I just sold my two family home in central New Jersey. I bought a single family home in roughly the same area. It’s a very popular and desirable neighborhood that warrants excellent rents or resale. My plan was to move in and stay for a few years and then turn it into a rental income property.
Three days after closing I’m finding all these issues with the home; this home had a full renovation roughly 13 years ago its not a fixer. It seems there were things that were overlooked in inspection and could have also not have been disclosed by the seller. These repairs could amount into the double digits to fix. I can’t get any cooperation from the inspector or from the lawyer that handled my closing. Has this happened to anyone? If so, who was able to help?
Have you reached out to your agent if there was one? That would be my first place. What was actually wrong with the home? 13 years ago is a long time. In 13 years a number of items could have already passed their estimated life. Did you check prior permitting on this home to see what was actually permitted and when?
What kind of issues are you encountering? A seller is required to disclose any KNOWN material defect with the property; failure to do so makes them subject to legal claims. An inspection report covers the condition of the house on the date of inspection. An inspector won't check every electrical outlet for example - but is expected to check a significant sample. There will also be a disclaimer on the final page of the report that basically protects from any claim you might want to make.
If fraud was committed by the sellers, you would need to proceed against them legally. But you have to prove that they knew of the defects - and then failed to disclose. I doubt any remedy with the inspector will be possible; be sure to read the disclaimers.
Unfortunately, I've had the same experience with my personal residence. What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that some people should NEVER be allowed in a Home Depot/Lowe's for any reason whatsoever. A lot of what the seller and his "contractor brother" did was what was later described as "prison work." A thirteen year renovation would not be considered recent in my market; the water heater and AC would have no life remaining for insurance engagement and the roof would be considered end of life.
I chose to move forward and make the improvements; it was the right decision from an appreciation standpoint - but after about 10 years, I decided to put a Statute of Limitation on my resentment of the seller for his shoddy workmanship (and I do know he misrepresented several components).
Hope this at least let's you know that it happens more often than not. A client of mine just bought a $750k house, recent build, pristine - and he has replaced several appliances, a pool pump, more. Real estate is just the asset that keeps on taking...
It will never be worth your while trying to sue anyone for this as the money you would pay in attorney's fees would be more than what you will pay out. When it comes to home surprises, after closing, we've all been there. My last purchase I got snuck by the sellers on a bad sewer and had to replace the whole line for 17k, but it would have been impossible to prove they knew unless I found out who serviced and did clean up for their prior issues. You should address it with your attorney and agent first to see if these were issues raised on inspection repair requests and re-read your inspection to see if they were noted and you missed asking for them. There isn't really a remedy for this other than learning. We've all had this lesson.
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