A Central Florida family is facing foreclosure after the house they thought would be their forever home, turned out to be a lemon.
A lawsuit claims it’s uninsurable, full of leaks, and has a rotting wood frame that wasn’t disclosed during the sale.
They’re suing the seller, the agent who worked with them, and the appraiser who looked over the property before the sale.
They cannot sell the house because they now owe more than what it will appraise for. The home was once an assisted living facility, based in Maitland.
Lori Cerceo worries that any day now, the locks will be changed on what she expected to be her forever home.
“We have the bank telling us that we’re in default,” Cerceo said. “We moved to an apartment, so we basically have an uninsurable home, and uninhabitable home, that is just sitting here.”
Inside, it’s musty and vacant, and the kitchen cabinets are ripped out. Photos show that the family hadn’t even fully unpacked when a leak prompted them to tear the place apart, revealing the house an appraisal told them was concrete block was actually a wood frame, which Cerceo says was rotting and making her children sick.
That’s the basis of a lawsuit, which states the home was ‘represented to be concrete block’ and accuses the seller of ‘concealing defects in the home’ including leaks, termite damage, an HVAC malfunction, leaks in the windows, and failed to provide the required disclosures prior to closing.
“There’s a lot of red flags there,” real estate attorney Barry Miller said. “First of all, if the agent who is acting as a transactional agent, is supposed to have a duty to both sides. If he had knowledge of these conditions, he had a duty to disclose that to the buyer.”
Miller says this case is an example of the importance of getting an independent inspection and doing your own research.
The defendants have argued in court records that the transaction was an ‘as-is’ sale, stating that the family agreed to rely solely on the representations of the seller and an inspection, which did point out rot around all the windows and doors, but only on the exterior.
The defendants did not wish to provide a statement due to pending litigation. Miller says if you are buying a home, you should do your own research; check for permits or unpermitted work and any other public records related to the home.