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Hard lesson?What could I have done different?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by KAG, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. KAG

    KAG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    12/19 - I got a call from a realty office stating they needed help to get a house closed on 12/24. There were several things the VA had to have done before they would sign off but if I could get them done I would get paid on the 24th. Could I please go meet with the sellers.

    I go meet with the sellers and they give me the list. Some vinyl siding replaced on the front, a truck sized hole filled in on the North side (he was going to put a cellar in), down spout splash guards installed on all down spouts and pressure wash the foundation also on the north side as it has green mold growing along the foundation. Its +5F out not looking forward to it but I work up an estimate and put in the estimate specifically that as soon as the job is done I want to be paid, absolutely no waiting for closing or escrow. The sellers say ok, the realty company says no problem, please just get it done.

    Anyway froze my @ss off pressure washing the foundation, which in the estimate I stated was not mold but was weed eater grass stains. I listed that there was mildew on the siding on that side. They said no just the green stains on the foundation of the home. I put all this in the estimate. I jumped through hoops sourcing the same style and color siding, got it installed and the ground was frozen so it was very difficult to get the hole filled in but I did using my SS. I also listed in the estimate that the ground around the hole would look bad as its winter and no real way to make it look nice at this time of year.

    So I finish but have to wait for the 24th because we don't have the money they say. 24th comes and no money, they say well the VA lady has not re-inspected. I said thats not my problem and I am supposed to be paid. I am told no money is available till we close but you will be paid on the 26th. Well no money then either because the VA says there is mold on the side of the house and dirt needs to be put on the south side foundation. I said I did what I was contracted to do and even have it in writing.

    Then the bomb gets dropped.....well the buyers won't pay until we close and we can not close till its done. SO....the buyers are footing the bill but the seller and their realty agent is whom I contracted with. I tell them I am not doing anything more until I am paid for what I have already done. The seller says we don't have any money and the realty agent says its her clients problem not hers.

    The buyer and their realty agent calls me 12/29 asks why I have not finished and I explain I have finished the job I was contracted to do. Their agent says well if i want the money thats in escrow I will go back and basically do the rest but there is no money in escrow for any other expense. Meaning no additional money to pay for the extra stuff. They want it for free basically. Saying the pressure washing should have included the side of the house and the dirt on the south side. I said once again I completed my end of the bargain. They tell me to think it over and let them know.

    Can't put a lein on the house because its not been long enough time and my contract is with the sellers who are leaving the region as soon as they close.

    So would you all just eat it or go do the rest for free and get at least something. It is not a tiny bill either, not huge but not small. I am leaning towards saying screw it.
  2. jeffmoore

    jeffmoore LawnSite Member
    Messages: 134

    Dang hate that for you man, hate dealing with realators they almost always want more than agreed on. I'd go back and pressure wash that side of the house and try to get my money. Remember when they call to ask for more work what a PITA they were.
    Who signed the contract, they are the one responsible for the bill. did you take before and after shots?
  3. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,986

    Are you sure you can't put a lien on the house? If payment is past due, you should be able to. Guess it is different from state to state.
  4. Two Seasons

    Two Seasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 791

    Around here, you can't put a lien on a property until 30+ days have passed since work was completed. Then you have an additional 5 months to put the lien on the property.
  5. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,536

    I will never get involved in a realestate deal.

    NEW CITY LAWN CARE LLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,271

    Can't you be included in the escrow? I know that Appraisers and Inspectors do this all the time, get paid at close of escrow, I guess all this should have been in your contract, and spelled out completely before performing any work with a price to include the whole project. I guess lesson learned and it won't happen again.
  7. KAG

    KAG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    After thinking this through better I will do the extras and get what I can get. It hasn't been 30 days so no lien is possible. I guess in the end even a written agreement doesn't mean much sometimes. The lesson learned from a business stand point I think is if it sounds like its going to be a PITA it always is and to just pass and never again become involved in a property that is closing.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  8. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 26,985

    Your biggestmistake was not identifiying who your actual customer was. Most of thes type deals are npt worth the hassle , best to avoid em like the plauge.
  9. Fvstringpicker

    Fvstringpicker LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,670

    I believe, under agency law, the real estate company may be liable depending on how the contract was presented. Hence, if the RE agent contracted in their own name without disclosing the name of the principal, they are liable even if you knew they are an agent. If you know the name of closing attorney, you can send a copy of the bill and may be able to lock it in. What could you have done differently? When working for an agent of the principal, require the agent makes themselves personal responsible by an express agreement to be responsible.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  10. tjc47

    tjc47 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Don't do the extra work. Take them to small claims court. If everything is in your contract, it should stand up. It is easy and pretty cheap to do.

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