Profile picture for user8055880

sold a house without a home inspection by buyer. now she claims there is a $10,000 plumbing problem

sold father in law's home. We never occupied home.  Buyer did not do home inspection.  We bought her a warranty.  Stated on contract we knew of no major problems and we did not occupy home.  She wants us to pay for $10,000 plumbing bill. States she will take us to court.  Does she have a case? There were no reciepts of plumbing work from his dad's checkbook or filing cabinet of reciepts.
  • October 16 2012 - US
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Answers (9)

Profile picture for JPyszChicago
In general, you have nothing to worry about. Of course they can take you to court but they will never win( Or never say never ) just make sure you have an attorney if it ends up in court and you are good. All you have to prove is that you didn`t know about the problem - very simple. On the other hand, they have to prove that you DID know about it- not so simple.....
It`s always a good idea to have the Realtor run the transactions, with proper disclosures that the agent would have had everybody sign there would be no problem..... This is Real Estate 101 - make sure you have all the disclosures, the more the better!!!!! Good luck.
  • October 22 2012
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Profile picture for TopNJAgent
Sounds very much like an  "estate sale" where you do not have direct knowledge about the property having not lived there...in cases like this I generally write this on top of a blank sellers disclosure and have the seller/executor sign it and provide it to the buyer to reinforce the point.

But the real answer is this - the buyer opted not to do inspection at their own risk, and now that title has transferred, any issues with the property have as well.

I would suggest you talk to your attorney, but I do not think they have a case.

Good luck and best,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
  • October 22 2012
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Thanks for posting your question on Zillow.com!

Hindsight: should have had an agent work for you as it sounds like you did not.  If you would have, you would have signed off on "seller's disclosures" stating you never lived there & know nothing about the property which would have prevented this situation.

No, I do not from the information you provided feel the buyer will win.  Can they take you to court?  Sure, anybody can sue anybody for anythings nowadays unfortunately.  :-(

Best of luck.
  • October 22 2012
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Profile picture for pmzsteve
I would say no. The buyer has the rights to inspect, not an obligation. She would have to prove that you knew about a preexisting condition and did not disclose it. However, all this depends on where you live and how sympathetic the judge is to the buyer in this case. But I would feel confident that the buyer does NOT have a case. Doesn't mean you won't spend $$$ defending yourself in court though.
  • October 17 2012
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The warranty is probably not going to cover the plumbing issue, and she probably doesn't have a case. A quick consult with an attorney will be worth your time.
  • October 17 2012
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
This is a legal question, find yourself a real estate attorney and discuss the matter with him/her.
  • October 17 2012
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Profile picture for Outer Banks N C
Seek out a lawyer and take the contract and papers in to them to look over. The buyer waived an inspection, that will bite her in the end. They would have to show you knew and hid the facts, called fraud, and it is tough to prove. The bad news is you will waste money on your lawyer, the good news is you will win the argument. Hopefully the buyers attorney will explain the lack of a case they could win and they will go away knowing they made mistakes, not you.

Tim
  • October 17 2012
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This Buyer may have a case, but basically because there is nothing preventing anyone from filing a lawsuit.  The real question, is will she win?  As always, the purchase contract and disclosures (and laws) will be your guide to your defense. I'm not sure what state you are located  in, but your contract should have an Inspection Advisory or Addendum that informs the Buyer of their responsibility to investigate the property and their right to perform an inspection.  Hopefully, you or your agent had the Buyer sign this in addition to an inspection waiver (always recommended when a Buyer does not perform an inspection).  As a seller that has never occupied the home, you may have limited knowledge and duty to disclose  items that you are aware of that could materially affect the home.  If you were not aware of the plumbing issue, and your Buyer was properly advised about perfrming an inspection, and of course depending upon your State's laws, you may be able to fend off her claim without issue.  She will have the burden of proof to show that you knew about the defect and did not disclose.  A good real estate attorney can ease your mind by providing an initial consultation after reviewing your contract and disclosures.  Unfortunately, if she persists in court or arbitration, you may spend time and money to defend yourself. 
  • October 16 2012
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
This is a situation where you should schedule a quick consult with a real estate attorney.    There are at least three aspects to review with the attorney:

a)  Usually the official disclosures have waffle words something like "to the best of our knowledge".  (When we filled out a disclosure for a relative, we (at the advice of our attorney) had a lot of "don't know" responses even when we had vague recollections of something several decades earlier) .

b)  She chose not to have an inspection (mind boggling!! IMHO)

c)  The final closing documents may have some important language.

Let us know what the attorney says.



  • October 16 2012
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