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Problem Solving. A $40,000 Problem.

And the Winner Is?….


First – the important stuff.   The head of our marketing   department, Sophie   Dawge,  is pictured left   preparing to pull the   winning name in our bicycle give away.



The winner, Corey Dosset, happens to be a past client of Homebuyer Associates. Enjoy the Fixie, Corey.


It’s Not Real Estate. It’s Problem Solving. (A $40,000 problem)

It’s been an interesting year in real estate. Since I started Homebuyer Associates, our approach, our mantra has been to provide a service and to educate homebuyers about real estate. Not sell real estate. The simplest way of defining the difference between Homebuyer Associates and the conventional real estate industry is:

The traditional system wants to sell. Homebuyer Associates wants to serve. If I were selling a home I’d want the agent to sell. If I were buying a home I’d need service.

What does that mean? It means you could lose $40,000 if you don’t know the difference between selling and service. Read the story and when you don’t believe it. Believe it.

It’s become clear to me over the years that our job isn’t real estate. Our job is to gather information so our clients may make informed choices (not emotional ones). One of our most important jobs is to solve problems. Sometimes the “solve” is to walk away.

Recently our client had an offer accepted on a home subject to inspection. The inspection revealed two basement walls were out of plum. If out of plum 1” or less, the basement wall can be supported with steel supports. Inspectors and engineers consider such a fix acceptable. We see that “fix” on many homes as we work with clients throughout the 4-county area.

The problem was that two walls were more than 1” out of plum. The basement question was a serious one.

The listing agent said, “The owner has lived here 15 years and has not had a problem with the basement.” (Sell)

Homebuyer Associates advocated for having a structural engineer inspect the basement. (Service)

Our rationale, “If our client closes on the home – and then has a problem – the seller is gone and the agent is gone. “Sorry, we have to have an engineer look at the basement.” (Service)

The engineer’s report said:

The movement of the 2 walls is significant. The walls will have to be rebuilt. This will require a new footing and block wall to be constructed and tied into the existing foundation. In addition, the wall will need to have reinforcement (rebar), be back plastered and damp proofed. A drain tile system with a sump pump and crock will also be required.

Post engineering inspection, the listing agent suggested our client pay a bit less for the home and move forward because the basement has been OK for 15 years. (Sell)

Our response? “It will cost $40,000-plus to remove and rebuild the walls. Contractors are swamped and the work will not be able to be completed for months. Our client will be serving Notice and the earnest money will be returned.” (Service)

Here is the kicker. The home remains listed and the condition report has been amended. The new condition report says: “Two basement walls show signs of bulging.” (Sell)

The engineer clearly said, “The walls will have to be rebuilt”, a simple sentence. (Service)

I’ll monitor this home over the coming weeks as a curiosity. My guess is that someone will purchase the home and have the misfortune of not having a good inspector or the misfortune of an agent who sells.

It is not my intent to paint agents as bad. It is my intent to inform the public that due diligence is a worthwhile effort. Part of that due diligence is finding out who works for whom in the real estate transaction and where conflicts of interest exist.

The ending to this story could have involved our client. It will not involve our client. We serve. We don’t sell.

If you’d like to discuss real estate feel free to contact Seamus, Mike or me and we’ll be glad to serve and educate. It won’t cost you $40,000 but it may cost you a cup of coffee.

Thanks for reading,
Michael D. Holloway

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Homebuyer Associates
1835 N. Riverwalk Way
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414-254-4129