Asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan

Q: Can I Sue the seller of a home I just purchased for not disclosing foundation/settlement issues?

In the seller disclosure it says the property has had no signs of settlement, foundation or water issues. But there are clear signs of uneven floors. The inspector noted doors not closing because of it being painted too much. Realtor and contractor and inspector said the foundation looked solid and all it needed was a few support which totaled 1300, but I got a quote from a licensed crawl space foundation specialist and told me different which came out to be a 5 figure repair. How do I get answers?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
Answered
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: The question becomes: what did the seller know or should have known. Assuming the former owner is not a contractor him or herself, if a realtor, contractor, and inspector all said the foundation looked solid, I'm not sure how a successful suit could be brought against the seller.

Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Adding to Mr. Geers: about the only way you'll know with reasonable certainty the strengths or weaknesses of your case will be to contact an attorney directly.

An attorney will want to know how the foundation could both be solid, but also require a $1,300 support system. It at least sounds as though this was a noticeable issue to the realtor and inspector, which warranted a contractor taking a closer look. Lastly, early in a discussion with an attorney, they will want to know what the seller's involvement in the $1,300 quote was, if anything.

David Soble
David Soble
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Farmington Hills, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: In these cases, you would have to prove that the seller knowingly disregarded the truth (fraud) and that you relied upon these representations. Also, if these structural issues were apparent through your own visual inspection before the sale, then you too, have a duty to investigate further. Relying upon the sales agent's statements or the inspector's statements is not enough to create liability when you can visibly see the problem. See www.ProvenResource.com for further information.

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