I sold a house in S Cal. in Nov 2003. The buyer hired an inspector and I fixed everything that was on the list prior to closing. We were both represented by the same agent. I sold her the home in great condition. I lived there for 10 years and took good care of the property.
I refused to pay her anything. The buyer later settled with the agent and the home inspector for most of her complaint. However, since then, 2 1/2 years now, she has sent me several letters threatening to sue for the difference.
We now have a date for small claims, she wants $7500. Does anybody have any advise? Is there a statute of limitation for the sale of a home? Any advise is appreciated.
Hey biggq, I think you left something out of your post! The first paragraph doesn't mention any problems, the second para starts out sounding like someone (buyer) had asked for something from you!
Fill us in and maybe we can help, but in general anyone who has an inspector, and I fixed everything the inspector turned up, I generally tell them to go pound sand.
Sorry, I'll try to be more clear. I bought the home as a HUD and lived in it 10 years, systematically remodeling it over that time. The house was 20+ years old and in good condition at the time of sale. The buyer paid for an inspection that turned up a few minor problems that were taken care of prior to closing. We both used the same agent.
6-8 months later I received a certified letter claiming numerous things I failed to disclose. Most of them were minor things like cleaning out the fireplace, laundry vent, repair of sprinkler heads and insect problems. All these areas were viewed by the inspector and nothing was mentioned negatively in the report. I was there during the inspection, the buyer was not.
Anyway, the buyer threatened the agent and the inspector with a lawsiut and they both settled for about $2500 each. Now, almost 3 years later and after several threatening certified letters, she is taking me to small claims court for the $7500 difference. The most expensive item on her claim is the front bathtub that she recently discovered the sheet rock behind the tile was rotted. Over $6000 for this newly discovered problem.
Any advice or opinions appreciated,
Does anyone know what the statue of limitation for RE lawsuits in CA. Is it from the time of discovery or closing?
I can not tell you about California law...but it is my understanding that most state laws regulating this sort of thing require the seller to disclose all "known" problems to a home. If you knew the wall behind the tile was rotten...you may have been responible under the law to have disclosed that...If you did not know it you may not have been responsible to disclose it under California law....You must check the real estate laws for California in regard to what the seller must disclose to the buyer. And as far as the statute of limitations is concerned that can very from state to state...check the California law. Many states have their laws posted on the web...
Some states also have a disclosure form or letter that is signed at closing... you may want to review the closing papers and see if the buyer signed anything to the effect that all known defects were corrected or the like.... send them a copy of you find it, and I'd send a copy to the agent as weel so they can sure for their $2500 back if they like.
Just my opinion but a $100 consultation fee to a local RE attorney may be worthwhile in this situation.
Went to small claims and won. She was unprepaired and had a head hunter home inpector that made them both look like fools.
Congrats and well done!
One more for the good guys! Glad you won and not this opportunistic scammer.