Conroe, TX asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for Texas

Q: Bought house from OpenDoor (not app, OpenDoor owned) passed inspection, but we found extensive termite damage live mites

OpenDoor was the owner/seller. We had it inspected before closing and it was noted it had been treated for termites but no mention of damage or live mites. We paid full price because opendoor would not negotiate price. After closing we found extensive termite damage and live mites. Many of the studs crush in your hand like graham crackers as did the baseboard behind the fridge. The beams that held the AC (only installed a few years ago) were sagging. We have to tear out and repair half the house. It has cost us thousands and will cost thousands to finish. Termite damage was not on disclosure, inspection company not willing to help us beyond a discount on treatment. Our mortgage holder was in the process of selling our mortgage when they realized they forgot to have us sign a standard form about termites at closing. They've offered us $6k to sign the form by friday. We don't know what to do

1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Construction Law Lawyer
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: In order to prevail in a lawsuit against the seller, you will need to prove that the seller was aware of the termite damage and infestation and that the damage and infestation were hidden such that they could not have been discovered before you purchased the home.

You mention the inspection company that performed your pre-purchase termite inspection. The inspector will be a key witness on your behalf in any such lawsuit. He/she ought to testify that the termite inspection revealed no evidence of a past or current active termite infestation.

You will, however, still need some evidence that OpenDoor was aware of the termite damage and activity in order to prevail. This can be evidence of prior repairs of the termite damage during the time OpenDoor owned the property and evidence of efforts by OpenDoor to hide the termite infestation.

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