Can we rescind sale or home?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can we rescind sale or home?

Last Monday my husband and I bought a house in Rhode Island with a big fenced
in yard for our dogs. As we were at the closing, signing our paperwork, the
seller of the house told the next door neighbor that a portion about 1/3 of
our soon to be property actually belonged to her and was not part of his
property at all.

On our way to the property we recieved a phone call from my Mom saying that the
neighbor is claiming that a big chunk of the land is actually hers and she was
going to tear down the trees and put up a fence.

We feel like we were tricked, either by the seller or the real estate agent.
Two days later the agent offered to rescind the sale and we happily agreed BUT
the sellar wouldn’t agree. Not it is a week later and we find out that we
can’t rescind and are stuck with the house. Do we have any legal recourse? We
needed that land for our 4 newfoundland dogs weighing between 120lbs –
185lbs. The biggest reason we purchased this house was for the big fenced in
back yard. Please help.

Asked on May 7, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Rhode Island


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can't necessarily take what the neighbors say at face value--they could be mistaken. You should have the land surveyed to verify the borders. If indeed the size of the lot was misrepresented, then your options are:
1) In theory, rescind the sale--but if the money you paid to the seller is mostly gone (e.g. used to pay off his mortgage), then you can't rescind, because you can't get the money back. (His mortgagee or lender was an innocent 3rd party and cannot be made to return money it accepted in good faith.)
2) Sue the seller, his agent, and the agent's real estate agency or company for compensation, such as the difference in value between the house with the land as advertised and the house with the smaller plot, and also the cost to put up a fence at the correct boundary.

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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