First Time Home Buyer - Seller Non-Disclosure Help

3 Replies

Hello,

So first time home buyer recently purchased a property. Seller listed "NO known issues with fireplace/stove/chimney in disclosure report" Had full home inspection done where inspector brought up possible issues with the fireplace/chimney. Missing bricks outside on top of chimney, gap in mortar. Told seller we would like repairs to be done before purchasing home. They agreed to have chimney company come out and inspect the chimney and give repair quote. Their inspection came out to ~$2200 to rebuild outside of chimney from roof up and slap some mortar in the inside of firebox to seal the gap. They said they would pay us half of the cost as closing and we agreed seeing as the amount was relatively small.

After signing the contract we then had our own chimney company come out to give us a quote on the repairs and lo and behold they found almost $8,000 in repairs needed (removed connection from boiler to the chimney which was completely corroded/leaking, cracks in the flue, etc.) Seeing as we had already signed the contract we thought we were out of luck and would need to now eat the cost. Fast forward a few weeks later and we are cleaning out the drawers in the house and come across a chimney inspection/estimate dated 5 years prior outlining all of the same issues our chimney company found with the chimney signed by the seller. Turns out the seller did not perform any of the recommended repairs for the cracked flue, damaged exterior, etc. This report was not included at all in the disclosures we received and the seller made zero mention of it in the disclosure report stating that there were in fact NO issues what-so-ever with the chimney/fireplace itself when she clearly knew about issues having had them brought to their attention in the past. When we brought up possible fireplace issues she still did not mention anything about the report and instead had another inspection done which seems to have glossed over the bigger issues within the chimney itself.

Is this grounds for fraud or is there any legal action that can be taken for this? We have the old signed inspection report with her signature on it and we have had multiple quotes for repair work done that are all in the 8-12k range making note of the same issues as her original report which was for ~8k in repairs 5 years ago well over the $2200 we were told was the cost to fix the chimney.

I am in a similar boat. Seller agreed (and even paid workers) to do some minor fixes, one kind of major (siding has damage and water was leaking in to the garage). Handymen gave up half way through job and never came back. Not really sure what to do now. 

Your situation sounds much worse. I hope you're able to find a solution.

Originally posted by @Wayne Brooks :

@Gary Tuorto Jr Unfortunately, I think you’re on your own.  Your inspector missed those issues, and some quote the owner got five years ago was just a quote for what some chimney company recommended/Wanted to do...

Hi Wayne, our inspector did not miss the issues. He isn’t a certified chimney inspector and thus his inspection was only from what he could see and his own knowledge. He noted issues from what he could tell from the visual inspection. We brought this up to the seller that there were supposedly some chimney issues that needed to be addressed. The seller then got a chimney company to come out and inspect/give quote to repair whatever issues were found. The issues/quote were for exterior partial rebuild only and we were credited for the repairs. When we went to get our own company to do the repairs after closing/receiving the credit they found even more issues. We thought oh well it’s on us now for not hiring our own company to come out and relying on the good will of the seller to inspect/quote repairs. Turns out we found an inspection report and quote stashed away in a drawer from several years back outlining the exact issues found by our own current companies we got to come out and give quotes. It was signed and dated by the seller meaning she should have full knowledge the chimney isn’t up to par. This was not mentioned or even disclosed of in seller disclosure report and had listed as “No issues with the chimney”.