Lincoln family experiencing home buying nightmare gets help from community

Lawsuits filed after termites not caught by inspector or disclosed by previous owners
Lawsuits filed after termites not caught by inspector or disclosed by previous owners
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 5:47 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 6:15 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A young Lincoln family is getting the help they need, after discovering their newly-purchased home was infested with termites.

Jack Zigler and Emina Mrkaljevic had to completely demolish their new home and rebuild. They say the previous owners didn’t disclose the termite infestation and the inspector didn’t notice.

Since 10/11 shared their story in January, the community has turned out to support them. A GoFundMe page raised $6,000 for the couple and their young son and Lincoln-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers stepped in.

“It was heartwarming, Emina said. “I don’t even know how to express our emotions. We are so beyond thankful to the entire community.”

Jack worked to demolish the home, ripping out everything from the drywall, to the wood, even the bathtub.

IBEW Local 265 workers helped them re-frame the home and will soon install the electrical system. Michael Murray, the IBEW Local 265 membership development representative heard about their story and felt compelled to help, saying he went through something similar with his first home.

“It hit home with me, as far as the struggles,” Murray said. “I know what it’s like being a young family and struggling, not making a ton of money, not established yet and seeing a dream and having it popped like a bubble.”

The dream Emina and Jack had was to move into their first home, hang up a welcome home sign and create a playroom for their son.

Now they’ve filed lawsuits against the previous owners, alleging they said there was no damage to the property due to wood destroying insects. They also filed a lawsuit filed against the inspector, accusing him of telling them he was qualified to check for termites and that here was no signs of infestation.

The inspector declined our request for comment in January.

Emina said she’s moved past being angry, and is focused on making this house a home by the end of the year.

“The emotions are still very strong but I just have to stay hopeful,” Emina said. “I see a light but it’s still kind of far away.”

If you want to help, the IBEW Local 265 is holding a pancake feed fundraiser and silent auction for the family Sunday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at 1409 Old Farm Road.

There will be silent auction items including hotel stays, Husker tickets, specialty chocolates and more.

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