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Angie's List: Avoiding Home Buying Heartbreak
Written by Nicole Porter
Last updated on February 14, 2014 @ 6:13PM
Created on February 14, 2014 @ 6:10PM

Buying a home is an exciting adventure, but it can quickly turn to heartache. Our partners at Angie's List warn, before you fall in love with a home, line up a team of reputable professionals that will work for you.

"It's been an emotional roller coaster. I've had days of crying and then days of today they put up a rock fireplace and it was elation you know you start to see it come back together. Ok we're going to get there," said homeowner Brenda Payne.

Payne says contractors have done tens of thousands of dollars of repair work for problems that surfaced after she closed on her home.

"We found electrical code problems, plumbing code problems not vented right, not angled right, wires that were in the walls that were just black taped and not wired right and stuff like that. Then we said well we need to check other walls and then when we did it just slowly kept growing," said contractor Edward Christensen.

Payne says her problems stemmed from using a real estate agent who represented both the buyer and seller - something experts say you should avoid.

That same agent also arranged and paid for inspections - another big no-no.

So how can you protect yourself?

Independently evaluate everyone involved in the home buying process before you start looking at houses. That means researching and checking the qualifications of realtors, mortgage lenders and home inspectors. Don't go with a lender or home inspector just because your real estate agent recommends them.

"Over the years, the one thing I have learned is people tend to wait until the last minute to make a decision, finding a home inspector, for example. You want to do that at the beginning of your home search - before you're under the time crunch of having to get the home inspection done in a certain number of days.  You know you're going to need a home inspector. Find out who you want to work with before you're under the gun," said Angie Hicks of Angie's List.

Angie's List says you should always get pre-approved for a loan before you start your home search - that way you won't run into any surprises.

But keep in mind new rules that took effect in January could make it more difficult for you to get pre-qualified.

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Comments (2)
Feb 18, 2014 at 11:09 AM
I'd think Ms. Payne would have a lawsuit ready for the agent. The agent was not being up front and honest and there ARE laws about that!! Has she even considered this? I sure would! Seek a lawyer for advice!
Feb 16, 2014 at 11:39 PM
As a mortgage loan originator, I encourage all buyers to choose their own home inspector since sometimes there is a conflict of interest when the buyer's real estate agent gets to pick the inspector. Go to and it will let you post the data about the property (takes about 30 seconds). This data is then distributed to home inspectors that are active in the area of the house. The buyer stays anonymous so they don't get a bunch of sales calls. The home inspectors’ quote ("bid") their fees against each other while the buyer can watch (which is sort of entertaining).
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