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Selling a Vacant Home

Dear Phyllis,
I reside in La Cañada and specifically hired a Seal Beach Realtor who lives close to the home my parents owned. He assured me that he would keep a close eye on it because he lived just a few blocks from the home. I interviewed three real estate agents and hired this one specifically because I felt it essential when selling a vacant home to hire a Realtor in close proximity. I understand the real estate market has changed, and we sold for a bit less than planned. But I don’t blame the agent for that. When visiting a friend in Seal Beach I stopped by the home that I had not seen for about six weeks. There was mud all over the walkway as something was obviously leaking. It looked like this had been going on for a while, and the water bill jumped to over $700. I am extremely upset because I paid over $100,000 in real estate commissions. I don’t feel this agent looked after my home as promised. I believe my Realtor should be responsible for the water bill. What are your thoughts?


Dear Bill,
I agree that it was your Realtor’s responsibility to keep an eye on the home, especially since this was the front walkway it would be hard to miss. I am curious, though, if you have a gardener and how often he serviced the yard. The gardener also bears some responsibility. He is the one in charge of the landscape and sprinklers. Contact your gardener and find out why he didn’t inform you. Once you have that information, you may decide the Realtor is not responsible.

When selling a vacant home, it’s reasonable to assume that your Realtor will check on the house at least once a week. As inspectors often leave a/c running or create other issues, most Realtors will check vacant homes after each inspection.

Personally, each time one of my team or I visit a vacant listing, we have a form we have developed that we complete. If a problem arises, we know with certainty the last time we were at the home.