Birgit Hutchcroft Baywater HoldingCrystal River Florida sales scam
Before you consider leasing or buying the property of 621 S. Log Haven Point, Crystal River, Florida, please visit this website www.pureh2o2forhealth.com/logcabin.htm . We previously had a contract on this property. If you are considering buying any real estate or engaging in any business with Birgit Hutchcroft, you still should visit the website and do your research into Citrus County Clerk records (official records and court records).
There has been a great deal of misinformation put online concerning this particularly property for sale or for lease. This is the accurate information about the Log Cabin being offered. The current eBay listings for this property contain grossly false information about the property and house.
In fact, it is a very small 1 bedroom, 1 3/4 bath log cabin with 982 square feet total interior floor footage (it is NOT 1,800 square feet). There is a small pantry by the kitchen (about 6 foot by 10 foot) that was also converted to a tiny closet bedroom and there is an open loft (not privacy door) that has two build in twin beds against 1 wall. That is where the claim that it is a 3 bedroom house comes from - a converted tiny pantry and a couple of twin beds built into the wall in an open common area.
The cabin in surrounded by a dense woodland swamp. There are 2 other lots that can be built at the location in the future around the house, which would block porch view of the woodlands. The property is on a flood plain and is very low lying land. For people familiar with this area, they know that means significant levels of mosquitoes during the wet season. The rear area directly behind the cabin, all along the behind the deck and around the small building can be many inches underwater in non-flowing water for many weeks at a time - producing a mass of mosquitoes.
A large deck, concrete spa, pool and small building are all homemade attachments to the house. They currently are on a different lot from the house, though attached to the cabin. The lot line runs between the cabin and the spa thru the deck. The house is on Lot 5 (a little over 0.2 acres) and the rest of the deck, spa, pool and small building are on lot 4. However, she was claiming she was going to move the lot lines around.
Code Enforcement instructed that the pool be drained to at least avoid a drowning danger as the pool has no fencing or safety railing - nor any shallow end. It was homemade. The coating will bubbles up and cracks, the light does not work, the drain is collapsed or otherwise doesn't work and the spa system does not work.
The homemade deck, spa, pool and cabin are homemade, were build out of code and without building permits. The plumbing and electrical system to the pool and small building were illegally (no permits and out-of-code) pirated off the house - also home done and without permits. It throws breakers in the house. The electrical system added has been determined to be out of building codes. The County Code Enforcement Department has also declared that the deck seriously violates codes lacking railing and the pool in out of code possibly in many ways, including the requirement that pools be high fenced or enclosed to protect children and others from accidental drowning. For over 6 months, Birgit Hutchcroft has refused to comply with code enforcement requirements to either correct the code and ordinance violations or remove the structure. One way she might try to avoid those potentially massive expenses is to find some buyer to buy into that liability (meaning YOU pay it all).
The deck, spa, pool, and small building plus their electrical system and plumbing were all homemade built without permits. Code enforcement has demanded this be corrected as EXTREMELY serious violations What you do not see is the electrical system and plumbing, that also was homemade installed without permits. The electrical work has been reported as out of code by a Citrus County master electrician. All ordinance and code violations have been reported to Citrus County. Baywater Holding LLC/Hutchcroft have refused since January 2010 to comply with Code Enforcement demands. Most work you could NOT do yourself. Formal plans would have to be submitted, punishment retroactive building permit fees (high) would have to be paid, and licensed contractors/professionals used. This property has been "flagged" and any illegal lay work will be promptly reported and seriously fined.
Any person who purchased the property would likely be held liable for all code and ordinance violations, including all retro-applications for building, all expenses of plans, all licensed professional services (licensed professionals and permits required), and all materials plus, potentially, all fines. This would run from MANY thousands to potentially tens of thousands of dollars out of your pocket (quickly) or you fined and property possibly condemned or declared illegal to occupy. Check with Citrus County Code Enforcement about this. If work requiring licensed professionals is instead home-done, the homeowner can be fined $5,000 for each day and each action. You can not just fix this up yourself.
The drain pipe on the home-made pool does not function, the pool light does not work and the entire spa pump, jets and heating system does not work. The pool was home-done and the pool surfacing continues to bubble and crack away. It may all need to be removed and redone professionally.
This problem is not merely lack of railing for the deck - which is required for raised decks. The pool must be minimally high fenced to code specifications to avoid children, animals and others accidentally drowning. Bizarrely, after demanding the former residents do so - and for them to put the money up as a loan claiming she was financially broke, Hutchcroft then turned around claiming the high railing that could then have been screened to meet code violated the contract and that she would evict the residents unless they gave her another over $100,000.00. Because of this and because the deck was build without permits, the railing (costing well over $10,000 to put up) was removed and all lumber for the project given to the recycling center.
POSSIBLY THE MOST SERIOUS, COSTLY AND POTENTIALLY UNSOLVABLE PROBLEM -
TOXIC MOLD & TOXIC BLACK MOLD:
In late June, 2010, extensive testing was done on the air quality of the interior of the log cabin, due to the family that resided there increasingly becoming very ill, including at one point leading to emergency hospitalization. The air sampling revealed the house as major mold contamination problems, including toxic mold and toxic black mold.
A possible originating cause was that Hutchcroft has cut the sewage lines for the washer and tub to allow the water to drain and collect under the house - possibly to hide that the septic system no longer functioned for a previous lease-purchase buyer. (Hutchcroft refused to repair or replace the septic system as required, but the lease-purchasers replaced it. This also attracted rats/mice, that tore down the plastic water barrier between the wet damp and low lying ground and the soft wood construction. Once mold sets into soft wood the problem can become a nightmare as it not only grows into the wood but sends out spores that start colonies behind the walls and wood.
It is not rare that an otherwise good house must be demolished as the mold problem cannot be eliminated and houses in this area have been ordered condemned because of toxic mold.
Rarely is the real problem the mold you see on exterior surfaces. It is the mold that tends then to be massively greater behind those surfaces - safe from UV light and drying out that is the major construction and demolition/replace challenge. As mold spreads by sending out airborne spores, it can then spread to anywhere through the house. According to the professional mold inspection and air sampling, mold was in air of every room of the house and there is a massive toxic black mold colony are around the area where Hutchcroft has disconnected the sewage lines below the downstairs bathroom. A bad (amateur) repair causing the upstairs shower to also leak may have enhanced the mold spreading throughout the house because of the moisture. Overall, the soft wood house in on very damp ground in an area of very high humidity.
That family since moved out within increasingly health issues from the mold - suffering over a $100,000 lose they had expended on the house in a contract with Baywater Holding LLC (Birgit Hutchcroft). Hutchcroft is now offering the cabin for lease or sale, hiding the code and ordinance violations and - worse of all - the mold contamination.
Mold cleanup can be extremely costly and problematic. Sometimes the cost exceeds the value of the house itself. Occasionally a house can only be condemned. Because the house is of a relatively soft wood, mold cleanup could be exorbitantly expensive. Black mold is a horrific problem if it has entrenched in a wooden house. The testing company said the black mold colony in the under framing and flooring of the house is massive. The testing company was even more concerned of the mold spore count in the air within the house.
The Citrus County Code Enforcement advised the family to leave the house due to code violations and possibly becoming liable for them. The mold testing company advised no one reside in the house for health danger reasons.
The surrounding woodland swamp is not a "forest." It is a woodland swamp. It is essentially densely impassable and is a collection of mosquitoes and ticks.
Toxic mold can cause serious and permanent health damage. It can be silently lethal to infants, youths with breathing disorders, people with immune deficiencies such as from cancer treatment or HIV, to people with breathing disorders (OCP), people with allergic reactions and the elderly. Because mold can grow deeply into porous surfaces (such as wood), often grows behind surfaces (underside of wood) and is airborne spread by spores, it can be extremely difficult and costly to eliminate as it also can re-grow quickly unless 100% removed everywhere - sometimes not possible to be done for less than the value of the house. The log cabin is not safe to occupy at this time.
FURNITURE - FURNISHED:
The property is being offered as "furnished" and the furniture is raved of in a couple of internet listings. There is little actual furniture. What is there is not shredded, but it is old, faded and is typical of furniture you would find at a garage sale of someone selling their old worn out - but still usable - living room set. It is color faded but, again, isn't torn. Most the nicknacks are dollar garage sale items to make the house look full. Remember, photos usually make houses, cars and items look far better than they actually are. The furniture is usable. But if you want furniture that doesn't look like used rent-to-own furniture from an apartment, you'll want to replace it.
THE HOUSE INTERIOR:
The tiny log cabin is very attractive inside. In photos it looks stunning. Remember, this is a VERY small cabin and the attractiveness in many ways is deceptive. You WANT to fantasize that this is a new, perfect fairytale cottage in a beautiful woods. But it is a tiny cabin with massive problems of many kinds surrounded by a mosquito and tick infested woodland swamp. There are many interior issues that had not been corrected as of June, 2010.
There previously had been extensive fire damage in the past at the fireplace. While this was repaired (and when the stone fireplace installed), it the wood was not correctly matched or installed. As a result there is darkened wood and water damage to the floor on the far side of the fireplace and the "logs" installed do not match in size or appearance.
The downstairs tub was home-done installed by setting it on Styrofoam below it. It will sink when filled, making caulking the edges impossible to remain intact. This has lead to severe darkening and damage to the floor around the tub area. As the construction is by planks and logs, not strips, replacement and repair could be a major undertaking as you are talking about tearing out tongue and grove planks - leaving the ground below showing - and then trying to figure how to put new planks back in because you can't just put them back into the grooves you just tore out. The upstairs tile in the shower was home-done badly - and needs to be torn out and replaced as the upstairs shower floor leaks into the downstairs if used.
VERY SERIOUS - Hutchcroft has stated that she is having the property lines altered. She has also stated that she can do so without the knowledge or permission of anyone she has entered into a contract with on the property. So you could have a contract without a title policy to protect you, and she just secretly moves the property line between her two lots. What are you going to do? Sue and wait 2 to 3 years? The County would NOT inform you if she tries to move the property lines. If you have a "lease-to-own" contract you should be warned that the legal community around here will just sneer that you "are just tenants" and you can be certain that Hutchcroft will do so.
The insurance for 2009-2010 on the cabin only was approximately $4,600.00 for JUST the log cabin and lot 5. That does not include anything of what is now Lot 4 - all other structures. The deck, spa, pool and small cabin attached to the house are not insured and not insurable at this time due to building, health and safety code violations.
THE TRUE VALUE OF THE HOUSE?
Given the mortgage, liens, and massive fix-up and correction costs, in my own opinion it is less than $0 for a buyer. But that is this author's lay opinion.
Prior to the collapse of Florida real estate boom values, this log cabin was purchased for approximately $165,000.
In the last couple of years, Florida real estate values have crashed to as low as 60% to 50% their previous value. The $165,000 past value was prior to property value declines and prior to the discovery of mold contamination and prior to any necessities for very costly actions to correct major construction without permits and out of code.
The cabib sits on relatively low value land about 50 feet from a high traffic road and it is less than 1,000 square foot house. The average less than 1000 square foot house in this area that also isn't waterfront property sells for under $50,000 and most for far less. While the clear coated wood construction of this little log house is very charming, it also is high maintenance, subject to contaminations and brings with it many other problems and costs.
In my lay opinion, the little log cabin in it's current condition is worth significantly less than the bank mortgage against it - particularly adding the horrific problems. Don't think you can just move in. The massive mold problem WILL get you!(Hutchcroft has allowed a house to be foreclosed in the past. If that happened for this little cabin, you would be subject to that foreclosure.)
There are liens on the property. Most or all would have to be paid before you could ever have a clear title to the property. There is a bank Mortgage (Regions Bank) on Lot 5 - the lot with the house. There is a judgment against Birgit Hutchcroft by Regions Bank stemming from Lot 4 - the Lot with most of the deck, the homemade spa, homemade pool and littl building - in the amount of $35,000.oo (Regions Bank vs. Hutchcroft) and the former occupants are claiming liens upon the property for deposits and repairs. The history of Birgit Hutchcroft and Baywater Holding LLC can be found by searching the CITRUS COUNTY CLERK'S OFFICE of Florida under records search (both "OFFICIAL RECORDS" and "COURT RECORDS." The property, house, Hutchcroft and Baywater Holding LLC all are currently in major litigation in Citrus County (Ovards v. Hutchcroft/Baywater.)
Hutchcroft moves property around by "quit claim deeds" between herself and her "company(s)." She does not inform you as a buyer on a contract with you that she has quit claim changed ownership of the property you have under contract.
While Hutchcroft likes to portray herself as a real estate high roller, she has a court judgment against her ($35,000), unpaid property taxes, mortgage on this property, just took out a mortgage on the house she lives in, avoided service by on another lawsuit (by Capital One), and various liens on her properties. She talks a very good game. Don't take her at face value for anything she says. Remember, it is her position that it is just ordinary real estate business to lie about property and contracts.
IN ADDITION TO THE ISSUES ABOVE that are not being disclosed by Birgit Hutchcroft / Baywater Holding LLC, there are warnings you should heed VERY carefully.
I HIGHLY (HIGHLY!) advise NOT to enter into any "owner financing," "lease to own" or contract for "Quit Claim Deed" with Baywater Holding LLC or Birgit Hutchcroft for many reasons. I cannot understate this. She will NOT honor that contract if you later attempt to purchase it at the contract price.
Quit Claim deeds have VERY little value and NO protection.
Under a quit claim deed you get whatever you get - which could be nothing or even less than zero. Not only is it subject to any liens, but also to any other claims and even any other quit claim deeds that secretly may be out there. If you agree to terms upon a quit claim deed, you are agreeing to accept whatever you get - even if nothing. The court here shows little interest in upholding contracts of deed and lease-purchase contracts. For example, there is a listing on Trulia claiming the house sold less than a year ago for less than $30,000.
If, after reading and knowing all this, you are still interested, I HIGHLY (highly!) advise you do not entertain purchase of the property unless:
1. Do not enter into any contract for this property unless there is a title policy that is issued by a legitimate title company. If you do not, you may have nothing but debts. If a title company won't write a title policy on a house or real estate - PARTICULARLY IN FLORIDA - don't even THINK about buying it. There are reasons they won't issue the policy.
2. Only use conventional financing (not owner financing with Hutchcroft or Baywater Holding LLC.) With the previous occupants (victims), Hutchcroft/Baywater refused to honor the contract for own financing, instead demanding over $100,000 more. Do NOT enter into ANY financing agreement with Hutchcroft, Baywater Holding LLC or any of her other many front companies. You also do not know if she is paying her mortgage and any liens on the property with your payments.
3. That Citrus County Code Enforcement inform you that the property is in compliance FIRST. Do not take Hutchcroft's word if she tells you that she is getting permits or has made some backroom deal with County authorities.
4. That you are shown a professional mold testing (costs just over $1000) to show the property free of mold OR that the Citrus County Health Department CERTIFY the property to be mold-free BEFORE you enter into any contract. If not, you could find you're in the hospital while the County has condemned the property. Mold clean up - if even possible - can run into the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars. It is not safe to live there until done and the County may ban residency until done.
5. Make certain that you do NOT use any contract drawn up by Hutchcroft or her attorney. ONLY use a contract drawn up by a title company or attorney that YOU select. This is critical. Do NOT agree to any terms that state you waive a jury trial and have the actual legal description of the property professionally surveyed FIRST. She believes she can just swap out the legal description page after you enter into the contract reducing the property by 80% and cutting off the spa, pool, deck and cabin - and then tries to sell that for $100,000+ more.
Understand it is her view that she can tell any lie in her eBay and online advertisements. She does lie - hugely - in advertising property. Again, the most notable example is claiming there is over 1,800 square feet when there is less than 1,000. (The seller is not an American and has stated Americans are *** and gullible - easy victims.
6. Never take Birgit Hutchcroft's word at anything nor consider anything in writing from her to be of much value. Certainly never advance her any funds and definitely never give her a check (it is a door to you bank account). Only use cashier's checks. Her view is that she can say and advertise anything however false because houses are buyer-beware and sellers are allowed to lie. For example, she is well aware it isn't an 1,800 square foot 3 bedroom house. It has less than 1,000 square feet. (She claims she can count the open deck, outside pool, outside spa and small shed as part of the square footage.)
Language in a contact that she will make certain repairs, take care of code violations etc, etc, are worthless. Instead, contact deducting the cost of the repairs from your down payment or payments. She did not comply with such terms in the contract with the previous party. For example, the contract required her to repair/replace the spa pump. She refused to ever do so. She uses unskilled people in inferior work without permits and out of code for what little she might do.
7. This is a very remote location and we were burglarized. The property has frequently been burglarized. You should allow about $4,000 to install a professional video camera system, an upgraded alarm system to what is already there, and install a heavy steel safe or lock box for your valuables. Also, get a gun and learn how to use it. Ideally you will have 24/7 security at the hour when you are not there.
8. Change the key immediately upon move-in. Do NOT give Hutchcroft a key.
10. Do not hire anyone Hutchcroft recommends or knows for any work in the property. Don't be surprised if your property and personal papers are stolen if you do.
11. You must NOT do any work or repairs on the property during the entire time you are there unless the property is 100% deeded in your name free and clear. Even if requested or urged by Hutchcroft, she will subsequently declare any work done or even any plant planted violated the contract and then demand massive sums more of money from you.
Do not assume the property is insured nor just take her word for it. Also beware of a contract requiring YOU to insure the property. It is not insurable (deck, spa, pool, little building) and Hutchcroft may then use it to try to shake more money from you, claiming the lack of insurability is a breach of contract by you.
12. Be prepared for Birgit Hutchcroft to frequently appear at your door begging for money, trying to sell you things, and raging if you will not give her more money.
13. Hire a local attorney in advance upon arrival and have that attorney read the contract BEFORE you sign it or give Hutchcroft or one of her "companies" a dollar. You need to have an attorney ready for down the road dealing with her. There is little enforcement of contracts, civil law or criminal laws around here in relation to real estate. This is one of the proverbial "Florida swamp land" sales areas. It is, in many ways, old school "lawless land." Crimes out there aren't treated very seriously - ranging from burglaries to rape and discovered dead bodies. It's a rough neck of the woods.
14. Compare real estate values, particularly to canal and bay waterfront property. The canal and water front property is the prime real estate worth 5 to 10 times more in land value than non-water front property. Property values are crashing and strange around here currently. Unemployment in real terms is going over 20%, bringing along with it all the problems such brings (crime, drugs, crashing property values, ***-artists, beggars, street people etc. There are homeless people literally living in the woodland swamp around this isolated little log cabin.
15. Pay a local realtor a small fee to inspect and explore the title and deed records, and with County code enforcement and health department for you before you spend a dollar towards any contact on the property. Have a professional inspection done too - all BEFORE you sign anything. It would be money WELL spent. But, again, you MUST have a title company willing to issue a title policy or you could end up with nothing but debts you didn't create.
16. Don't assume the appliances shown in photos will be the same ones in the house if you buy it when you arrive.
17. Explore Citrus County records on Birgit Hutchcroft, Baywater Holding LLC and her other "companies." You may find it challenging and interesting reading that could be highly informative.
18. Do not enter into any contract of any kind with Hutchcroft unless it is recorded with the Citrus County Clerk, regardless of the type of contract. Do not assume she would not try to swap out pages to change terms or property descriptions.
19. One last time, have a TITLE COMPANY research the properties - be certain the legal description of the property matches the search. Also check with Citrus County Code Enforcement and the Citrus County Health Department first about the property. Have it surveyed upon the legal description that is to be RECORDED with the Citrus County Clerk. Do not buy or move in until all building, health and safety codes are in compliance and the air tested as safe of mold by a professional testing company. Never rely on Hutchcroft's promises, even if in writing or in contract.
Remember, this is FLORIDA. It is the state of real estate fraud. This is still VERY real and VERY REAL particularly around Citrus County. You really should NEVER buy real estate in Florida unless it is at least through a licensed real estate broker. There are more scams and ***-jobs going on in real estate here in "owner seller" deals than I could name. You can literally find you lose everything you have very quickly and maybe can't even get away from more loses too. IF you are looking to buy a house, ONLY go through a legitimate realtor (such as ERA) and through a legitimate title company.
SHOULD YOU STILL BUY THE LITTLE LOG CABIN?
("There's a sucker born every minute" P.T. Barnum)
It could be said only if you are a fool or mentally incompetent would even consider this property at any price - even free. But actually there is no absolute answer to that. I read where a person found a decades old totally decrepit wooden boat rotting so long that a large tree was growing thru it. After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of his own labor, he ended up with a beautiful 38 foot wooden sailing boat - a hobby thing. Of course for a fraction as much of that much he could have just bought a gorgeous vintage wooden sailing yacht to start with. I see the house that way.
For the final actual costs you likely would spend (and allowing nothing for your time nor all the problems dealing with Hutchcroft) needed on the tiny 982 square foot log cabin surrounded by a mosquito and tick woodland swamp, you could instead buy a beautiful 3,000ish square foot exquisite waterfront house complete with a swimming pool and private dock dock on prime waterfront property and an excellent Crystal River neighborhood - and still have money left over - that being desirable property that will hold it's value and ultimately appreciate - houses that sold for a quarter million dollars just 2 or 3 years ago. I do not see a final total buy and rehab/correct expenses of over $500,000 to make the 982 square foot log cabin and the land around it right as unrealistic at all.
Given crashing property prices around here now, you can buy fantastic and pristine waterfront homes 3 times the size and on crystal clear spring fed water leading to the Bay and the Gulf for less money. I also suspect you could have the log cabin built as new, therefore flawless and much larger on a lot of your choice for far (FAR) less money. Nor would you have the Hutchcroft conflicts, location dangers and other risks.
But a very few people just have some compulsion to buy rundown and broken stuff to fix it up, even if it cost greatly more money, time and frustration doing it that way rather than just buying a good or new one. At least you now know exactly what you'd be buying into. Bring along HEPA rated breathing masks to live and sleep in to block the mold spores if you decide to move in there.
The property has been flagged by the County Code Enforcement and is a topic of EXTREME concerns to other county officials. All this could land on YOU if you buy the property. Code Enforcement HIGHLY urged us to bail out before it all lands - a $100,000+ lose to us - though we are litigating - which can take years and then what do you get?
The website above has photographs and the actual mold report as June, 2010. It cost us over $1000 even though we are moving. We don't want to see a child, teen, elderly person or someone else die in this what I see as a grossly scam by a notably amoral foreign national who believes lying is clever business tactics. There are also photos at the website.
This is not one of those secret sniper attacks. You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is a very skilled talker (liar in my opinion). Keep your head, do your homework, see it in person first, check out the information above. This property could cost you a fortune beyond anything you think you are paying for it. It could even cost you or a loved one your health or even life.af81902