June 9, 2003
Mr. Ryan Iwanaga
Coldwell Banker Real Estate
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Dear Mr. Iwanaga,
I purchased a new home at the address listed below in September, 2001 for $3.25 million. Your company was the
listing and selling agency. At the time of the purchase, your listing agent (Lou Rae Kagel) told my wife and me
several times that we could build a pool in the back yard. Also, I have attached some of the sales brochures
that state this. One brochure from Coldwell Banker states
“Room for pool and/or other building”. Another states “City says space in back sufficient for additional 800
sq. ft. structure”. Lou Rae told us we could build a pool plus have a garage or workshop.
The house has a separate pool house, and Lou Rae told us that the pool was not put in so that the owners could build
the type of pool they wanted. With that in mind, we worked with a pool company and submitted our plans for a pool in
January, 2003. I was very surprised to hear from the City of Monte Sereno that our lot was already 874 sq. ft. over
the permitted amount of hardscape. This means that no additional structure, decking, pool, or any hard surface would
I met with the Monte Sereno planners and they have finally agreed to a major concession, which is outlined in the
attached letter. They have allowed me to remove the current driveway and replace it with cobblestone and count the
cobblestone at 50% of the square footage. This represents a savings of almost 1500 sq. ft., which is the amount of
hardscape we were requesting for the pool and deck. We will still be over the hardscape limits
for our property, but they have made that concession after several meetings with them.
So the bottom line is that I am asking for Coldwell Banker to pay to have my driveway replaced with cobblestone. The
attached cost estimates add up to $42,620 for the lowest price bid (this amount increases to $43,400 if rebar is in the
driveway). I am willing to make this the entire settlement for a quick resolution to this matter. In the end, we
just want a pool installed.
If this matter is not handled very quickly, then I would be forced to seek outside counsel for this issue as well as
several others. The first brochure says the house is 5300 sq. ft. and the second one says 5100. The house is actually
5039 sq. ft. Both brochures say that fibre optics
communications is installed, but it is not. Not only is the pool not allowed, but the city has told me that no
additional building would be allowed, despite the claim in your brochure. This lack of future expansion capability
devalues the property and takes away from its usefulness and future resale
value. Not having a pool to use this summer is also a big disappointment.
Lou Rae Kagel has been an outright liar during and after the sale of this home. Among other claims, she told us
that the pool house was air-conditioned. When I pointed out that there was no air-conditioner around the pool house
and I could not feel any cool air coming from the vents, she told me that it was on the roof or in the
garage. After seeing that it was not in
either location, she said it was in the attic. I was sceptical of an air-conditioner being put in an attic, but
she tried to reassure me that her husband was a builder and she knows that this is commonly
done. After a few weeks and no demonstration that the air-conditioning worked, she came back to me and said
that, in fact, there was no air-conditioning but the builder would install it for half the builder’s cost.
Eventually, the air-conditioner was installed without me paying for it, but after much harassment and
deception. This delayed closing and the builder needed to repay a loan, so I was requested to pay my down payment
($1.25 million) directly to the builder before the official closing. This outlandish request was an incredible
risk to me and Coldwell Banker if the closing did not go through (what if the house burned down?), so I declined. This
request demonstrates gross incompetence or intentional deception.
After first calling on you about this pool issue in March, you had Lou Rae go to the city to understand the specifics
of why my pool plans were rejected. Her response was that I could have a pool put in if I simply changed the plans to
one more acceptable to the city. Let me assure you this is another outright lie. The property is already over its
allotted hardscape and the city would not allow a single additional sq. ft. of hardscape (a pool is counted as
hardscape) without the concession mentioned above.
So, please get back to me very quickly with your agreement to pay for the driveway replacement so that I can have
the work started as soon as possible.
By the way, the selling agent was Douglas Rea, who did a stellar job and who I would not hesitate in recommending or
17682 Blanchard Drive
Monte Sereno, CA 95030