Village Financial Group - Sold a "Structurally Unsafe" home
The purchase of a home is the largest financial decision most of you will ever make, so don't you think the very people guiding you through that transaction should not only be regulated, but also fully insured and held accountable should things go wrong?
In 2014 we went house hunting; after many calls to agents, one called us back promptly and was readily available to show us the homes we were interested in. His name was Marc Palos and he works for Village Financial Group-El Dorado Hills, CA.
Marc took us through 4-5 properties a day for weeks before we came to our decision. The property was a beautiful, large home in a wonderful area in El Dorado Hills, CA. We had to see it, so we met Marc the very next day to walk through the home. Within 20 minutes we decided to put in an offer, and since it was a cash-only purchase with "numerous buyers" competing against us, we were skeptical of being accepted.
But Marc was wonderful; he knew the short sale process, knew the area, he even personally knew the listing agent, and even had a home inspector he trusted and a personal friend who was a contractor who'd worked on his own home! We were confident that he was taking care of us to say the least.
His home inspector, John Deller of Buy Right Home Inspections gave a detailed report and diagnosed the water stains around the windows as the flashing needed to be re-flashed.
Marc's contractor, Joe Silva of RM Builders came by and looked at the stains and the report and said it's an easy fix.
After a stressful 2 months, lots of paperwork & inspections, we closed on the property. We immediately hired Joe Silva of RM Builders (Marc Palos' personal friend & preferred contractor) to repair all the stated damage that John Deller, the home inspector noted on his report.
After waiting over 3 months for the repairs to be finished, we finally moved into our dream home. 3 days later, a rainstorm came and water started pouring through the walls into the home and all over the brand new hardwood we had installed. After RM Builders was unable to fix the "window flashing", we contacted a Stucco company to remove the stucco where RM Builders re-flashed the windows.
As the stucco was being removed, they found severe water damage across all 3 stories on the South side of the house. As you can see in the photos, this damage isn't short term; it took many years to build up. The stucco contractor informed us after the fact that the work they'd done was not their specialty, and the entire framing of the 3-story wall was rotted through so badly it needed to be completely rebuilt.
We contacted several home builders/contractors in the area; only one company was confident they could rebuild the wall without the wall structure falling onto the neighboring property.
We were informed by the contracting company we needed to hire an engineer to assess the damage fully before he could start the tear-down & rebuild. Based on nothing other than a visual inspection of the damage, the structural engineer deemed the property "structurally unsafe" and advised us to start the rebuild immediately.
RM Builders repair job of re-flashing the windows consisted of them nailing on a new piece of wood to the existing rotted framing. They did this without any warning of their finding anything wrong beyond the flashing. Remember, this is Marc Palos' good friend and personal/preferred contractor whom he trusts completely. How many other home sales has Marc Palos been involved with and brought Joe Silva/RM Builders and/or John Deller of BuyRightHomeInspections onto?
We contacted Marc Palos who came out to see the damage. His response was: "Didn't you have a home inspection?". Yes, yes we did Marc. In fact, it was YOUR guy, YOUR inspector who said he is "the make it or break it guy in the home buying process".
As the rebuild continued, which took over 5 months, we had only partial use of the home, as most of the southern side was under construction and dangerous.
Our older son was getting bloody noses daily, and had trouble breathing. We asked our contractor to go through the rest of the house to see if anything could be causing these problems, as we knew our son was allergic to mold.
Our contractor found a shower drain not connected under the bathroom shower in our son's bedroom, so every time the shower was used water just flooded under this area of the home. Mold was also found in the bathroom, so we had air tests performed. The tests came back it as Stachybotrys (black toxic mold).
We gutted the bathroom, rebuilt it, and moved him back in. He continued to get sick and had trouble breathing, so we had to move him out permanently.
Our contractor pulled back the entire carpet and found that the flooring was wet all the way to the center of the room. It turned out that the trim on the exterior wall had a hole that wasn't sealed, in addition to a dog run that was nailed into the stucco.
John Deller failed to find any of these issues. He had been physically under the home where the unattached shower drain was fully visible, yet failed to notice it, or simply never listed it in his report. Given that the home was a short sale, one would expect any evaluations to be thorough and complete. And as a professional recommended by an agent with 28 years of experience in his field, we had no reason to believe we were receiving a skim job from the inspector.
The selling agent, Patricia Webb, told the bank that there was $200,000-$300,000 of damage to the property. Upon receiving this info in an email from the bank, we immediately called Marc Palos we demanded an explanation. Of course we told him that there was no way we were buying the home with all of that damage. Marc said not to worry, that he knew Patricia Webb and that she was lying to the bank so that they would accept the short sale, as the time for financing for the last buyer had run out. Marc made it clear that Ms. Webb only wanted an owner-occupied buyer, as she knew the neighbors and lived in the area and did not want someone "flipping" it.
Looking back, everything makes sense. It would seem very likely the reason Ms. Webb wanted an owner-occupied buyer is that someone who deals in real estate would have the funds to sue her immediately upon discovering the undisclosed damage to the walls, whereas a buyer who plans to live in the home and has to pay cash would most likely not have the resources to pursue legal action.
Ms. Webb does not reside in this neighborhood, nor anywhere near it. She had told the bank the property was located in a gated area with limited access. The home is a few blocks away from a major street and is not gated. I can't imagine what other information she has passed to the banks in order to further her career.
Our children have been subjected to 13 months of contractors in and out of their home, numerous appointments, and building inspectors all keeping them from living their normal lives.
Please be wary and do your homework on who you hire when you make what is likely the largest financial decision of your life. Even though Marc Palos has E&O Insurance which would save him from being liable, he and his broker declined to show at mediation.
John Deller failed to show at mediation too, despite his very comprehensive insurance, and his insurance company Hanover Insurance Group denied our claim. All this after Mr. Deller clearly misdiagnosed the only serious issue he’d found and was negligent in his inspection of the property. He claims on his website he has 18 years of experience. Given his inspection of our home, we would not hire him again. Purchasing this home has cost us our credit and our financial security
Patricia Webb told the bank there was $200,000-$300,000 in damage to the home. Yet the home was not listed as being in need of repair in any way, shape, or form.
Below is an excerpt of her conversation to the appraiser:
"The subject property is a pending sale of a large home in a high-end, gated, luxury neighborhood. [The property] has severe water damages according to my interview with listing agent and the local MLS listing. The estimate of damages, so far, is $200,000 to $300,000 according to listing Realtor and maybe more due to roof and possible mold. Also, the community is gated with very restricted access.”
The property is NOT gated, the neighborhood is NOT gated, and there is absolutely NO restricted access. According to Marc Palos and this email, Patricia Webb lied to make a sale on a property.
As the potential buyer of a property, do you want to put your trust in someone who is not held to any regulations and can ignore correspondence from lawyers, mediation, etc? The Department of Real Estate does not return the money you lose in a situation like us, and the agents themselves have no obligation to acknowledge your existence following the sale. Financial advisors, physicians, insurance agents and the like are all heavily regulated to ensure they are operating within the bounds of the law and are following proper procedures. Something is wrong here, and it needs to change. Realtors, home inspectors and contractors need to be held accountable!
Hopefully my story will show the proper officials who regulate those in the real estate business will see that things need to change to prevent others from ending up like me and my family.
Review about: Village Financial Group Home Selling.
Reason of review: FRAUD! NEGLIGENCE!.
Monetary Loss: $650000.
Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution.
I didn't like: He misrepresented his knowledge, Skills, Experience regarding inspections.