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CONTACT 13: Local homeowners settle with Toll Brothers

Posted at 6:00 PM, Oct 28, 2016

An update to a Contact 13 story when a battle between a local couple and a valley home builder finally comes to an end after 6 years. Contact 13 looks at what happened, and what you should know when buying a home.

"It was a long battle. But it did have a happy ending, because they were willing to compromise," says Susan Maika.
 
After 6 years, she and her husband Charles are celebrating a major victory. A year and a half ago, we told you about the home they bought from Toll Brothers back in 2010.
 
In May 2015 Susan told us, "Had things been told to us honestly when we were looking at this house, we would have ran from it. We never would have purchased this house."
 
The house was a model home, which included an "as is" clause in the purchase agreement. The couple's home inspection uncovered problems with the pool equipment. And a few months after moving in, they found a couple of rugs actually glued to the hardwood floors. The house is also nearly 300 square feet smaller than their paperwork states.
 
Since our story aired, Susan and Charles have been involved in a settlement conference with Toll Brothers. And now, both sides have now come to an agreement.
 
"I don't want to get into specifics, but I will tell you that it was definitely beneficial," says Susan.
 
Contact 13 reached out to Toll Brothers. In a statement, the homebuilder says: "Although Toll Brothers disputes the claim, we are pleased to have reached a resolution. We have no further comment on the matter."
 
Susan and her husband are now working on getting estimates for necessary repairs but aren't sure about their future in the house.
 
"To be honest, I don't know if we still want to live in this home," says Susan.
 
If you're home purchase includes an "as is" clause, here's what you need to know:
 
"What you see, is what you get. There's no guarantees. No warranties," says local realtor Fafie Moore of ERA Brokers Consolidated.
 
She says all issues and flaws should be on the seller's real property disclosure form. If something needs fixing, get your own estimate for repairs.
 
"You can ask that they might repair something, because they might not have been aware of some of the problems. So it becomes a point you can negotiate. But they're not required to repair them for you," Moore says.
 
If you want to make sure something is in good working condition, like a security system or pool, be your own advocate and hire an expert to check it out.
 
"You're protected through your inspections and your knowledge. So your job is to get as much information about the property, to the point that you're comfortable," Moore says.
 
As for Susan, she wants others to learn from her experience and stresses the importance of reading your contract word for word.
 
"So many times, none of us want to do that. But it is really important. If you see some things that are red flags to you, definitely do the research and do your homework," says Susan.