See Two Actual Client Success Cases!
Robert's leading edge services and buyer representation is unparalleled in the Atlanta real estate industry.
As these cases show, hiring an Expert & Advocate rather than an Agent/Generalist can make all the difference!
Case # 1
A Serious Structural Condition Caught and Repaired, and a Major Price Reduction Negotiated
A Wonderful $750,000 Dunwoody Luxury Lake Front Estate Home
A young professional couple relocating from Orlando, FL contacted Robert to represent them in the negotiation and acquisition of a new lake front estate home in Dunwoody, GA. The couple, a computer executive and physician found the property on the internet. The couple actually tried to use one of the large online "E agent firms" during a trip to Atlanta - they were so unimpressed with the agents level of service and ability they fired her. While searching buyer agent websites the couple came across this website. They were impressed with the unmatched level of diligence and additional services provided to buyers. As a Broker and Construction Expert, Robert provided the added dimension of professional service and extra protections they wanted.
The couple were especially concerned with making sure there were no structural problems due to the close proximity of an attractive lake in the rear before committing themselves to an offer. They asked Robert to look the property over for any evidence of problems, especially with the foundation system before moving forward to strategize and craft a purchase offer. Special note: Prior to this couple hiring Robert as their Buyer Broker, the builder ran into the couple at the property one day and made an unusual and very rare offer - an $18,000 price reduction (part of his listing agent/relatives listing fee) upon the condition they agree to come to the table without a buyers agent - an offer virtually unheard of from a builder. The builder was trying to close out the property before a trip to Europe - Robert had that offer in mind when formulating a purchasing strategy that later proved to be quite successful.
These buyers exercised above average decision making skills and very wisely refused this offer and hired Robert. This home was a major purchase and the buyers wanted what all buyers want, the best possible price, but they also wanted expert representation and a professional strategy, along with some assurance about the soundness of the home and quality of investment before proceeding.
It must be noted, most buyers would have found out that the home had already been reduced $45,000 and accepted the builders further offer as a good deal. Had our clients accepted the price reduction and suffered a structural failure or collapse, they would have experienced untold property damage and possibly loss of life. Suffice it to say, the $18,000 price concession would not begin to cover their loss.
Not only did Robert discover a major structural defect that the local building inspection department missed, he demanded and supervised its satisfactory repair, and successfully negotiated an offer that resulted in a $50,000 price reduction for his clients - 2.7 times what they were offered to proceed without the valuable assistance and representation of a buyer broker.
"This is one of the top 4 or 5 most personally rewarding deals I have helped a client with. Not only were my specialized building inspection skills critical in detecting a serious structural defect to protect my clients, (a defect the county building inspectors missed), but I had to use these same skills repeatedly to analyze and oversee this repair was performed correctly. The icing on the cake was the successful negotiation of such a major price reduction!" - Robert Whitfield
Robert Uncovers A Serious Structural Defect - One That Multiple County Building Inspectors Missed
The lake caused no potential problems whatsoever with the foundation, however Robert discovered about 15 engineered web truss in the ceiling of the basement which were installed backwards! Critical load bearing points designed and engineered into the truss just for this homes plan were unsupported at one end - this meant that two stories of house were resting on overloaded trusses. Robert extracted market data (not in the sellers favor) and put together a purchase offer strongly in favor of the buyer, but made it contingent with specially crafted stipulations guaranteeing satisfactory correction of the trusses.
The truss issue was brought to the builders superintendent, who got back to us in a few days and said the truss were evaluated by the manufacturer and found to be adequate. Robert asked for documentation and the superintendent produced an official looking statement of opinion from the truss department manager on the local building suppliers letterhead where the truss were fabricated. Robert had too much experience with building technology and structural problems to accept such a document at face value, and upon further investigation learned that the truss department manager who signed the document was not an engineer and was not qualified to design or alter trusses nor calculate structural loading. As it turned out the truss were installed backwards! The builders rep and listing agent both made a fuss because Robert would not accept the suppliers letter. Robert demanded a structural engineer qualified to calculate web truss configuration and loading inspect and render an opinion of the trusses. The building supplier agreed to send a licensed engineer who indeed found the trusses were overloaded. The engineer performed some calculations and sent a highly detailed drawing of an alteration that would make the truss and house, structurally sound once performed on each truss.
The builders rep called Robert five days later and said the engineers recommended alteration work was completed. Robert inspected the work and refused it because it did not faithfully and closely follow the engineers drawing details. Robert met again with the builders rep and showed him exactly where the alteration work was deficient and needed to be corrected. Robert set up a date for final inspection and also coordinated for the engineer to come back as well and issue an official signed and sealed letter of structural opinion if the work was properly completed. The work was finally completed and the engineer was able to issue a legal and binding statement attesting to the homes soundness for the buyers. Note - to be valid, an engineer has to be licensed in the state the work is in, and any opinions and calculations must be signed and stamped with the engineers seal or they are worthless.
"I have absolutely no doubt that anything less than my experience and skills as both a Broker and Construction Expert along with dogged follow-up were crucial in making this particular deal a success for my clients - neither skill set alone would have been sufficient to achieve the successful outcome." - Robert Whitfield
Case # 2
A new home where construction progressed well...until the flood disaster!
A Beautiful $525,000 Kennesaw Custom Home
A computer executive who already lived in Kennesaw contacted Robert to help him build a larger home for his family in a new development not far from where he lived. The client found this website, and called because he wanted someone who was not just a real estate agent, but who also had extensive construction knowledge and homebuilding experience. The clients main concern was someone who could not only represent and protect his interests in making an offer to purchase, but help monitor the project and assist him during the construction. The client had contracted for his previous home to be built from the ground up and said the builder had made mistakes and the whole process had been a real hassle and he was far to busy to go through that again. This client had found the exact home he wanted, the builders model, and had actually videotaped the entire home with a camcorder with the sales staff present. The client expressed a desire for a lot that would allow a flat side entry driveway and a walkout terrace not requiring stairs. The client had picked out 2-3 lots he thought might work, but wanted Robert's expert opinion on selecting a lot.
Robert surveyed the lots which the client picked and showed the client how those lots would not be suitable for the home and what the client wanted to achieve. Robert surveyed several other lots and found two ideal lots which the client liked. The client selected a lot that sited the home well and ultimately turned out beautifully.
Robert had monitored this home for months since lot selection and things went well until...
After five months everything was going well after a slow start due to rainy weather. Robert found a few framing defects along the way which he had the builder to correct. The REAL problem occurred shortly after the brick veneer was applied - a plumber (who was later fired) routed the main water line through the front foundation wall one Friday afternoon but did not seal around it before he left. The next day it rained hard and water poured in the front wall all day on Saturday and flooded the finished basement - a $100K addition that was 95% completed and which included a fireplace, built-in bookcases, a media room and fancy built-up moldings throughout.
After this disaster, Robert got with the builders rep to discuss how to best handle the situation. The builders rep proposed to wet vacuum the basement, and install several high velocity blower fans in an attempt to dry out the walls of which 90% were exposed to water from the flooded slab floor.
Robert voiced a concern about mold growing inside the walls and the future health affects to the homebuyers, and posed a more dramatic solution - to cut out the base of all walls below 24 inches, allow the frame a week to dry out with the blowers, then replace the drywall and trim. The builders rep rejected that plan saying he was not going to do that, that Robert should just let him do his job! The builders rep said if anything he may cut out some areas if they got mold and would wash the rest of the walls down with Clorox. Robert maintained his position that nothing done on the surface would have any affect on what was inside of the walls and strongly disagreed with the builder reps solution as being inadequate.
The builders rep figured he just needed to clean some walls and cut out a few areas to get by...
Two days later the builders rep decided to cut out several areas after seeing mold starting to grow on the surface of the walls. Robert performed an electronic moisture test (he is a licensed code certified building inspector) which indicated 29% moisture (the saturation point) in virtually all the lower wall framing and plates - a clear indication (to someone who knows what they are doing) that the drywall received enough moisture to cause severe mold growth and damage inside. Robert took the test data to the sales office and advised the sales manager that his clients did not deserve to have mold in the walls of a new half million dollar home, and that the builders rep was more concerned with saving money than properly addressing the problem. Robert advised that he had made close-up photos of growing mold on and in the walls as documentation and was going to recommend his clients not close unless the builder change his stance.
Robert was adamant that all walls were to be cut out - the reason soon became clear...black mold!
After the "spirited presentation" at the sales office, a representative from the builders corporate office contacted Robert right away and advised that the builders rep was instructed to tear out all lower walls and do what was necessary to properly address the issue. Photos taken during the tear out only 3 - 4 days later show how dark mold was found to be rapidly growing inside the walls and behind baseboards - just as Robert believed would be the case.
These photos show where every wall in the basement was cut out on both sides of every room, allowed to properly dry, the lower frame was treated with mildewcide, the outer walls were re-insulated, then all drywall and trim was replaced. This process added almost three weeks to the construction completion time but was the only way to go to achieve a mold-free, healthy new home for these clients.
Robert has many other client case files documenting similar results while Representing Atlanta Buyers!
Prefer an Expert and Advocate, to an Agent/Generalist..? Call Robert Whitfield!
Unmatched Advice, Counsel, and Representation for Buyers!
Advantage Home Buyer Representatives, Inc. Local: 678-585-9691
Specialists in Prime In Town and Greater North Atlanta Properties
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