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Dream Home Turned Bat Cave: A Buyer's Horror Story

In the world of real estate, every transaction is a journey filled with anticipation, excitement, and sometimes, unexpected challenges.

Today, we delve into a story shared by a young family on Reddit, who found themselves in an unusual predicament after purchasing their dream home. Their experience serves as a reminder of the importance of thorough inspections, understanding local laws, and the value of professional advice.

The family, based in Washington state, were eager to find a home where they could raise their child. They found a Victorian mansion, priced at around $870K, located near their favorite state park in North Puget Sound. Despite the inspection revealing a list of projects and "evidence of rodents" in the attic, they were undeterred. They had dealt with rodents before and were ready to tackle the challenges that lay ahead.

However, their dream home quickly turned into a nightmare when they discovered a bat infestation. As the homeowner described, "We have a guest staying in the bedroom in the furnished attic. They hear scrawling in the walls. We start hearing it while we are up there... So we stake out the house, and we see a hoard of bats fly out from a tiny tiny gap in the corner of our attic window dormer."

The Escalating Situation

The situation escalated rapidly. Pest control companies described it as one of the worst infestations they had ever seen, with thousands of bats and a significant amount of fecal matter posing a health hazard. The family had to evacuate their home, and they faced a mountain of expenses, including medical bills due to potential rabies exposure and the cost of removing the bats and repairing the damage.

The family's predicament was further complicated by the fact that they had purchased the house from an estate. In Washington State, an estate is not required to disclose any issues with the house. The family's research revealed that the previous owners were aware of the bat problem, but this information was not disclosed during the sale.

The Dilemma and Possible Solutions

The homeowner shared their dilemma, "Risky lawsuit against the sellers and the seller's realtor. Risky lawsuit against insurance. Risky concoction of overleveraging (HELOC/HEA) to pay for repairs. Strategic default, we lose $200K immediately and locked out of real estate for years... With the market teetering in a million stupid directions, and the scale of severity of this problem, we are losing our minds."

Among the options they considered was selling their smaller property, which they initially intended to rent or sell to a developer. This could potentially fetch around $450K, which they could use to rent somewhere else while fixing the new place. However, this would mean losing their last vestige of security.

Community Advice

The Reddit community offered various pieces of advice. Some suggested exploring legal options, while others recommended seeking help from local health departments or wildlife agencies. A few suggested turning the situation into a unique selling point, marketing the house as a bat habitat once the infestation was under control.

The Importance of Professional Guidance

This story underscores the importance of thorough inspections and understanding local real estate laws. It also highlights the value of professional advice. Real estate agents, inspectors, and lawyers can provide invaluable guidance and help navigate the complexities of the home buying process.

At our real estate school, we aim to equip our students with the knowledge and skills to handle such situations. We provide comprehensive training on property inspections, understanding real estate laws, and effective communication with clients. Our goal is to prepare our students to guide their clients through the home buying process smoothly, helping them avoid such unfortunate situations.

Your Turn

In the end, the family's story serves as a stark reminder of the unexpected challenges that can arise in real estate. It underscores the importance of education, preparation, and professional guidance in navigating the complex world of home buying and selling.

Now, we turn the question to you, our readers. If you were the real estate agent for this family, how would you advise them? What steps would you take to help them navigate this challenging situation? We invite you to share your thoughts and insights in the comments below or share with a colleague in an upcoming CE Class!


u/Emu_Fast. (2023, July 24). My wife and I were sold a lemon, the sellers concealed evidence of migratory bats that came back in the summer and completely ruined our lives [Online forum post]. Reddit.

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