Can a buyer get out of a Real Estate agreement in Alabama

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Can a buyer get out of a Real Estate agreement in Alabama

We recently found that the new construction builders speck home we are buying
is in a neighborhood with easement issues were the city nor the county will
service the neighborhood due to having to cross private property. We want to
back out of the contract since it was not disclosed, but we were told by our
agent that Alabama is a buyer beware state. Can we get out?

Asked on August 17, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

It depends on the nature of the non-service and whether there was a misrepresentation. 
A seller is only responsible to disclose issues on the property; he has not obligation to disclose community, neighborhood, subdivision, etc. issues, though he cannot affirmatively lie. So a nondisclosoure of something on the property or a knowing lie he made about other issues would let you out, but not a nondisclosed issue that is not on the property itself. 
Examples:
1) He did not disclose that public sewer will not service the home and you need septic: that is a nondisclosure of an issue on the property and would let you terminate the contract without penalty (e.g. get your deposit back).
2) He stated in the marketing materials, etc. that the town's sanitation department picks up the garbage, or stated directly to you that there is busing to school from your neighborshood, but that's not the case due to the issues you mention--he made an affirmative misrepresentation or lie, and even though he was not required to disclose these things (since they are not on or part of the property), once someone does say something, they cannot lie--this would be fraud, and you could use it to terminate the contract.
But on the other hand--
3) Say that he didn't mention anything about garbage, or busing, or whatever other municipal service you are not getting, and that everything he stated about the property itself is true: in that case, he did not commit fraud (no nondisclosure of property issues; no lies) and you can not get out of the contract. The law, as stated, only requires the seller to actively disclose issues on the property, not elsewhere, and expects the buyers to do their own homework or due diligence about the area, community, etc.


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