3 On Your Side

Phoenix area couple in land dispute with real estate company

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Candace Waltz and her husband said they were shown one parcel of land but then sold a different one. (Source: 3TV) Candace Waltz and her husband said they were shown one parcel of land but then sold a different one. (Source: 3TV)
According to Waltz, the parcel of land they actually bought wasn't the one they were shown by that HomeSmart agent. (Source: 3TV) According to Waltz, the parcel of land they actually bought wasn't the one they were shown by that HomeSmart agent. (Source: 3TV)
Footage from our drone shows the two properties are near each other but there’s an enormous difference. (Source: 3TV) Footage from our drone shows the two properties are near each other but there’s an enormous difference. (Source: 3TV)
Waltz and her husband say had the HomeSmart agent showed her the correct piece of land for sale, they would never have purchased it. (Source: 3TV) Waltz and her husband say had the HomeSmart agent showed her the correct piece of land for sale, they would never have purchased it. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

A Valley couple say they were excited to have purchased a parcel of land where they could build their new home.

But the land they thought they bought, and the land they actually purchased, were completely different parcels and they don’t understand how such a huge mistake could have happened.

“I'm a country girl. I came from 78 acres in Michigan and I just like being out where I have my space,” Candace Waltz said.

Waltz and her husband love open spaces. So, they started looking for some property near the San Tan Mountains.

“So, we found a piece of property on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and we wanted to go ahead and check it out because it looked like it would fit the bill,” she said. 

Waltz says she contacted the HomeSmart real estate agent who listed the parcel of land. She says that the HomeSmart agent showed them a specific piece of land. Waltz showed 3 On Your Side the piece of property she says she was shown. 

“She showed us this area right here and it kind of goes up the side of the hill a little bit. She pointed out there was a piece of rebar which indicated that it had been surveyed in the past. There's [sic] a couple of twin cactuses back at the edge of what she called the boundaries of this particular piece,” Waltz said. 

Waltz says she fell in love with the property she was shown. In fact, she made a full price offer.

“She said it was $42,000 cash,” Waltz said. 

After purchasing the property, Waltz had it surveyed so she could start building a home.

But the surveyor made a startling discovery. According to Waltz, the parcel of land they actually bought wasn't the one they were shown by that HomeSmart agent.

“This is like me looking for a nice house, I find one that I like, the realtor showed it to us and we decided we're gonna purchase it. We do so and we find out a week or two later after we close that it's not the same house!” Waltz explained.

Waltz showed us the piece of property that she says the real estate agent showed her. And then showed us the property and parcel number listed on the contract.

Footage from our drone shows the two properties are near each other but there’s an enormous difference. Waltz says the most concerning difference is what’s right next to the property she purchased.

“I am next to kinda a dump! It's right on the border, on the fence line. It is a bunch of horseshoes, broken down appliances, two big shipping containers, broken down cars and trucks!” Waltz said.

Waltz and her husband say had the HomeSmart agent shown her the correct piece of land for sale, they would never have purchased it.

The couple say they immediately called the HomeSmart agent to say she showed them the wrong property. 

The response she got?

“Well, I'm sure there's a simple mistake that we can fix,” Waltz said. 

And exactly how do you fix a problem like this? Sell it off again, at least that's what Waltz says she was told.

“Resell the property with no commission. Well whoopy di do! Who's gonna buy it?” Waltz asked.

3 On Your Side got involved and we contacted HomeSmart which referred us to their attorney. He tells us that HomeSmart shouldn't be blamed for the mix-up, but wants to resolve the issue anyway.

“The No. 1 goal here is to get Ms. Waltz happy and situated. Even if we have a disagreement as to liability and responsibility,” says HomeSmart’s attorney Dax Watson.

Watson says he doesn't necessarily agree that HomeSmart showed the couple the wrong property. However, he does say if Waltz would have ordered a survey prior to the deal closing, the snafu could have been detected. 

“The agent has responsibilities; the buyers have responsibilities. This buyer wanted to close very quickly. This buyer needed to get a survey. This buyer didn't get a survey, now we have a problem,” says Watson. 

In order to resolve the issue, HomeSmart's attorney tells 3 On Your Side they have found someone to buy the couple's property, but at a lower price.

However, in emails to 3 On Your Side, HomeSmart's attorney makes assurances that the company will pay Waltz the difference so she won't lose any money and will be made financially whole.

Waltz says just wants her money soon so she can move on. 

“I think they should pay me back the money I lost completely,” Waltz said.

3 On Your Side is told that the sale is almost finalized. Once that happens and once the couple is made financially whole, we will do a follow-up report.

This is also a good reminder to have a survey before closing.  

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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