Can I sue seller?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I sue seller?

I purchased my first home 2 weeks shy of a year ago. My agent recommended the inspector, who gave a clean bill of health on the home. My agent also recommended the pest control company who also reported no moisture, fungus or organisms in the crawl space. About 6 months ago, I noticed my floors were separating from the walls and sinking in places. My son’s room was almost 1/2 inch lower than the rest of the house. Along with these issues, I also had cracks appearing in the brick on the front of house. I called the inspector several months later and asked him to come back out to the house. He did come back out but did not inspect the home. He said the house was fine and that I’m being too picky. I called the plant board and asked for an investigation against pest control company. The board issued a substandard inspection against the pest company and sited them to fix a portion of my subfloors rotted joists. The pest control hired a man to do said repairs and this man discovered that I had new subfloors installed on rotted old subfloors. He would not make any repairs stating this is not a good thing. I decided to hire a structural engineer. Upon his inspection he discovered visible moisture damage, fungus wood rot, 11 cracked joists and that’s not even a fraction of the damage. All which the engineer said would have taken years to occur and should have been spotted by inspector. The engineer also noted that my house was not safe to live in until damages are fixed. I’m a single mom who feels like I was totally scammed by everyone involved. Do I have any recourse?

Asked on June 16, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller for fraud and the inspector for negligence.
Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation or nondisclosure of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity and with the intent to induce your reliance upon which you justifiably relied to your detriment.
In other words, you would not have bought the house had you known its true condition.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for fraud) are either the benefit of the bargain or your out of pocket loss.
Benefit of the bargain means a defrauded purchaser may recover the difference between the real and represented value of the property regardless of the fact that the actual loss suffered might have been less.
Out of pocket determination of damages for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price and actual value of the property acquired.
You can sue the inspector for negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise due care which is that degree of care that a reasonable home inspector would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm. Your damages are what was  foreseeably caused by negligence such as the cost of repairs to your home.
You would file one lawsuit naming the seller and inspector as defendants.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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