Monday, March 31, 2008

Unsympathic Litigants

A Carlsbad couple's day in court is coming, they claim their real estate agent should be liable for their having overpaid - in their estimation - for their $1.2 million home in a nice community next to the Four Seasons Aviara. The poor dears.

They seem to be claiming that the agent owed them a higher duty because they were out-of-town buyers unfamiliar with the local market: they were relocating from Northern California to the San Diego area sunshine.

San Diego appraiser Todd Lackner said many people in the industry are closely watching the Ummel case, and while Lackner said he believes the couple have a legitimate gripe, he doubts they will win in court.

“I give the buyers an awful lot of credit. They're sticking to their point, and most people couldn't afford these legal expenses they're shelling out,” Lackner said. “But appraisals are subjective. Did they pay too much? Yes, they absolutely did. But they bought it willingly. No one forced them to purchase that house.”
They are pissed that they paid what they paid when others paid $100k less for houses in the same tract. How close to $100k do you think they'll get in legal fees? Yeah, I think so too.

These owners were on the Today Show a few months back and it was pretty clearly the wife who has a really bee in her bonnet about this. The husband is dutifully standing by his woman, but didn't seem quite as bothered. Neither on the Today Show, nor in this article, however, are we given much more information about the actual comps in the neighborhood. There can certainly be a $100k difference in houses located next door to each other. Even in relatively new housing developments it's possible, isn't it?

Our housing search is confined to a bit lower price range, so I don't know what a $1.1m vs. a 1.2m house looks like.

I bet there are more honestly hurt litigants out there who might never get a fair shot in court because this couple's case will knock the wind of the issue's sails.

By the way they only mortgaged $300k for the house. A $300k mortgage on a $1.2m home? Wow, nice equity. That's quite a bargain payment on a house that size, isn't it? Like I said, unsympathetic.

No comments: