By John Dickerson
ABC’s Good Morning America recently retold New Times' "Hot Potato" story.
New Times reported the story on November 8, 2007. “Hot Potato” detailed a case of buyer-remorse that escalated into a lawsuit. The story centered on Candy Tatum, a potato-throwing neighbor whom the buyer said was too crazy to live next to. He complained that the seller should have disclosed the potato lobber.
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The house became worth about $40,000 less than the sales price, thanks to market changes. That had some folks wondering if the buyer was really upset about potatoes or about pesos. Either way, the lawsuit stands to set a precedent in Arizona. Current disclosure laws require sellers to report any “material” defect to buyers. But whether a nuisance neighbor is a “material” problem remains to be determined – most likely by this case.
The lawsuit is still making its way through the courts. Meanwhile, national mental-health advocates say it could set a dangerous precedent, particularly if sellers start diagnosing the mental health of neighbors. Others say “buyer beware” applies and that buyers should investigate the neighborhood before dropping dough on a new pad.
Another gritty detail: The seller used a Realty Executives agent for the transaction. That’s interesting because the buyer (who’s now suing the seller) is an executive of the same company, Realty Executives.
The Arizona Republic also took a shot at reheating this cooled potato.