Homebuyers finally get action after 2 years with leaky roof

A Sammamish couple thought they'd done everything right when they insisted on a new roof before they purchased their home. But 2 months after the roof was installed they say it started leaking, and no one would take responsibility.

Yugo Sato and his family welcome our sunny summer weather. They've been fighting roof leaks since buying their Sammamish dream home in late 2012. When they first found the home, the home inspector recommended a new roof. That was a conditions of the purchase.

"Our agreement, sale and purchase agreement with the seller, was quite simple,", said Sato. "We wanted two things: a better roof and a warranty. But we got neither."

Sato says he and his wife have had to replace a living room wall and window because of water damage. They had to place pans in the attic to catch drips coming through their young daughters' bedroom ceiling. The problem? Roofing experts say their low sloped roof should have an extra layer of material to help keep water out.

But Sato says the owner of Emerald State Roofing told him he followed proper installation requirements and that the Redfin real estate agent representing the seller at the time said the seller didn't want the extra cost of more material. Redfin in turn, blames the roofer.

"I don't know who said what," Sato said during our interview in May. "I mean right now it's just 'he said she said.'"

Sato said he could not get help from the State Attorney General or file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Industries or even the Better Business Bureau because he and his wife were not the actual customers who hired the roofer. The contractors invoice was addressed to the real estate agent. The people who sold the home moved out of state and would not respond.

After I contacted Redfin and Emerald State Roofing, things started to happen. Redfin investigated and stressed that neither the company nor the agent were at fault, but the company was sympathetic to the Sato's dilemma. Redfin's Vice President of Communications Jani Strand said the company agreed to cover roughly $8,000 toward the cost of a new roof.

I showed Sato how to research roofers using local customer reviews and tips from, a non-profit, subscriber-based consumer rating service. Sato selected Guardian Roofing. Once Sato and Redfin explained the situation to Guardian, owner Arron Santas agreed to discount the cost of a brand new roof -- water barrier included.

"I've got a young family. We've got a lot of people who work for us that have young families. And we try to look at it,- put ourselves in their shoes. And if we can do something we do. And in this case we could," Santas explained.

"Nobody was really taking responsibility, until we contacted you guys and that sped things up quite a bit," said Sato.

Emerald State Roofing's owner, Todd Sinicrope, told me he suggested extra material when he started the work, but the Redfin agent he dealt with said the sellers didn't have extra money.

"I never dealt with sellers, just the realtor," said Sinicrope. "I emphasized to the agent there was extra material needed to make sure the roof didn't leak. That leaks weren't guaranteed, but there was a strong possibility of issues. We're a certified company with an outstanding record. I've never had a problem. But the realtor said the seller was strapped for money."

Sinicrope says as a gesture of goodwill, he offered Sato $1,000 in materials towards the new roof, which Sato accepted.

Sinicrope is adamant that he did the job to spec. Redfin is equally adamant and disputes Emerald State's account of what happened. The company insists their agent, who has since moved to another real estate firm, did nothing wrong.

The Satos say they're just happy not to have to worry about rain and leaks. They paid some of their own money to upgrade the roof to metal and say the Guardian crew should be wrapped up by the end of the day Friday August 8th.

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