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Old 06-06-2012, 06:23 AM
14,361 posts, read 16,276,263 times
Reputation: 12870


I am no pro, but I think you file in the court where the home is located. He would need to travel to CA for court proceedings or have a lawyer represent him or he can settle prior.

If small claims court in your area has a 5k limit, maybe you sue for the 5k so it stays in that court. cheaper filing fees and easier process.

If you decide to sue in a higher court, and if you get an attorney, then you should consider suing him for attorney fee and court costs.

I think he knew about it but not sure if you can prove it. because he lived out of state and because he inherited the home (did he live there??), he could play dumb and say he was just there a few hours here and there to remodel and did not know. But he likely saw the wet plaster and this is probably the reason he remodeled.

maybe he will settle...offer to pay half or something. But you probably have to file in court first.

Small claims sometimes allows "serving" to be via certified mail...other times a process server which is a cost to you. Check your local courts to see the costs and which one to use.
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:31 AM
983 posts, read 3,483,144 times
Reputation: 357
Dear OP,

I was in the opposite end of a similar situation. I sold my house in NY and moved to FL. 1 month after closing, the buyer spent $4k to fix a sewage problem that I was not aware of. Then he contacted my lawyer with the bill.

My lawyer said there's very little chance that he would sue me because I was already out of state. But I agreed to share 1/3 of the cost because I wanted the new owner to be happy with my old house.

If you sue, you bear the burden of proving that the seller knew the problem. As others suggested, this can be difficult. For example, I had no idea about the sewage problem, even though the buyer claimed that it was obvious.

If I were you, I'd try to get 2nd/3rd opinion on your problem and see whether you can lower the cost from $6k. Often, the contractors overestimate these repairs especially with newly purchased house. Then contact the seller through his lawyer and see whether he's willing to share the cost. It's a long shot but better than suing without concrete proof.

Good luck!
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:30 AM
Location: Newport News VA
71 posts, read 126,962 times
Reputation: 43
You may also want to check with your homeowners insurance to see if they can access previous claims that may be related to the leak. By all means, consult an attorney.
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:54 AM
Location: St. Louis
7,041 posts, read 5,068,185 times
Reputation: 4045
Originally Posted by Barking Spider View Post
Sounds like the burden of proof that he knew about it will be a tough sell. Since the house is older (galvanized pipes), the leaks could have started at any time.

If your inspector didn't find any signs of leaking, what makes you think that the home owner would have seen anything? Seems to me that if the pipes had been leaking a long time, there would have been signs when you had it inspected yourself.

Seller being out of State, and very hard for you to prove he knew anything about it or tried to cover it up will make this very difficult for you to win and collect anything. Might be hard to find an attorney willing to take on a 6K case too.
At least in my state a $6k case is larger than small claims. You'd realistically need an attorney and I can't image one would take this on a contingency (for $6k) and you'd be crazy to pay them by the hour.

You might be better off just to move on and avoid turning a $6k loss into a bigger one.
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Old 03-19-2016, 12:55 PM
1 posts, read 982 times
Reputation: 10
Red face Nondisclosures


I was a mortgage lender for 15 years and an office manager for a real estate broker prior to that. I became disabled as well as my son after living in a 4000 sf home I paid 750,000 for. We lived in it for 7 years before finding it had many builder defects with black mold in the walls.

Fast forward a few years. After losing everything I worked all my life (much real estate, marriage, credit, businesses and my half of my spouses retirement because i was too sick to fight him) for due to this illness I repaired my credit. Rented a home for 2 yrs then qualified to purchase a small home in the country to try and heal. After moving into this home we found many things the home inspector missed. The seller failed to disclose the large leaking wall and windows. We have bucket fulls pour in along with large flooding issues. I just had a new septic put in with a fancy pump, alarm system on it and a french drain. Not only did we still flood we have all the neighbors septic overflow from this high water table. It killed the 20 fruit trees we planted. I dug one up to try and save it and it smelt so badly like sewer. Can this be the cause of high arsenic levels in my lab work? My son and I have been diagnosed with auto immune like lyme disease but told while we're in any sort of mold exposures we can't even treat itbecause the symptoms are so similar and mold needs detoxed first beings they both put out biotoxins and neurotoxins. We're to the point now of kidney, liver and enlarged organs. These sellers have nearly killed us and it's so wrong. I paid full price for the home praying that honesty and good karma would come when I found errors in escrow fees in sellers favor. Now all my honesty has come back to bite me again and still having rough luck. We can not replace the past 11 of our lives from water damaged homes. We have been I this home 2 years this August. Do you know a great attorney to help me with this suit?

Thank you so much
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Old 03-19-2016, 02:53 PM
Location: El paso,tx
1,487 posts, read 572,187 times
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And in some states there is no sellers disclosure required for estates where inheritir/trustee never lived.

I think you'll have a hard time proving he knew, since your inspector didn't find it.
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Old 03-19-2016, 04:44 PM
5,048 posts, read 6,392,001 times
Reputation: 4121
As Smart Money says, call around to contractors that worked on it.

Talk to the neighbors on either side and across the street and anyone who indicated they were friends with your seller. You'd be surprised who will say 'that suchandsuch company truck was in his driveway on and off for months'.

To find out if your can sue....who told you you couldn't? Did you have a settlement attorney who can tell you a fact or did you ask where you get the forms to fill out for small claims court?
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:35 AM
Location: Georgia, USA
21,481 posts, read 26,078,274 times
Reputation: 26426
Old thread resurrected.
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Old 03-21-2016, 08:38 AM
5,048 posts, read 6,392,001 times
Reputation: 4121
oh durn. I've avoided so many of these. But every now and then :/. I guess there's no way to shut them off from future posts after a certain number of years.
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