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northernlights Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-04-09 06:03 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. I am hoping to sue the realtor
I'm sorry I came off snippy. I got a couple nasty personal attacks last year when I sought advice on whether and how to find a good lawyer on a horse board. And then my r.e. teacher and the first lawyer I talked to tried to derail me.

The energy change I noticed was the realtor this year -- the first professional who was unequivocal and straight. This was wrong and I should be compensated. Even when I brought up the previous arguments about why it was supposedly my fault and my problem, she shook her head. No. It was not my fault.

Surveys aren't required except when subdividing pre-existing larger parcels, and up here at least, they are rarely done.

The thing is, even if experts could easily tell by looking how much land there is, then why didn't the realtor -- who looks at properties every day -- see there wasn't enough land? Or at least walk the land to get a feel for it?

I have since managed to walk the land, in fall after everything died off and before the snows hit. (To be honest, due to the hilliness, trees growing out of the old stone wall, and trying to cross 2 swales, it still was hard to get a reasonably accurate measure of the depth.) But why didn't the owner -- who was there for 17 years -- check it out before they filled out the seller's disclosure?

I also partly blame my lawyer, who didn't provide me with decent representation. He should have modified the sales agreement to state that the land must have 5 acres minimum or I get $$ back. He didn't.

If the seller's left any money to anyone, then that comes on the table as well, since it has a warranty deed and $40K of any inherited money was essentially stolen from me. Warranty deeds are more valuable than quit claims for a reason...




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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-05-09 07:34 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. You did not come across as snippy.
And I apologize if my post made it sound as if I thought you were.

When I made my comment about being able to eyeball acreage, I was thinking about the relatively flat, unwooded land, part of an old farm, that my parents bought in upstate New York more than fifty years ago. They bought something like six and a half acres, and since I always knew what that was, and I've since seen urban lots of a quarter acre and of two acres and of five acres, again on flat, unwooded land, and since those sizes are easy to eyeball, I foolishly assumed that your land might look like that.

And sadly, poor representation by your lawyer is all too common in all sorts of situations.

But I hope a suit against the real estate corporation is successful. If nothing else, you might win the victory that Lillian Ledbetter just won. She's the woman who found out after what was it, twenty years of employment, that she'd always been paid less than the men who did the same work. When she sued, the Supreme Court said since she didn't sue six months after the first occurrence of unequal pay, she wasn't entitled to any back pay, never mind that she simply did not know about the unequal pay for twenty years. And the first legislation that President Obama signed was one that made it possible for others to sue years down the road, when they finally learn about the discrimination. You might not get anything, but others in the future could be protect from such fraud.
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