can a buyer sue me

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can a buyer sue me

sold an investment property we were fixing up, a double wide mobile home. Buyer bought sight unseen, their daughter viewed the house for them. They declined a home inspection, a previous inspection was made available to them which they declined to view. The property was sold as is. Buyer wants to sue now, stating the property was misrepresented it wasn’t, that some things needed fixing up and they want to rescind the sale or recoup some money. Do they have a case?

Asked on August 18, 2019 under Real Estate Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You write that "some things need fixing up." IF--
1) you were aware of those issues; and
2) the issues would not have been readily apparent or visible when their daughter, acting as their agent or representative, viewed the home
--they could sue you for not disclosing the issues, a form of fraud. A home seller has the legal obligation to disclose issues known to him or her which are not readily apparent. This applies even to "as is" sales. If an issue would have been apparent or visible when someone looked at the property, then there is no obligation to disclose it, and no liability for failing to disclose it.
Examples: 
1) There are cracked windows; windows are visible and whether the daughter in fact noticed them, she could have; therefore, you did not have to disclose this and there would be no liability.
2) You were aware that the waste or outflow line to the sewer or septic is crumbling and tends to be blocked up easily. This is not apparent to someone viewing the home and a failure to disclose this known problem would be fraud: they could sue you for the cost to correct the problem.
3) Or take mold: mold on the surface of a bathroom wall, where it can be seen does not need to be disclosed. But if you were aware of mold on the inside of the wall, where it is not visible but failed to disclose that, you could be sued for the cost of mold remediation.


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