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Lawsuit Can Be Trouble

July 07, 1996

Warning: Construction defect lawsuits in condos can be hazardous to your financial health. At least that is what my husband and I found out.

We own a condo in Spring Valley, Calif. Last year, our homeowners association decided to sue the builder for defects that to this day we cannot see. It's been a nightmare.

As a result, we couldn't refinance our condo's mortgage. And now that we are trying to sell it, we have discovered that buyers don't want any part of a condo involved in a lawsuit. The condo we bought for $108,000 in 1992 is now on the market for $69,000, and we are still having trouble selling it.

Part of this $39,000 loss in equity is due to market conditions. But my neighbors and I are sure a lot more of it is due to the lawsuit. At least that is what all the Realtors say.

The lawyers told us we'd win a lot of money and the courts would settle the suit soon. That has turned out not to be true. Our trial date keeps getting postponed and now isn't scheduled until sometime next year. Worse, they never told us about the downside of this suit--and it has been horrendous.

KRISTEN WILLIAMS

Ramona

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