Dennis Quaid sues over defects in Austin mansion
Lawsuit says sellers of lakefront estate failed to disclose problems with water intrusion, rats and remodeling done without permits. The sellers disagree.
Paying a lot for a house apparently does not ensure it's in good shape, or even in livable condition.
Actor Dennis Quaid and his wife, Kimberly, are suing the sellers of the Austin, Texas, mansion for which they paid an undisclosed number of millions in February. They allege the sellers misrepresented the condition of the house and are asking for their money back, as well as additional damages and attorney fees.
Post continues below
According to the lawsuit, the home suffers from water intrusion and related damage, remodeling projects that were done badly and without permits, and a rat infestation.
The problems are so bad, according to the Quaids, that they cannot live in the house and have been forced to rent another home in Austin.
The Quaids moved to Austin to be nearer to the actor's mother, who is in a retirement home there. Dennis Quaid is from Houston; his wife is from Austin.
It's not known how much the Quaids paid for the two pieces of property that make up the estate, but the main house was last listed for $12 million. It's a six-bedroom, eight-bath house, with 11,103 square feet on just under half an acre. It has a pool, outdoor fireplace, wine room and secured vault, plus 100 feet of lakefront.
The house was built in 1970. According to the listing, it was "remodeled in 2007 using the finest finishes and materials." The second piece of property includes a boathouse and a helipad.
The sellers were Blake and Monica Byram, who are well-known in Austin. Their lawyer told The Austin American-Statesman that the Byrams "don't agree with the allegations" and are negotiating with the Quaids, whom they consider friends.
- Inspection was done. And, by the most popular and most trusted inspector here in Austin used by pretty much ALL of the top realtors and for the most expensive homes. This is certainly not the most expensive home in Austin.
- Disclosures were given. The realtors did their jobs in disclosing everything that was known to them. Quaid's had real estate attorney as well in the transaction. They sign-off on all parts of the transaction and take over when realtors are not allowed to give advice, exonerating realtors liability. The buyers can ignore or overlook anything in the disclosures if they so choose and move forward with the transaction.
- Permits. Realtors are not required to look into permits. The builders are the ones required to get and have permits. This is what title insurance is for also.
I would find the best builder/remodeler I could and pay him to examine it for me. Keep the real estate agents out of that part of the deal. They tend to refer the people who make light of things so the deal goes easier.
To Riche7556: Just to clarify a point; in the State of Texas, the disclosures are filled out by the sellers, not the Realtor. It is unlikely that the Realtor will have any knowledge of defects unless the seller makes their Realtor aware. If their Realtor is aware of a material defect, then by law the Realtor is required to make sure it is disclosed even if the seller tells them not to.
Personally (I am a Real Estate Broker), if I saw evidence of remodelling or what looked like water damage (or other damage/potential problem), I would ask the seller (or agent) about it directly, not just wait for them to bring it up, no matter whom I was representing. It could be that the sellers really weren't aware of some of the problems with their house. There are plenty of shifty contractors out there. Remember the problems Sandra Bullock had with her new house?
Regardless, I do feel bad for the Quaids; it sounds like they got alot more than they bargained for, in a bad way.
Always hire the certified housing inspector in your area hated the most by realtors. His expenses will almost always be redeemed at the bargaining table.
Accompany him on his inspection, ensuring he crawls from the attic through the basement of your intended investment. Expect a detail report on all structual, electrical, and plumbing condition.
Funny how hateful and demeaning most of you are about the relative topic you chose to post about.
1. saying home inspectors and realators and bankers whom are all professionals are all crooked is just stupid!
2. saying the buyers should have to live with their purchase and should have known better is stupid as well!
3. saying the rats were there first etc is just plain mean and oh yes, stupid!
conclusion, most of you who comment here are STUPID!
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.