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Mr. Niceguy
11-12-2012, 12:28
Anyone ever sued a seller for failure to disclose material defects?

I recently discovered that a corner of our home has settled, creating stairstep cracks in the mortar joints in the brick. Upon examination, it is obvious that previous settling had occurred, and that the same joints were simply re-mortared, leaving the mortar gaps much wider than the other surrounding joints (about 1 inch, versus 1/4 inch). Further evidence of a previous patch job is shown by the fact that the mortar in the cracked joint is a different color/shade than the rest of the house, and that it was applied somewhat sloppily. There is a finished basement, but I have not yet removed any sheetrock in search of foundation cracking, which I am certain exists below the exterior cracks.

I've researched and am aware the repair proce$$, but would like to hear your experiences if you've ever been in this situation. FYI, we've owned the home for two years. The house is 40 years old, and the previous owners were there for 30 years. I have an appointment with a structural engineer, and have a couple of foundation repair companies on stand-by. I have also had an initial consultation with a real estate attorney. Thank you!

Adjuster
11-12-2012, 12:35
Did you have the house inspected that is normally required by law as part of the purchase/sale and if not required is adamantly recommended? At this point do you know if the cracks are structural and will continue to worsen or are they cosmetic? Are you getting any water penetration? There is always going to be an allowable amount of cracking/settling in a house foundation.



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Mr. Niceguy
11-12-2012, 12:57
Did you have the house inspected that is normally required by law as part of the purchase/sale and if not required is adamantly recommended? At this point do you know if the cracks are structural and will continue to worsen or are they cosmetic? Are you getting any water penetration? There is always going to be an allowable amount of cracking/settling in a house foundation.



/

We did have an inspection, and the previous settling was not noticed at the time. The cracks are underneath a bedroom window that is about three feet off the ground, and behind some tall bushes. There is about 2 to 2.5 feet of space between the bushes and the house, so it's pretty easy to access. Because of the somewhat tight quarters, it's difficult to notice the previous patch job unless you are crouching down at that level. There is no water penetration that we know of. We expect that the problem lies in the foundation itself, as well as the brick, but will know more once the structural engineer has inspected.

Berto
11-12-2012, 13:05
As part of a Condo Association, we had to sue the builder/seller for undisclosed water damage due to them not sealing the edges of the membranes on the common area walkways, so water basically ran down the edges and buggered the bottom floors and parking garage structures.
I don't recall the numbers, but the settlement covered the repairs. It tooks years to go through the process, though.

Shawn1
11-12-2012, 13:15
As a realtor here is some knowledge but varies state to state. Failure to disclose is a tricky one because in order to find the seller liable you have to prove he had knowledge and failed to disclose, he may not have known about it if you can find proof he knew somehow you can prob take him to court.. Beyond that, your inspector should have spotted it and of course he has you sign a release before the inspection just in case he does a bad job or misses something.

On another note, another poster said that home inspections are required by law. In most states, that is not correct, just like there is no law requiring you to use an attorney for your closing. We can all agree it is smart to do so but usually not a requirement.

Hope this helps.


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Shawn1
11-12-2012, 13:17
Correction on my post above, the other poster said if its not required its recommended. Sorry about that


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failsafe
11-12-2012, 15:06
In the case of a VA loan, an independant inspector does a visual inspection to satisfy the lender..They are not very thorough..A structrual defect unless noticable would go for naught.

frizz
11-12-2012, 15:45
Did you have the house inspected that is normally required by law as part of the purchase/sale and if not required is adamantly recommended? At this point do you know if the cracks are structural and will continue to worsen or are they cosmetic? Are you getting any water penetration? There is always going to be an allowable amount of cracking/settling in a house foundation.



/

In other words, can you prove that the defects are material? Someone else said that you had to prove knowledge on the part of the seller, but that is more of an issue for fraud, which can bring the potential for punitive damages.

Unless you have a good shot at punitive damages, it often isn't worth going after anyone if you won't be able to recover lawyer's fees. If it is just a contract breach and not fraud, you usually pay your lawyer out of pocket.

You may also have a case against the inspector. You probably hired the inspector, so there is a strong duty to you. Even if the bank or the seller (doubt it) hired him, there is still a duty toward you. I think nailing inspectors is hard because you have to get another inspector to testify against the one who inspected your house.

Keep in mind that this stuff varies from state to state. You also have statute of limitations to consider. But you have a lawyer who specializes in this and knows the specific for your state. Or you hope so...



Let my close by saying that this is just informal shooting the bull about how the law can be, but I don't know what the hell I'm talking about!

Did I mention that I am a law-school dropout?

JohnBT
11-12-2012, 15:57
The seller will say, "I had it fixed years ago, there was nothing to disclose 2 years ago when you bought it."

Batesmotel
11-12-2012, 16:17
The seller will say, "I had it fixed years ago, there was nothing to disclose 2 years ago when you bought it."

If there was a problem and they fixed it they must disclose it. Disclosure is "Any Knowledge Of". Repaired or not.

jollygreen
11-12-2012, 17:19
It sounds to me like the normal wear and tear settling of a house. Houses settle, and IIRC, the last disclosure statement I saw was looking for extraordinary issues. Not common issues.

I can't imagine you have grounds unless there is something on the statement about settling.

Batesmotel
11-12-2012, 18:01
For what it's worth...

Utah Sellers Property Condition Disclosure

Instructions to seller. Seller is obligated under law to disclose to buyers defects in the property and facts to seller that materially and adversely affect the use and value of the property that cannot be discovered by a reasonable inspection by an ordinary prudent buyer.

Section 12. B.
With the exception of regular maintenance of the exterior surfaces of the property (paint, stain) are you aware of any past or present problems with any portion of the exterior?

Section 15. C.
Are you aware of any past or present movement, shifting or other problems with the walls or foundation?

Section 15. E.
Please describe any action taken to mitigate or repair any issued described in 15A through 15D

So saying that the inspector missed it doesn't work because they are to disclose anything that a BUYER might miss.

Also it doesn't matter if it is "normal". They fixed it therefore they knew and must disclose. Check the wording on your documents. They vary from state to state.

JohnBT
11-12-2012, 19:22
" that cannot be discovered by a reasonable inspection by an ordinary prudent buyer."

The buyer saw the exterior repair easily enough 2 years later. Anyone who looked would have seen it.

The rebuttal is, "It was visible then and it's still there."

John

P.S. - A fishing and poker playing buddy of mine is a self-employed lawyer and part-time real estate investor. I've learned a lot of practical things during the past 35 years.

Mr. Niceguy
11-12-2012, 21:02
" that cannot be discovered by a reasonable inspection by an ordinary prudent buyer."

The buyer saw the exterior repair easily enough 2 years later. Anyone who looked would have seen it.

The rebuttal is, "It was visible then and it's still there."

John

P.S. - A fishing and poker playing buddy of mine is a self-employed lawyer and part-time real estate investor. I've learned a lot of practical things during the past 35 years.
My rebuttal is that I had a reason to look for it two years later. The window above it wouldn't close. The repair can only be seen from behind the bushes and when crouching down.

Mr. Niceguy
11-13-2012, 05:37
Someone else said that you had to prove knowledge on the part of the seller, but that is more of an issue for fraud, which can bring the potential for punitive damages.

Unless you have a good shot at punitive damages, it often isn't worth going after anyone if you won't be able to recover lawyer's fees. If it is just a contract breach and not fraud, you usually pay your lawyer out of pocket.



I had the opportunity to speak with the previous owner last night. I did so under the guise that we were doing some remodeling, and that his knowlege of the home would help me better prepare and make decisions.

At one point, I introduced the previous repair into the conversation, mentioning that we were having some continued problems with it, and asking if he had had a professional do the previous repairs, as it might still be under warranty if that was the case. He said that unfortunately, no. A friend of the family had patched the receeding brick about ten years ago.

JohnBT
11-13-2012, 06:05
"My rebuttal is that I had a reason to look for it two years later."

Re:re: You're admitting you failed to walk around the outside of the house 2 years ago and look at the foundation?

Maybe things are different elsewhere; Virginia is pretty much a 'buyer beware' state when it comes to real estate.

Mr. Niceguy
11-13-2012, 06:07
If there was a problem and they fixed it they must disclose it. Disclosure is "Any Knowledge Of". Repaired or not.

Part of the language in my disclosure statement reads "Are you aware of any past or present cracks or flaws in the walls or foundations?"

Mr. Niceguy
11-13-2012, 06:14
"My rebuttal is that I had a reason to look for it two years later."

Re:re: You're admitting you failed to walk around the outside of the house 2 years ago and look at the foundation?

Maybe things are different elsewhere; Virginia is pretty much a 'buyer beware' state when it comes to real estate.

What I'm probably not doing a good job of, is explaining that the area of the home is difficult to inspect. It cannot be seen from a distance because of large shrubs concealing that part of the house. When you're actually behind the shrubs, the area in question is from about thigh-level and lower. You're looking down at it at a pretty sharp angle. Given that the mortar is recessed about 1/4 inch from the surface of the brick, pretty much all you can see from that angle is the surface of the brick itself. The mortar can only really be viewed when crouching down behind the bushes. The area is also very shaded as a result of the shrubs.

Also please note that once the original patch job failed, it became much more evident that it existed.

md2lgyk
11-13-2012, 06:37
I am not an attorney or a Realtor, but I have bought and sold probably a dozen houses over the years. My free advice (and worth every penny): Forget about going after the seller - there is enough ambiguity here that you might not prevail. And it will probably be far cheaper to just have the foundation repaired.

Batesmotel
11-13-2012, 07:11
The rebuttal is, "It was visible then and it's still there."

Burden of disclosure is on the seller. Doesn't matter if the seller thinks it is visible. The buyer may not have noticed.

Cali-Glock
11-13-2012, 07:19
Houses have issues. Over time a homeowner will have a lot of maintenance performed.

It is a 40 yesr old home - this will be far from the last problem you will encounter- deal with it.

I have seen some valid failure to disclose lawsuits, but most are stupid and without merit.

RenoF250
11-13-2012, 07:22
Burden of disclosure is on the seller. Doesn't matter if the seller thinks it is visible. The buyer may not have noticed.

I think your comments vary by state. I have never heard of the requirement to disclose nor had anything formally disclosed to me. Seems to me if that were the case the house should carry a formal disclosure at the time of listing. If the inspector finds something not on the disclosure you are in doo doo.

This house had tons of stuff wrong with it, it was built 40 years ago so that is what you get. I have fixed a lot of things all of them done "properly" assuming I was keeping the house. I do not have any intention of disclosing everything I did, I would be afraid I missed something. I do have pictures of all of it and I am not trying to hide any of it.

I think you have a case against the seller when it is clear they discovered a large problem, covered it up, and sold the house. That does not appear to be the case here at all. They lived in the house 10 years after the repair.

redbaron007
11-13-2012, 07:34
Mr. Niceguy....get an attorney that has some real estate experience.

If they had knowledge, regardless of the time, you may have a grievance. However, look at it from this perspective, what is the cost for you to have repairs made? Then, look at what it cost you to go to court or at least hire an attorney to help litigate the issue? It may be well worth the dollars to spend the money to fix it, then move down the road.

Good luck!


:wavey:

red

Mr. Niceguy
11-13-2012, 07:36
Houses have issues. Over time a homeowner will have a lot of maintenance performed.

It is a 40 yesr old home - this will be far from the last problem you will encounter- deal with it.

I have seen some valid failure to disclose lawsuits, but most are stupid and without merit.

I agree with you, and have taken the hit with this house and many others. Heck, our very first night in the home - the very first night, our sewer backed up and flooded the utility room and the garage beneath it while running the washing machine. The water expelled from the washing machine actually backed all the way up the vent line to the top (in the attic, rather than above the roof) and then cascaded down inside the walls and into the living area and garage beneath. The vent had originally gone through the roof as it should have, but was later cut off in the attic for whatever reason. The original vent pipe "chimney" still existed on the roof, but had been plugged, and was serving no purpose whatsoever. That's just one example.

What I've never been faced with, though, is a necessary repair in the $20-30k range that the seller had previous knowlege of and was legally required to disclose, but failed to do so. My question is: at what point is the cost great enough, and is the lack of good faith on the seller's part great enough, that it merits legal recourse?

redbaron007
11-13-2012, 07:41
I agree with you, and have taken the hit with this house and many others. Heck, our very first night in the home - the very first night, our sewer backed up and flooded the utility room and the garage beneath it while running the washing machine. The water expelled from the washing machine actually backed all the way up the vent line to the top (in the attic, rather than above the roof) and then cascaded down inside the walls and into the living area and garage beneath. The vent had originally gone through the roof as it should have, but was later cut off in the attic for whatever reason. The original vent pipe "chimney" still existed on the roof, but had been plugged, and was serving no purpose whatsoever. That's just one example.

What I've never been faced with, though, is a necessary repair in the $20-30k range that the seller had previous knowlege of and was legally required to disclose, but failed to do so. My question is: at what point is the cost great enough, and is the lack of good faith on the seller's part great enough, that it merits legal recourse?

It will depend on the individual. If the house is a $500k house with a repair of $20-30k...it may not be worth the hassle. However, if it is a $100k house, it may be something worth pursuing. The one thing to consider, do you think you will get the money from the prior owner? If it is highly probable, then maybe. If not probable, then it may be time to fix it and go down the road.

:wavey:

red

Mr. Niceguy
11-13-2012, 07:42
I think your comments vary by state. I have never heard of the requirement to disclose nor had anything formally disclosed to me. Seems to me if that were the case the house should carry a formal disclosure at the time of listing. .................

I think you have a case against the seller when it is clear they discovered a large problem, covered it up, and sold the house. That does not appear to be the case here at all. They lived in the house 10 years after the repair.

My state does have that requirement, and a disclosure statement was included in the listing.

I'm not sure what bearing continuing to live in the house for a period of time after discovering a large problem, failing to fix it properly, and concealing it really has.

RenoF250
11-13-2012, 07:53
My state does have that requirement, and a disclosure statement was included in the listing.

I'm not sure what bearing continuing to live in the house for a period of time after discovering a large problem, failing to fix it properly, and concealing it really has.

To me, them living in the houses for a fair amount of time after the repair indicates it was done basically up to their standards and not an attempt to dump and run. Legally it likely means nothing.

I would be more pissed about the vent pipe, that was total negligence and stupidity.

Mr. Niceguy
11-13-2012, 07:56
Another question - If you were making an offer on a house that had unresolved foundation issues and knew about it, would that affect your offer? Would you even make an offer? What if the issue had been repaired - would that still affect your offer or willingness to make an offer?

I'm now legally required to disclose the defect to any future prospective buyers. Will that affect the home's future marketability or value?

md2lgyk
11-13-2012, 08:04
Despite some good advice here, you seem bound and determined to go after the previous owner. So go ahead and try. I hope we don't have to say we told you so.

Batesmotel
11-13-2012, 08:05
Legally it likely means nothing.

In this state it does. No time limits. If they know, they must disclose. Period. The easiest way for a seller to get sued is to fail to disclose.

Mr. Niceguy
11-13-2012, 08:16
Despite some good advice here, you seem bound and determined to go after the previous owner. So go ahead and try. I hope we don't have to say we told you so.

I'm not necessarily bound and determined to go after anyone at this point, but I admit that I am upset that the seller failed to make a legally required disclosure either by negligence or with intent to defraud. It's also upsetting to know that the issue will likely cost a few tens of thousands of dollars to fix now, and likely some yet undetermined but significant amount once again when it's time to sell the home in the future.

I can be prone to having an initial reaction that involves emotions from time to time, but I do always allow a cooling off period before making any major decisions, and ultimately make them based on what I objectively believe to be reasonable. Kind of like when we bought the house. My wife and I liked it very much from the moment we stepped foot inside. It's a nice house and just felt like home immediately. That's not why we bought it though. We based our decision on the facts that the house met our current and future needs, the neighborhood and school district were desirable, it fit our budget, and we believed the price we negotiated to be fair based on what we knew about the condition of the home.

RenoF250
11-13-2012, 08:22
In this state it does. No time limits. If they know, they must disclose. Period. The easiest way for a seller to get sued is to fail to disclose.

I was referring to the fact that they lived in it after not that they know about it. I know that their being aware of the problem matters.

Wake_jumper
11-13-2012, 08:44
So your inspector missed the foundation problems and the cut off vent pipe in the attic? What a doofus.

Unless you can prove that the seller willfully concealed the problem you don't have a case. Something that was repaired ten years ago surely doesn't seem like fraud to me. The extended drought in the Midwest has caused a huge amount of problems to foundations and structures this year. If the problem just showed up or is suddenly worse, blame it on Mother Nature, not the seller.

I had a buyer come after me for a roof leak two years after he bought the property. He thought I should by him a new roof. A letter from my attorney is all it took to shut him down.

Good luck going after the seller.

Mr. Niceguy
11-13-2012, 08:56
So your inspector missed the foundation problems and the cut off vent pipe in the attic? What a doofus.

Unless you can prove that the seller willfully concealed the problem you don't have a case. Something that was repaired ten years ago surely doesn't seem like fraud to me. The extended drought in the Midwest has caused a huge amount of problems to foundations and structures this year. If the problem just showed up or is suddenly worse, blame it on Mother Nature, not the seller.

I had a buyer come after me for a roof leak two years after he bought the property. He thought I should by him a new roof. A letter from my attorney is all it took to shut him down.

Good luck going after the seller.

Yes, I agree that the inspector did not do a good job. I also agree that the drought is likely what caused the worsening of the foundation, but it was an existing condition that the seller knew about, was required to disclose, and did not. I truly appreciate everyone's opinions.

Batesmotel
11-13-2012, 09:07
it was an existing condition that the seller knew about, was required to disclose, and did not

This.

Mr. Niceguy
11-13-2012, 09:16
This.

I'm not even necessarily convinced that the intent was to defraud, but I believe there was negligence at the very least. He knew about the condition. He may have, for whatever reason believed that it was only a cosmetic issue, although I think you'd have to be awfully naive to think that. I think that a reasonable person would recognize that when your exterior brick moves an inch from its original position, causing adjacent windows not to operate properly and the sheetrock inside to crack, that it goes beyond cosmetic. It's tough to argue that his testimony in the disclosure statement that there had never been any cracks in the exterior walls was accurate. If your testimony is not accurate, then either you had no knowlege to the contrary, there was negligence, or there was intent to defraud. He already admitted that he knew about it and made a superficial repair.

Mr. Niceguy
11-13-2012, 09:24
Also in the disclosure statement: "Have there been any repairs or other attempts to control any problem above? - NO"

BigMoneyGrip
11-13-2012, 12:44
What if they fixed it 20 years ago and just forgot about it? I've done stuff like that.

The Fist Of Goodness
11-13-2012, 13:22
I had this issue on a house we put a bid on. The owner was trying a short sale, and wanted to sell the house as is. During the inspection, a horizontal crack was discovered along the top of the basement wall (and ran the length of the house). The top of the wall had begun to buckle outwards.

The crack had been concealed behind panelling, so it was not readily visible. Luckily, the inspector did find it. We back out of the house at that point, and the owner threatened to sue us and keep our deposit.

The owner originally tried to talk us out of the inspection by giving us a copy of the 5 year old inspection from when they bought it. Unfortunately for the owner, the crack was listed in the report, but not on the seller's disclosure.

Her attorney, when made aware of these facts in a strongly worded letter from me (and a copy of his clients real estate license), had my deposit check returned the next afternoon.

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Mr. Niceguy
11-13-2012, 13:34
What if they fixed it 20 years ago and just forgot about it? I've done stuff like that.

Sure, we've all done repairs we've forgotten about, but would you really forget that your home's foundation had a structural defect? It wouldn't even come to mind while filling out a disclosure statement that asks that specific question?

Deanster
11-14-2012, 18:27
What I'm probably not doing a good job of, is explaining that the area of the home is difficult to inspect. It cannot be seen from a distance because of large shrubs concealing that part of the house. When you're actually behind the shrubs, the area in question is from about thigh-level and lower. You're looking down at it at a pretty sharp angle. Given that the mortar is recessed about 1/4 inch from the surface of the brick, pretty much all you can see from that angle is the surface of the brick itself. The mortar can only really be viewed when crouching down behind the bushes. The area is also very shaded as a result of the shrubs.

Also please note that once the original patch job failed, it became much more evident that it existed.


I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

IANAL, but I'd say you're SOL with the seller. You and your inspector presumably had every opportunity to examine the house in minute detail, and 'it's behind a bush' isn't an explanation for why this wasn't noticed at the time. Every inspector I've ever had gets down on hands and knees, runs hands over surfaces, looks at window frames and patterns in the soil to look for settling, looks at every inch of the foundation edge all the way around, etc. etc. etc. Many inspectors will give you a CD-ROM with all the pics they took at the inspection, which would typically include the entire exterior cladding, etc.

Failure to notice an accessible, exterior, ground-level repair job of that magnitude isn't about the seller's failure to disclose, it's about your inspector's failure to look. If he didn't look closely at essentially every single brick in a brick-exterior house, he's probably a contender for worst inspector in the world.

Again, IANAL, but as I understand it, the disclosure forms require you to disclose current material defects known to you. They do NOT require you to detail every repair or remodeling project you've ever done to a house, even major ones. My house is a 1926 build, and over the last 90 years, who the heck knows what's been done. The seller is on the hook for telling you about known current unrepaired defects. But something that was a problem, and has since been fixed... not so much.

Doubly so if it's on a visible surface and was fixed well enough that your inspector didn't notice either the problem or the repair... strongly supports the argument that it was repaired to the point that it was indistinguishable from original, or your inspector was incompetent, neither of which is the seller's problem.

IMHO, a house is like a used car. All the disclosure stuff is part of the process, but you're in reality buying it as-is/where-is, and anything that you don't catch at inspection you should expect to be on the hook for. For me, at least, the inspection is the SINGLE most-important thing - for just this reason.

Same story with the property description, title search, etc. Sellers do occasionally get dinged for actively fraudulently mis-representing the property and rights-of-way, mineral rights, etc., or hiding a known unrepaired major defect, but the circumstances tend to be pretty extraordinary. If you and your real estate team (insurer, title search, title insurance, inspector, appraiser, oil tank locator if it's an older home, etc.) have done their work, there's very little for a seller to disclose that you don't already know.

And if there IS stuff you don't already know, there's most often nobody to blame but yourself for not taking the time/effort to look.

Again, not trying to give you a hard time, just saying that it's tough to argue that it was a big enough/obvious enough problem and was fixed poorly enough that the seller should have disclosed it, but wasn't big enough/obvious enough or fixed sloppily enough for you/your inspector to notice it.

Mr. Niceguy
11-14-2012, 19:18
I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but I think you're barking up the wrong tree.

IANAL, but I'd say you're SOL with the seller. You and your inspector presumably had every opportunity to examine the house in minute detail, and 'it's behind a bush' isn't an explanation for why this wasn't noticed at the time. Every inspector I've ever had gets down on hands and knees, runs hands over surfaces, looks at window frames and patterns in the soil to look for settling, looks at every inch of the foundation edge all the way around, etc. etc. etc. Many inspectors will give you a CD-ROM with all the pics they took at the inspection, which would typically include the entire exterior cladding, etc.

Failure to notice an accessible, exterior, ground-level repair job of that magnitude isn't about the seller's failure to disclose, it's about your inspector's failure to look. If he didn't look closely at essentially every single brick in a brick-exterior house, he's probably a contender for worst inspector in the world.

Again, IANAL, but as I understand it, the disclosure forms require you to disclose current material defects known to you. They do NOT require you to detail every repair or remodeling project you've ever done to a house, even major ones. My house is a 1926 build, and over the last 90 years, who the heck knows what's been done. The seller is on the hook for telling you about known current unrepaired defects. But something that was a problem, and has since been fixed... not so much.

Doubly so if it's on a visible surface and was fixed well enough that your inspector didn't notice either the problem or the repair... strongly supports the argument that it was repaired to the point that it was indistinguishable from original, or your inspector was incompetent, neither of which is the seller's problem.

IMHO, a house is like a used car. All the disclosure stuff is part of the process, but you're in reality buying it as-is/where-is, and anything that you don't catch at inspection you should expect to be on the hook for. For me, at least, the inspection is the SINGLE most-important thing - for just this reason.

Same story with the property description, title search, etc. Sellers do occasionally get dinged for actively fraudulently mis-representing the property and rights-of-way, mineral rights, etc., or hiding a known unrepaired major defect, but the circumstances tend to be pretty extraordinary. If you and your real estate team (insurer, title search, title insurance, inspector, appraiser, oil tank locator if it's an older home, etc.) have done their work, there's very little for a seller to disclose that you don't already know.

And if there IS stuff you don't already know, there's most often nobody to blame but yourself for not taking the time/effort to look.

Again, not trying to give you a hard time, just saying that it's tough to argue that it was a big enough/obvious enough problem and was fixed poorly enough that the seller should have disclosed it, but wasn't big enough/obvious enough or fixed sloppily enough for you/your inspector to notice it.

Thanks for taking the time to put down your thoughts. Some of what you're saying about disclosure requirements is incorrect (in my area), but I do agree that the buyer assumes some responsibility to keep the seller honest. Legally (once again in my area) the seller must disclose certain issues that occured in the past, even if repaired, such as roof leakage, fire damage, foundation damage, cracking of exterior walls, etc. The disclosure statement asks those questions specifically, and the seller answered a couple of them dishonestly.

An estimator came by today (the first of three) and came back with a bid of $7,200. It's going to involve backhoe excavation around two sides of my house to a depth of about ten feet, four piers, and the loss of some nice landscaping. It's possible that more damage to the foundation will be discovered during excavation (finished basement, so who knows).

I'm disappointed about the situation and upset with the sellers for not being truthful, but given the scope of the project (as I know it at this time) and the uncertainty of a favorable outcome in court, I'll probably just suck it up and move forward.

Edited to add that the previous seller did'n fix the defect, they just slapped some mortar on the house. Fixing it would have involved what I'm going to do. Live and learn.

redbaron007
11-15-2012, 08:48
Thanks for taking the time to put down your thoughts. Some of what you're saying about disclosure requirements is incorrect (in my area), but I do agree that the buyer assumes some responsibility to keep the seller honest. Legally (once again in my area) the seller must disclose certain issues that occured in the past, even if repaired, such as roof leakage, fire damage, foundation damage, cracking of exterior walls, etc. The disclosure statement asks those questions specifically, and the seller answered a couple of them dishonestly.

An estimator came by today (the first of three) and came back with a bid of $7,200. It's going to involve backhoe excavation around two sides of my house to a depth of about ten feet, four piers, and the loss of some nice landscaping. It's possible that more damage to the foundation will be discovered during excavation (finished basement, so who knows).

I'm disappointed about the situation and upset with the sellers for not being truthful, but given the scope of the project (as I know it at this time) and the uncertainty of a favorable outcome in court, I'll probably just suck it up and move forward.

Edited to add that the previous seller did'n fix the defect, they just slapped some mortar on the house. Fixing it would have involved what I'm going to do. Live and learn.

With the cost of roughly $7,200, I think you are making a business decision that is pretty good. Your court cost to file could very easily reach this amount; plus, you then have to collect from them...all this takes time. But then there is that 'general principal' issue....that is the hard part to get over.

I hope there is nothing else to repair and you can finalize it....then move on.

:wavey:

red

series1811
11-15-2012, 09:05
Try finding out if other buyers before you had inspections and discussed the issue with the buyer and didn't buy because of it. That will show they were aware of the problem and chose to conceal it.