Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

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Lancelot
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by Lancelot » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:39 pm

vineviz wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:53 pm
pdanet wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 2:44 pm
Are we liable for anything? Am letting my broker do all the talking for now but buyer has threatened to take us to civil court.
Unless you knew the A/C was defective and concealed your knowledge, you are not liable for anything.
I agree. I sold a house in the early 90s and state law at the time required disclosure for known problems, which I disclosed in full. A month after the closing my real estate agent called and said the new owners were upset about the furnace being defective. The lady was wiping down a wall near a return air register and noticed soot. They called a repair guy who claimed the gas furnace had a cracked heat exchanger. I told the agent I was not aware of any furnace issues and that was the end of the matter. Looking back, my then gf loved to burn candles in the house and I think the resulting smoke showed up on the wall as light soot.

Buyers must factor in some obselence when they buy a home. Say the AC unit is around 20 years old, then, yeah it could last 10 more years or die the next day :) But with the recent rise in home prices in areas of the US, I can understand a buyer not being pleased with major replacement expenses so soon after the purchase. Glad I haven't owned property for 17 years :)
No Where for Very Long...

TBillT
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by TBillT » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:06 pm

I had a A/C prob the drip pan rusted thru, so I found the $50 part myself with lots of work, but most A/C people say it's toast now cannot get the part.
Same thing on my heater, $100 blower went out, so they say better get whole new unit. I did not, but they charged me $900 to replace the darn blower.

So the homeowner often has the option to get a second opinion and research options, and/or take repair over replace. But it's hard you want your A/C on and the service provider strongly recommends new unit as the only solution they are willing to progress with.

AlphaLess
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by AlphaLess » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:23 pm

randomguy wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:13 pm
flyfishing wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:59 pm
Come on split the cost with them. Forget about the legal issue and who to sue- How about moral conscious.
I would consider splitting a prorated version of the cost (figure 12 year or so lifespan) on a reasonably priced unit (i.e. did they spend an extra 5k getting an upgraded 6 zone unit versus the old 1 zone one) to make the problem go away. I would be paying them off for convenience not for moral reasons.
This line of thinking is dangerous.

You pay EXACTLY what you are supposed to pay LEGALLY, and not a penny more.
Because once you pay, you open up a can of worms.
Tomorrow it is the heater.
The day after tomorrow, it is a crack in the foundation.
"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word." George Washington

brianH
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by brianH » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:33 pm

In my state, PA, the buyer could try to sue in small claims court (<$12,000), but the court still highly recommends that you (the buyers in this case) send a certified letter first demanding payment and expected repayment date. It also requires an $80 filing fee and for the notice to be served (more $$).

If you don't receive either of these things, it's just hot air and worth exactly as much as the 'aggrieved party' paid to say them.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:08 pm

TBillT wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:06 pm
I had a A/C prob the drip pan rusted thru, so I found the $50 part myself with lots of work, but most A/C people say it's toast now cannot get the part.
Same thing on my heater, $100 blower went out, so they say better get whole new unit. I did not, but they charged me $900 to replace the darn blower.

So the homeowner often has the option to get a second opinion and research options, and/or take repair over replace. But it's hard you want your A/C on and the service provider strongly recommends new unit as the only solution they are willing to progress with.
I got 11 quotes to replace the AC at a previous house. The quotes ranged from $3,800 to $22,000.

A lot of creative people go into HVAC installation. :mrgreen:

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willthrill81
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by willthrill81 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:13 pm

AlphaLess wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:23 pm
randomguy wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:13 pm
flyfishing wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:59 pm
Come on split the cost with them. Forget about the legal issue and who to sue- How about moral conscious.
I would consider splitting a prorated version of the cost (figure 12 year or so lifespan) on a reasonably priced unit (i.e. did they spend an extra 5k getting an upgraded 6 zone unit versus the old 1 zone one) to make the problem go away. I would be paying them off for convenience not for moral reasons.
This line of thinking is dangerous.

You pay EXACTLY what you are supposed to pay LEGALLY, and not a penny more.
Because once you pay, you open up a can of worms.
Tomorrow it is the heater.
The day after tomorrow, it is a crack in the foundation.
Ditto that. You don't want to reward what smells like bad behavior.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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gunn_show
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by gunn_show » Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:38 pm

Kennedy wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:34 pm
To the people who suggested that the OP pay to see a real estate attorney... just no. No! That is absurd. Things break. Things break the day before closing. Things break the day after closing. And things break two days after closing. We had a large crack appear in the plaster of a ten year old pool two days before closing. (We paid to fix it.) We had a washing machine start spilling water onto the floor the day before closing. (Per the contract, the washing machine was to be left behind.) The contract said the washing machine was sold "as is" so we didn't repair it.

The point is, things break. OP, you have no moral or legal obligation to the buyer unless you failed to disclose a known defect. The buyers had the option of purchasing a home warranty or asking you to purchase one on their behalf as a condition of the sale. If they elected not to do so, that was a choice they made.
+1. Tell your agent to relay the simple "no" response and walk away. My guess is there is zero chance they would take any serious action. Their agent knows this is a boondoggle.

As Kennedy wrote above, things break, and sometimes the timing is absurd.
We closed on a house a few weeks ago. Sent painters and flooring and baseboard and molding and other contractors in for 2+ weeks of remodeling.
Moved in last Thursday. Took two nice hot showers afterwards, in our upstairs master bath.
By 11am the next day, <24 hours after moving in, we found a flooded bathroom downstairs.
Apparently the plumbing system had been backed up/clogged for who knows how long, and our two showers were the final straw.
Have spent all weekend and now this week, dealing with plumbers first and remediation/restoration guys to basically gut the bathroom and some of the adjoining walls due to the type of cat3 water it is (dirty water).
Needless to say it is a $10-15k+ loss that will be filed through homeowners insurance.
All this within 24 hours of moving in and taking our FIRST SHOWERS in our very expensive SoCal home. After spending lots of money to not only buy the house, but to do all the remodel work before moving in. It was painful to watch the restoration guys tear out brand new baseboards and cut drywall with barely-dry paint on it.
Painful.
In CA it is customary for seller to buy a home warranty. That warranty covered the plumber to snake the drains, that's it. Couple hundred bucks maybe. I am on the hook for the rest, which will now take a big hit to my homeowners insurance.
Nothing I can do to the seller, they sold the home as-is, who knows if they knew the plumbing sucked or not. Irrelevant.
I even called my agent, who called the home inspector, but of course per his notes "everything drained fine and looked normal" as I expected his response to be.

Crap happens. Being a homeowner can be fantastic and a nightmare at times. Your buyer should take a hike and go scam someone else.

FWIW the house we are selling, we had new AC system installed last year with new furnace and some custom work, and it was over 10k and only took 2 days. Most of the cost is the equipment. A good service team can easily install everything in 16 hours with multiple service techs on hand, especially if the plumbing and vents and main infrastructure are already in place. But the facts that they closed on the home, moved in, realized it broke, got a contractor out to inspect, bid, and do the work, in that short a time... SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM... like... come on, man!! SCAM CITY
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

s8r
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by s8r » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:21 am

This is an interesting case.

For comparison:

In Finland, the seller of a house has a 5-year responsibility for any issues that existed at the moment of purchase, if all of these apply:

- The issue was not mentioned prior to purchase (in inspection or otherwise).
- The issue could not have been seen prior to purchase in a routine examination.
- The cost of fixing the issue is significant relative to the selling price of the house (more than about 5 %, I think).
- The buyer has not neglected his/her responsibility of examining the house properly prior to purchase. However, if the house is new or relatively new, this does not have to be met, I believe.
- The issue is not what should be reasonably expected considering:
1. age of the house or the age of the component/system/structure the issue is affecting
2. reported condition of the house
3. selling price of the house relative to similar houses in that area

Note that the seller is responsible EVEN if he/she was unaware of the issue. If the seller was aware of the issue, then the issue does not have to be significant relative to the selling price of the house. But of course the other conditions still have to apply.

If the cost of fixing the issue is very significant relative to the selling price of the house (more than about 40 %), then the seller is usually ordered to sell the house back to the buyer, i.e. the trade is nullified. Again, of course the other conditions still have to apply.

If the seller has deliberately concealed something significant in an especially dishonest manner, then the responsibility period is greater, maybe 10 years if I recall correctly.

I am not a legal professional, so I could be wrong.

EDIT: Also, the buyer has to inform the seller about the issue in a reasonable time frame after the issue was noticed or when it should have been noticed. For example, you cannot make a claim about something that you should have noticed when you moved in when say 1 year has passed, even if the responsibility period is 5 years.
Last edited by s8r on Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

triyoda
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by triyoda » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:28 am

When I bought a home a few years ago, one thing my agent required as part of the contract was that the sellers provide a one year home warranty (seller had to buy me a policy). It wasn't that expensive $400-$500 dollars. My agent also made the seller pay for a professional home cleaning. I guess my agent actually was pretty useful.

As others have said, i can't see how you are liable for anything. Normally I would think a home warranty is not a good deal, but since my agent got the seller to pay for it. This is a case where maybe their own agent could have helped them. It's actually not a bad deal for the seller in the sense that it avoids any possible issues like you are having, yes you are not liable, but paying a few hundred dollars to never even have to hear about this could have been worth it.

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8foot7
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by 8foot7 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:09 am

triyoda wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:28 am
When I bought a home a few years ago, one thing my agent required as part of the contract was that the sellers provide a one year home warranty (seller had to buy me a policy). It wasn't that expensive $400-$500 dollars. My agent also made the seller pay for a professional home cleaning. I guess my agent actually was pretty useful.
Speaking as someone who's been on the other side of those demands, I can tell you that you paid for those things somehow, someway.

workerbeeengineer
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by workerbeeengineer » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:48 am

Let me add my experience from a buyer's perspective. We bought our house about 20 years ago. Local California custom (at least it was two decades ago in this town) was to extend the seller the courtesy of letting them stay in the house a last night or even two after the purchase closed. I did not really like that, but our agent said it was a common practice. So we agreed to let the sellers stay one night. With age, I would never agree to that again. Anyway, the day after the now previous owner finally left the property, we moved in. I found a note on the counter from the previous owner saying that the motor for the garage door opener has given up the ghost the day before. :annoyed The previous owner indicated that I need not worry since he had purchased one of those home warranty policies, so it should not be a problem. Well...that was total B.S. The warranty company forced us to use their locally contracted garage door company. A series of bad attempts at repairing the problem failed. Wife and I finally had enough and hired a different local company with a good reputation and had the whole door and mechanisms replace. I tried to get reimbursed by the warranty company, but they just said "no". In fact, they said that they did me a big favor in even agreeing to the repair effort as it was really the previous owner who broke the motor. In hindsight and with experience, I now realize I should of recognized that I would need to replace the garage door soon. I vaguely recall that our home inspector did note that the garage door mechanisms were old. So I guess other than concluding I will not honor the custom (nor ask for it if/when we sell this house) of previous owner "sleep over" courtesy, my only real lesson learned is that home warranty policies are pretty much worthless. I guess they give some sense of security to home buyers...but good luck with that!

triyoda
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by triyoda » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:25 am

8foot7 wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:09 am
triyoda wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:28 am
When I bought a home a few years ago, one thing my agent required as part of the contract was that the sellers provide a one year home warranty (seller had to buy me a policy). It wasn't that expensive $400-$500 dollars. My agent also made the seller pay for a professional home cleaning. I guess my agent actually was pretty useful.
Speaking as someone who's been on the other side of those demands, I can tell you that you paid for those things somehow, someway.
Well, since the price never moved based on these requirements, I can't really see how I paid for it. I understand nothing is free, but this was a price the seller was willing to pay in order to make sure the deal got done at the agreed upon price. So, I would go back to it was a decision they made because it was in their overall best interest. They needed to sell a house, I didn't need to buy one.

triyoda
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by triyoda » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:30 am

workerbeeengineer wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:48 am
Let me add my experience from a buyer's perspective. We bought our house about 20 years ago. Local California custom (at least it was two decades ago in this town) was to extend the seller the courtesy of letting them stay in the house a last night or even two after the purchase closed. I did not really like that, but our agent said it was a common practice. So we agreed to let the sellers stay one night. With age, I would never agree to that again. Anyway, the day after the now previous owner finally left the property, we moved in. I found a note on the counter from the previous owner saying that the motor for the garage door opener has given up the ghost the day before. :annoyed The previous owner indicated that I need not worry since he had purchased one of those home warranty policies, so it should not be a problem. Well...that was total B.S. The warranty company forced us to use their locally contracted garage door company. A series of bad attempts at repairing the problem failed. Wife and I finally had enough and hired a different local company with a good reputation and had the whole door and mechanisms replace. I tried to get reimbursed by the warranty company, but they just said "no". In fact, they said that they did me a big favor in even agreeing to the repair effort as it was really the previous owner who broke the motor. In hindsight and with experience, I now realize I should of recognized that I would need to replace the garage door soon. I vaguely recall that our home inspector did note that the garage door mechanisms were old. So I guess other than concluding I will not honor the custom (nor ask for it if/when we sell this house) of previous owner "sleep over" courtesy, my only real lesson learned is that home warranty policies are pretty much worthless. I guess they give some sense of security to home buyers...but good luck with that!
As you admit, you didn't actually have a warranty. So you really have nothing to complain about. You were owed no warranty and you are saying the warranty service you had no basis to receive was bad. I agree home warranties aren't a great deal in general, but a garage door opener is not a great example, the cost is so trivial the payout is almost nothing. In this particular case, if it is true the entire cooling system had to be replaced I am pretty sure a home warranty claim would have substantially covered the cost.

aqan
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by aqan » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:51 am

pdanet wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:21 pm
The A/C was working since we had to open the home for pest control company few days prior to closing. They wanted pest control invoice submitted few days before closing so it's more current.

Timeline:

20 days prior: Inspection done and only issue was pest control
Wed: Pest Control and A/C was working.
Wed: Pest Control invoice submitted to buyer's agent
Fri: Buyer's agent did final walk through.
Sat: Home closing
Mon: Buyer reported A/C not working

The A/C is about 14 yrs old and has new evaporator coil replaced 2 yrs ago along with Freon.

I don't know what exactly was wrong except that, A/C company advised them(sales pitch) that system was rigged to work for 1-2 days so it passes closing and to basically get with sellers for non-disclosure but in the meantime they went ahead and replaced the system and now want us to reimburse.
They knew and paid for a 14 year old A/C system. Average lifespan of A/C is probably 14-15 years. I hope the inspection report made them aware of this. If they want to go to the court you present something that states the above facts.
Moreover the cost of a new A/C unit is $2500 where did they get it installed for 10k. Looks like a fraud to me.

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cockersx3
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by cockersx3 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 8:18 am

Agree with all the posts. Assuming that the seller did not know about this prior to selling, it's simply not the seller's problem anymore as far as I'm concerned. This claim seems like posturing.

The only thing I'd add is that there are, in fact, situations where a buyer can legally go after a seller for undisclosed defects - it is not 100% "buyer beware," at least not in all states. We had a situation once where the prior owners of our home stated in a signed disclosure form that permits had been filed for all home upgrades / additions. However, when doing some unrelated work after we took possession, we found out that the finished basement in the home was actually not permitted. Ended up costing us significant money to remediate and get back to being legal.

We were able to (successfully) file a claim against our title insurance policy, which apparently has coverage for correction of permitting issues. (Who knew??) The title insurance company, once they had investigated our claim, informed us that they will sue the prior owner for reimbursement. Not sure how it turned out, as it happened several years ago....

The difference between this situation and the OP's is that, in my case, the prior owner knowingly misrepresented a material fact. OP does not appear to have done this in this case, just bad luck which - while unfortunate - is not something for which the OP should have to pay. As they say, stuff happens...

workerbeeengineer
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by workerbeeengineer » Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:10 am

triyoda wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:30 am
workerbeeengineer wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:48 am
Let me add my experience from a buyer's perspective. We bought our house about 20 years ago. Local California custom (at least it was two decades ago in this town) was to extend the seller the courtesy of letting them stay in the house a last night or even two after the purchase closed. I did not really like that, but our agent said it was a common practice. So we agreed to let the sellers stay one night. With age, I would never agree to that again. Anyway, the day after the now previous owner finally left the property, we moved in. I found a note on the counter from the previous owner saying that the motor for the garage door opener has given up the ghost the day before. :annoyed The previous owner indicated that I need not worry since he had purchased one of those home warranty policies, so it should not be a problem. Well...that was total B.S. The warranty company forced us to use their locally contracted garage door company. A series of bad attempts at repairing the problem failed. Wife and I finally had enough and hired a different local company with a good reputation and had the whole door and mechanisms replace. I tried to get reimbursed by the warranty company, but they just said "no". In fact, they said that they did me a big favor in even agreeing to the repair effort as it was really the previous owner who broke the motor. In hindsight and with experience, I now realize I should of recognized that I would need to replace the garage door soon. I vaguely recall that our home inspector did note that the garage door mechanisms were old. So I guess other than concluding I will not honor the custom (nor ask for it if/when we sell this house) of previous owner "sleep over" courtesy, my only real lesson learned is that home warranty policies are pretty much worthless. I guess they give some sense of security to home buyers...but good luck with that!
As you admit, you didn't actually have a warranty. So you really have nothing to complain about. You were owed no warranty and you are saying the warranty service you had no basis to receive was bad. I agree home warranties aren't a great deal in general, but a garage door opener is not a great example, the cost is so trivial the payout is almost nothing. In this particular case, if it is true the entire cooling system had to be replaced I am pretty sure a home warranty claim would have substantially covered the cost.
tyiyoda, I was not too clear in my post. I meant to convey that the motor needed replacing. Agree that a hand held remote is trivial. I do however still believe I had a warranty. It was supposed to cover garage door, motor, etc. The warranty company did the absolute minimum. I laugh now when I see advertisements on TV for home warranties. Better imo to generally practice good BH principles and have an adequate emergency fund available for unexpected repairs.

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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by spectec » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:08 pm

Home owner warranties can be problematic, but not useless. You must use their "authorized" service reps, and the companies generally make you jump through lots of hoops before they actually pay anything significant. It's important to get throughly familiar with their procedures BEFORE filing a claim, and then hold everyone's feet to the fire. Document EVERYTHING, preferably through the warranty company's online portal. Expect everybody in the process to not do their job. That's what it take with most of them, but you can usually get satisfaction as long as your expectations are reasonable.

I didn't keep my warranty after the first year, even though they replaced my garage door motor, sensors, controls, and some door hardware without much hassle. I just wanted to be sure I had someone to back me up with the HVAC and other critical systems until I could evaluate them in operation and have my trusted HVAC people do the semi-annual checks.

So I maintain that a homeowner warranty for the first year is good insurance - but more along the lines of protecting against a major failure while transitioning into routine ownership of the new home.
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. - Will Rogers

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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by willthrill81 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:34 pm

spectec wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:08 pm
Home owner warranties can be problematic, but not useless. You must use their "authorized" service reps, and the companies generally make you jump through lots of hoops before they actually pay anything significant. It's important to get throughly familiar with their procedures BEFORE filing a claim, and then hold everyone's feet to the fire. Document EVERYTHING, preferably through the warranty company's online portal. Expect everybody in the process to not do their job. That's what it take with most of them, but you can usually get satisfaction as long as your expectations are reasonable.

I didn't keep my warranty after the first year, even though they replaced my garage door motor, sensors, controls, and some door hardware without much hassle. I just wanted to be sure I had someone to back me up with the HVAC and other critical systems until I could evaluate them in operation and have my trusted HVAC people do the semi-annual checks.

So I maintain that a homeowner warranty for the first year is good insurance - but more along the lines of protecting against a major failure while transitioning into routine ownership of the new home.
The seller of the first home we purchased paid for a one year home warranty. They insisted that they wanted it, even though we didn't care about it since the home inspection came back essentially perfect. I believe they paid $400 for it. I suppose some here who try to claim that sellers have kind of moral obligation in this situation should just throw in a home warranty to cover the buyers. It would probably be a nice selling point in the eyes of many buyers.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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whodidntante
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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by whodidntante » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:40 pm

I would reply that you are glad you are sold before it happened to you.

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Re: Sold Home - 2 days after buyer claims they found an issue with A/C

Post by CedarWaxWing » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:55 pm

Do not pay for the AC, for all the reasons already mentioned.

Meanwhile... talk to your Realtor...after reading your papers in regards to the sale. That person has an attorney and is supposed to be up to date in regards to the laws in your state, and should also have someone the office uses for advice if that person is not able to have an intelligent conversation about this problem.

The HVAC person.. .never should have suggested you jury rigged the AC... that suggests that person in fact may be a scoundrel.. so check reviews for that business and the service person. (They also should have not replaced the system without going over this with both realtors if they wanted compensation. (Still would have been unreasonable.) Sounds very fished.

If your realtor agrees you have no responsibility and can explain that opinion... do nothing, but if you have a family attorney... consider a phone call to fill the attorney in, and to likely get reassuring advice.

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