Selling Real Estate In The Wild Wild West

Selling real estate in the Wild Wild West reminds we of the old John Wayne movies. He usually played a big-hearted, honest human being (I relate.) Then he always had other people in the films, which were much like authentic characters from the Wild Wild West, who had little moral or ethical code. Sometimes, selling real estate in the south county feels like working in the Wild Wild West.

I love the rural atmosphere of South Sacramento County. There are open green fields of tall grass. You see horses and cows grazing as you drive along the county roads. Large Oak trees are covering the lands here. Beautiful creeks bubble through the valleys and the Consumnes River roars through every winter, and we hope she doesn’t flood. It is like a picture book from the good old days.

Try to imagine selling real estate in the Wild Wild West, can you? It feels much like this picture sometimes. You have to keep an eye out and be ready to come out armed and prepared to do battle and protect your client. Of course, not with a weapon, it is all done with knowledge, experience, and resources. Not all Realtors follow the rules, nor do they subscribe to our National Code of Ethics, period.

I was showing a home in Wilton on 5 acres, listed by a local Realtor. While showing the house, we noticed there were patched sheetrock holes everywhere throughout the ceiling. The place looked like lipstick on a pig. It was freshly painted and new flooring installed, yet it felt more like a tired old saloon, that was painted over to cover wear and tear. When the property had sold previously, the photos in MLS showed a property well maintained and in good shape. It had been less than two years since the property changed owners. How did it deteriorate in only two years?

I called the listing agent as my buyer seemed interested in taking on a project. Something didn’t feel right. She said she had sold it to the buyers two years ago but said the current owners had never lived in the property as it had been a rental. I asked for copies of the previous inspections, and she had little to no information. As an x-law enforcement officer, the further investigation seemed appropriate.

After a telephone call to the original listing agent #1 from two years prior, the truth was discovered. She said that she had all the inspections and would send them to me. Additionally, the neighbors had called the original owners, her clients, to tell them that the home had been raided. The front door had to be kicked in by law enforcement as it was a marijuana grow house. Then tenants were arrested and the equipment and marijuana confiscated. Holy smoke.

Now, you see why “selling real estate in the Wild Wild West” is sometimes an appropriate title. So how could the current listing agent not know this? She had cleaned up the property, installed new carpet, had all the ceiling holes patched and painted. Who knows if any mildew or fungus from moisture, was covered up under the paint? So no knowledge, no disclosure, no reports. Where was the code of ethics here? How about there was no disclosure of a material fact? Sounded a bit like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

My client, of course, walked away. The altered electrical with special lights used that had been installed, throughout the ceiling, was a red flag. This additional information explained all the patchwork in the ceiling. Also, the discovery that much was covered up here.

If you want representation from a team of professionals who always go the distance for their clients, call Weintraub & Wallace Realtors with RE/MAX Gold, at 916-233-6759.

— JaCi Wallace

Selling real estate
Weintraub & Wallace

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