What Did the Seller Know?

Newlyweds Scott Strand and KK Thomson were delighted to close last fall on a modest rambler in Edina, where they both grew up and wanted to live after they got married.

At the end of the year, though, the young couple got what Strand calls “a New Year’s surprise” — a notice that they faced a $16,800 bill for street reconstruction.  “We were shocked,” he said. “If that assessment was known to us prior to buying the house, I don’t know that we would have bought it.”

–“For Homeowners, Street Work a Financial Pothole“; Star Tribune (2/7/2012)

Hail normally doesn’t fall from sunny skies — and city assessments usually don’t appear out of thin, blue air.

Especially whoppers like the one mentioned above.

On the contrary, in my experience, slow-moving municipalities typically inundate homeowners with notices, updates, updated updates, etc. — however dull or opaquely written. 

“Smell Test”

I don’t profess to know the circumstances of this deal, and am certainly not an expert on Edina’s assessment process.

But, it’s hard to believe that the exiting Sellers hadn’t received some kind of notice from the city, which they apparently failed to disclose to the Buyers.

Or, if the Buyers were told something, they apparently didn’t recall it, or failed to appreciate its significance.

Something here just doesn’t add up . . .

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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