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Posted: 9/2/2002 5:15:56 AM EDT
I did a stupid thing and now I'm paying for it. About two years ago, I bought a house here in "turdville" Tennessee. It's about 55 years old and looked to be in good shape. The previous owner signed a disclosure form that said the only known damage was a leak in the roof that had been fixed and leaked no more. Here is where I did the stupid thing. I saved some bucks by taking the previous owners word and believing the disclosure so I didn't get an inspection. All I got was an appraiser to look the house over. Since then I have found major damage and evidence of patchwork repair. I found out last month that the house had caught on fire and had extensive damage. There are charred timbers that were painted over to pass minor inspection. The evidence that I think will hang the previous owner is new wood and charred timbers sitting on a rotted foundation. Right now as I type there are 8 bottle jacks holding up my kitchen and you can see about 18 inches of daylight all around the wall from inside. I am talking MAJOR structural damage with evidence of patchwork that should prove deception on the disclaimer. If there are any lawyer types here that could give me info on my best course of action, I would appreciate the info. I called one attourney and he said stuff like this is hard to prove. I have about 30 pictures that would be hard to refute. HELP! Thanks in advance. PS Yeah I know I was stupid for not getting the inspection so save yourself some keyboard time if your gonna flog me for it.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 6:04:04 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Pangea: Right now as I type there are 8 bottle jacks holding up my kitchen
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Damn, when I first read this I saw it as 8 Jack bottles. I was thinking, "That really is Turdville Tennessee". [;)] Sorry to hear about your house. My best advice is to get a good attorney and sue everybody.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 6:14:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 6:22:44 AM EDT
yeah, in order to get financing, unless he's carrying the mortgage, you need to get an inspection. Always cover your bases before making such a huge investment, even in Turdville, Tn. That 500.00 inspection fee you should've gotten will now haunt now. Contact an atty asap.It will now cost you MORE than then 500.00 wouldve ever.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 6:59:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2002 7:03:52 AM EDT by drjarhead]
In my state there is a disclosure law. By lying about damage etc the deal would be null and void. YOU MUST GET AN ATTORNEY ASAP!!! That means now. Though it's been 2 years you may still have some legal recourse to at least recoup damages but don't delay. I don't know about Turdville law. Nor am I an attorney, for that matter. Listen, when buying a home look at as many as you can. You will learn quickly what to look for. There are good books on home inspection. FWIW, home inspections are overrated IMO. If you get one hire your own guy. Don't have the realtor do so. I did a far better job of inspecting my home than the inspector did though I did a lot of research on the subject and probably looked at 100 homes before buying mine. I'm a little anal that way. Best of luck, Pangea. Don't let those assholes off the hook. Seeing an attorney will probably releive some of your stress right off the bat. There are also some attorneys here. I think Eric the Hun and Steve in VA are. Might be worth IM'ing them and seeing if they can give you some brief advice. Might make you feel better. Take care. Edited to add: Find an attorney who specializes in Real Estate Law and don't accept the "this is hard to prove" BS. You need to find a GOOD attorney and sit down with him and go over it all. Better yet, have him come to your house. You can't afford to be cheap here. If you must, sue him yourself. Keep us posted on what goes down, okay.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 7:31:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 8:01:51 AM EDT
[B]A)[/B] An inspection is [u]not[/u] required for financing, but rather is up to each individual financing company. [B]B)[/B] If you signed off on the disclosure statement, then you agreed to what was stated, however fradulent it may have been. [B]C)[/B] Many inspectors are just there for the money, and [u]do not[/u] take the time to properly catch much of anything... In fact, they are usually working for the seller! When we purchased our home, the contract & disclosure statements contained all sorts of fictitous crap, that I had no recourse against, since the seller was "lending" us the down payment, and the abnker was his close personal friend... Did we get screwed..? Sure, but we would [u]not[/u] have been able to purchase this home any other way, as we simply were not in a good position financially! We put up with the following problems, that the disclosure clearly stated were not an issue: [*] Roof was 4 years old. [red]Roof was actually patched over, and very poorly done.[/red][/*] [*] Never a drop of water in basement. [red]Every neighbor on the block has told us about the horror stories of all of the flooding in our home, over the years.[/red][/*] [*] Fireplaces & chimneys are 100% solid. [red]Guess again![/red][/*] [*] Plumbing and electrical are new. [red]Well, they are now![/red][/*] [*] Water softener has very little use. [red]That's because it never worked![/red][/*] Long story short, it has been a lot cheaper for me to make all of these repairs on my own, than it would have been to fight with the seller... Except for the roof and chimneys, everything else has been fixed, and we have had zero problems since. The easiest was probably the basement water problems, since we just dug a deep pit and dropped in a high volume sump pump. After 3 years, we did have water again this summer, so we added a backup pump that operates on 12v DC, and found a hole that needed plugged... The roof and chimney will have to wait till next year though! FWIW: We would do this again, as our property value has increased 56% over 3 years, and the equity has more than offset our repair costs. To date, every repair to our home, I have done myself, so the expenses of a "professional" have not been there, only the materials.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 8:08:42 AM EDT
When Grin_N_Barret bought a new home this past spring, he had an inspector do a very thorough inspection... He also knew what we had been through, so he asked me to be there as well. The inspector was about worthless, since I went behind him and pointed out a ton of things that he missed... He didn't seem to thrilled that I was about 1007% more thorough than he was, but he did make note of everything that I found, and that greatly helped Grin when it came time to close on the house.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 8:17:06 AM EDT
Pangea's problems are more extensive and will require a fair amount of $ to repair. We are talking about major structural problems, not elec/plumbing/roofing. It will likely be worth the effort to at least get some compensation provided there is not a statute of limitations which has been exceeded. Just having an attorney become involved may at least get you some kind of out of court settlement. I don't think signing off on a fictitious disclosure report means jack shit. Where you get the money for the down payment is inconsequential. The banker means even less. Get an attorney and sue the lying sack of shit. He deserves it, big time.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 8:59:59 AM EDT
Here's the scoop. First, state laws vary and I don't know TN. Second, when you sign off on the disclosure list, you are only signing off on what was disclosed. Third, never sign an "as-is" contract unless you are a contractor/investor with experience. I suggest you bone-up on TN real estate laws including the statue of limitations, get a real estate lawyer (not an estate lawyer), go to the county or city fire services and get the fire report for your house. You will need this to show that the seller knew of the fire (if he was the owner at the time of the fire, his name would be on it. If so, you are in the drivers seat big time). Finally, talk to the title company as the fire report should have come up in the title search. Most states have laws that require a fire to be report to all potential buyers for so many years. Check all the documents you signed and received a copy from the title company. It should have been inches thick and you did keep your copies? Some of the people here should stick with cleaning weapons.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 9:04:22 AM EDT
Oh, I should have added that the title company should be notified as well. They are an insurance provider and should have found the fire report. You should contact them in writing. All contacts should be friendly or neutral and in writing. If you have oral conversations, follow that up in writing as "per our conversation yesterday, we agreed that...yada,yada,yada." Keep all of your written documents as "good faith" of contracts is mostly about your actions and what you did prior to ending up in court.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 9:17:43 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 11:09:09 AM EDT
You need an attorney! Aimless is correct to point out that there must be assets worth recovering to make any lawsuit worthwhile.[V]
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 11:26:17 AM EDT
Originally Posted By antiUSSA: The inspector was about worthless, since I went behind him and pointed out a ton of things that he missed...
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That's the truth, especially the ones "reccommended" by realators. They just want to promote the sale. We were about to purchase a custom built house on a hill, had the inspection which pointed out some minor stuff but still said the house was OK. About a week from closing we decided to spend and extra $500 bucks on a structural engineer to come and inspect the house. He pointed out many flaws in the construction of the house and told us not to buy it. Even though we were a week away from closing we pulled out. Realtor was PISSED. Oh well, f-em. We found a much nicer house and couldn't be happier. And I'm sure the realtor didn't point out what our guy found to the eventual purchasers of the house. So for you prospective house buyers, pay for an inspection but hire your own independent inspector.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 1:19:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2002 1:21:31 PM EDT by nightstalker]
From a google search on real estate disclosure laws. Disclosure laws Although New York does not have a disclosure law, there are ways you can help prevent a nightmare from happening to you.To prevent the above from happening, many states have enacted statutes that require sellers to disclose hidden defects to potential buyers. These states usually require the seller to fill out a disclosure form that asks a series of questions about the property. Even if state law does not require the seller to fill out a disclosure form, the buyer or real estate agent may require it. Property disclosure statements cover such topics as: drainage problems, faulty furnaces, roofs, termites, cracks or flaws in walls or foundation, leaks, fires, plumbing problems, sewage problems, dampness in the basement or attic, and whether work was done to code. [b] The following startes have disclosure laws: Alaska, California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Sellers must fill out the form truthfully to the best of their knowledge, but they will not be liable if they don't disclose defects that are unknown to them at the time. If there is any reason to believe there is a defect in the property, however, the seller should make every reasonable effort to investigate.[/b] The disclosure statement does not act in place of a home inspection by a qualified individual. Buyers should still hire an inspector. He or she may find something the seller didn't know about. If defects are disclosed, it doesn't necessarily mean the deal will be off. Buyers can use information disclosed by the seller as a negotiating tool. For example, you may be able to get the seller to agree to repair the defect before the closing or to get money off of the purchase price or closing costs. Caveat Emptor In states without disclosure laws, the historical rule with regard to real estate sales is caveat emptor, meaning "let the buyer beware." Under caveat emptor, the seller is not liable for defects if: the defect is obvious upon reasonable inspection, the buyer had access to inspect the premises, and there was no fraud. The cause of the defect doesn't have to be obvious; if the defect itself is obvious, you have a duty to investigate the cause. For example, if you notice water in the basement, you have a duty to find out why the water is there. If you don't investigate and go ahead with the purchase of the house, you cannot later claim you didn't know there was a problem with leaking in the basement. Even in states that follow caveat emptor, there are certain things a seller must disclose. Some courts have held that a seller who doesn't disclose a hidden defect commits fraud if the buyer could not discover the defect through reasonable diligence. For example, if a seller knows there is a leak in the basement that is only noticeable when it rains and there is no way for the buyer to discover this during the normal house-buying process, the seller must disclose this to the buyer. In addition, some courts have required sellers to disclose information about problems occurring on neighboring property that affect the property for sale. For example, sellers may have to disclose if there is a toxic waste dump near the property they are trying to sell. What if the seller doesn't disclose a defect? If a seller doesn't disclose a hidden defect, or erroneously fills out the property disclosure form, the buyer can sue for fraud. The seller may have to pay for any repairs to the property that result from the undisclosed defect. However, if seller discloses a problem and you fail to investigate it, you can't sue the seller later. If the seller's real estate agent does not require the seller to fill out a property disclosure form or aids the seller in lying about the condition of the property, the agent may also be liable for any damages.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 4:51:56 PM EDT
Many thanks to all who replied. Keep the good info coming. It looks like I will be seeking legal representation asap. I can't find my copy of the disclosure but I am satisfied that the title company has one. I got the new sill beams under the kitchen and it is sitting on its foundation. The rotten floor joists have been sistered and tied to the plate with screws and tie plates. I sistered the studs and man let me tell you. That original red oak is some hard shit to screw to. I added blocks under the floor joist just to be sure and ran new plumbing. I will take this opportunity to move the sink to a location under a window and move the dishwasher next to the sink. I dont think I'll go back with cabinets though. I think I'll fab up some wrought iron brackets and legs and other purdy stuff and just make open shelves with cherry planks. I am glad that I have this resource for info. The people here are a vast pool to draw from and for that I am forever grateful. Wish me luck in the legal realm. Later bros.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 7:00:20 PM EDT
Good luck, bud. Keep us posted and find your copy of that disclosure form if you can.
Link Posted: 9/2/2002 9:27:39 PM EDT
You should've gotten an inspection. [:)] Sorry, I could not resist.
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