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Old 01-24-2010, 01:37 PM
 
7 posts, read 22,735 times
Reputation: 12
Default Can I sue my real estate agent?

I know this may be a touchy subject, but I feel that the seller's agent for a house I just bought did something very unethical. I'll give the very short version...

In the appraiser's conditions for the FHA loan, he said that a full plumbing inspection needed to be done of my home and that all repairs had to be made as to make the house safe.

I came to find out that there was a major leak in the hot water pipe after my living room flooded with a half inch of water, I developed a serious case of mold in the living room, and received a $1600 bill from a plumber, not to mention numerous holes throughout my house that the seller's agent never even ordered the plumbing inspection.

I asked the seller's agent who's responsibility it had been to order the inspection and he admitted it was his, but claims that the appraiser or someone else should have caught his mistake. I don't understand how the appraiser could have even known that the inspection was done because that's something he would rely on the seller's agent to have taken care of.

My question is, is there any action that I can take against the seller's agent. Despite my walls and flooring being ruined, all I really want is the money that they would have originally had to pay for the pipe to be fixed. I will suck up the damages myself, but I feel that he is trying to rip me off because he thinks I can't do anything. Would I have any chance in small claims court because of his negligence? Thanks!!!
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
10,763 posts, read 17,551,649 times
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The contract is between you and the seller, not you and the agent. Your small claims court action should be against the seller. If you wrote in the contract that the seller needed to do a plumbing inspection and they didn't then you would sue the seller.
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
10,763 posts, read 17,551,649 times
Reputation: 6614
You know your title says can you sue "my" agent but then you say the seller's agent. Did you have representation in this transaction?
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:03 PM
 
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Oh sorry for the confusion. Well it was a bank owned home, and I meant the seller's agent. The sellers agent told my agent that the work was done, so my issue was with the seller's agent.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
10,763 posts, read 17,551,649 times
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Did your agent document that the seller's agent said the work was done? And what exact work was supposed to be done? Is it in the contract?
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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I am not sure if it was documented by my agent that the work was done. I was under the impression that it was just word of mouth. This was what the appraiser said, which was then put into the final contract: "all plumbing inclusive of the water lines to the water heater must be inspected by a licensed plumbing contractor to determine if there are any health and safety issues and that they are all in code compliance. Any repairs needed must be made by a licensed plumbing contractor."
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
16,123 posts, read 21,596,378 times
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Did you not have your own inspection?
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:33 PM
 
7 posts, read 22,735 times
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Well here's what happened. The water was never turned on for the inspection that I ordered or the first time the appraiser came by. My inspector couldn't have known of the leak because the seller's agent never had the water turned on. The day before the appraiser went out to check and see if all the conditions had been made, it still wasn't turned on. I called and had the city turn on the water at the street. The water heater was turned on as well, but because the leak was so bad, the water never actually got hot. I don't know if the appraiser needed the water to actually be hot to sign off, but he did. I think that because the appraiser came the day after the water was turned on, he was never able to see the water coming up from the slab. A plumbing inspector would have caught this because, as I was told by the plumber, it is obvious that there is a leak because of the meter at the street.

When I checked with the county as to what a plumbers inspection would have checked for, these problems should have been caught. For example, the plumber had to observe the hot water was working, which it never was, or for leaks.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
6,945 posts, read 10,504,650 times
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Possibly. I think you could run across some difficulties if it was an "as is" contract. Your best bet would be talk to a local RE attorney.
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
10,763 posts, read 17,551,649 times
Reputation: 6614
I think you have a long shot because the bank addenda that you signed said you were buying the property as-is and would override any language in the original contract. A bank would never have done a plumbing inspection on your behalf. You would have had to pay for that yourself.

Are you clear that the appraiser is NOT a home inspector? They just verify the condition of the home for the lender for FHA and VA. So the lender just wanted the appraiser to verify that the plumbing worked, which based on the 30 minutes the appraiser was there it did.

YOU as the buyer should have paid for the plumbing inspection. Not the bank. They won't. I would second Brandon's advice to talk with a RE attorney and then I would have a chat with YOUR agent.
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