Profile picture for IgorKovski

I believe the seller lied to use and did not disclose known defects about the house

Everything was repainted in the house and looked really nice...(this is the first house we bought), but now we're seeing cracks in the ceilings, all of the tile cracked so I opened one up and noticed a huge crack in the concrete, and it wasn't just a surface crack.  I then noticed cracks appearing on side of the door.  I believe the seller completely lied to us, covered certain things up just to sell the damn house, now I'm not sure if I can sue them or not.  What do you guys think?
  • September 08 2013 - Fort Worth
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Answers (11)

The seller lying about the condition of the home is a very serious offense and can cost them a lot.

How long ago did you close?

Did you have a home inspection on the home before you purchased?

Is the age of the home in line for the cracks to be considered normal settlement?

You have to be ready to prove that the seller knew about the defects to win a case.  Of course, I'm not an attorney, but you probably need to consult one to get the right answer for how you should proceed.  Many attorneys will give you consultation for a very low fee.  Be prepared to take your sales contract, the seller's disclosure and your inspection report and take pictures with you of the items you feel you were lied about.

Good luck,

Naima
  • September 08 2013
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
Did you hire an inspector as part of the purchase process?    What did the inspector's report say?

Tile cracking since you've owned the house may be an issue that has occurred while you've owned the house.   Has it been exceptionally dry (or wet)?   That can cause soil shifting and drying/cracking. 

As "sue" seems to be the American way, there is bound to be a lawyer who will take your money.   Whether or not you will win is different.   Perhaps an unbiased expert can come and assess the current situation and what is happening. 



  • September 08 2013
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Sad but very true ... Wetdawg.
-Joseph-

  • September 09 2013
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Profile picture for JoshBarnettREIB
Get with your agent to determine what the next steps are. 
  • September 09 2013
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IgorKovski Sorry to hear about these problems with your first house.

What does your Home Inspector say about this?

What will it cost to rectify these problems (3 estimates please)?

Mike
  • September 09 2013
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First of all sorry for the problems.

Second.....it's not what you can think it is what you can prove.   To recover damages...you have to prove what your damages are #1....and prove the seller knew about any problems, and did not disclose them to you.

So for example...if the settling is enough to have foundation repair....and you call the foundation company to come out and give you an estimate, and they tell you they don't need to come out, they were just there 2 months ago to talk to the previous seller and can fax you the recommendation they gave them at that time and the needed repairs are $10,000.   Then you might have proof and a damage estimate.

You need evidence.  You need people to testify.  You need proof....otherwise likely a waste of time.
  • September 09 2013
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Profile picture for IgorKovski
Thanks for all of the replies, you have helped me a lot so far.

We bought the house late May and the inspector report didn't say anything about foundation problems, neither did the appraisal report.  Being that we were newbies at this, we asked as many questions as we could, but one thing I didn't ask about was why was the tile replaced in the house.  I did not find out exactly when it was done because it seemed as if they replaced the tile, then put it on the market.  Now there are visible cracks in the ceiling, in two spots.  All I want to know is why the seller did not disclose that we replaced the tile, and "oh by the way..." there's a huge crack in the kitchen that you should be aware about.  Another funny thing was that after a while, the tile began to sound as if it was hollow underneath, that's when I got frustrated and took one of those off to see what was going on, which is when I found the crack in the concrete.

The house is 13 yrs old old and I understand that a purchase like that doesn't come without a cost (certain things broken and need replacement etc) but I did not expect cracks in ceiling not to mention the tile/concrete floor.

I already called two foundation experts to come out and give us an idea as to what "they think" is going on and if they believe that there were some issues with the house to begin with.  I just can't understand why the inspector didn't say much (and we got he one the realtor recommended which may have been the problem in the first place) and also why the appraisal report didn't say much about things like hollow points in tile and even "potential" problems with foundation.  Because as far as I understand, the bank can't finance a house with known foundation problems.  So I feel stuck, that we inherited a problem house and were lied to by sleazy seller and his agent.
  • September 10 2013
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I can understand your frustration and anger, and rightfully so!!
Did they fill out the standard disclosure forms (which have an exhaustive set of ?? for sellers to fill out?). If so, they should have mentioned that in there, known facts about the house cannot be hidden or overlooked. The inspectors should have caught at least a few of the things you mentioned and so should your agent if he did a visual inspection. But the most important are the sellers disclosures and inspection reports. Get advice from a lawyer if it comes to that! It seems you used the sellers agent? If so that is such a bad idea!! You must always have your own representation, a sellers agent has first and foremost a fiduciary responsibility to the seller only, since he signed a contract with him!! He does however have a responsibility to be honest and disclose all facts to you the buyer....
  • September 10 2013
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Consult with your agent and check your local real estate association for a dispute mediation process.  This can be more time and cost effective than litigation.

Collect as much supporting information as possible.

Good luck
  • September 11 2013
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If this happened to me I would have a foundation company come out to the property and render a proper foundation report. It is important you site this stuff from a licensed professional as soon as possible. The hardest part will be to prove what the estate previously looked like, was the cracks previously covered up, etc, etc. If previous damage was at the property your inspector should of caught some of the major signs of serious foundation shifts. (Freeze boards popping up, rafters in attic shifting, windows unable to open even doors sticking.... ) Had previous foundation repairs been completed at the property? Was it during the sellers possession of the estate? Most importantly what did the sellers disclosure say. I would contact your agent immediately and tell them you want explanations they will be limited on what they can do however they should be able to guide you to someone with answers.

Keller Williams Realty
Real Estate Consultant
3x US Army Veteran
Joseph Fernandez
  • September 23 2013
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Profile picture for user9750772
Yes to the last post.
A PE testify/report is valued greatly in court. The technique will follow. You can do it, but you still need the PE report and stamp on it. Most likely no PE will sign on a report you made ( I won't). So call one and pay him, if you see the following:
Usually between the tile and the concrete is an adhesive layer. Usually have certain patterns of lines air pockets and distortion. Once it drays (few hours after the application of the new tile, it is fixes (the pattern doesn't change since it hardens up). Remove the broken tile where you sow the crack in the foundation. Take pictures of every thing starting from here. Photo the crack length and width with a measuring tape laid next to it in to proof the actual measurements. Take picture of the pattern on the bottom of the tile or (if still sticking) on top of the concrete slab. You need to proof that when the concrete slabs cracked and moved, was before the application of the tile. If the tile was installed on top of a broken slab, then the owner or his contractor (if he hired any) have seen it and the damage to you was intentional. Take photo of the broken slab with the measuring tape as before.. Compare the readings, if the there is a difference in the measurement, then what follows is what you need to proof. (if the same measurement showed up, and the tile did not come loose by itself, then this too place after the tile installation and you can't proof it is before selling or after, unless you are very lucky and the seller had disclosed it to another entity and you happen to find out. If the cracks are different in measurement and the tile did not came off by itself causing a difference in the movement, then you will be able to proof that with the pattern of the adhesive.
So,
equal cracks ( you hope is too slim to proof what you think)
non-equal crack ( your hope is high to proof it technically that the seller new about it)
Good luck, I would have got pissed.
  • October 01 2013
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