Home Buying in Clovis>Question Details

Brent, Other/Just Looking in Clovis, NM

Anything we can do against the previous owners of our home if it was not as advertised?

Asked by Brent, Clovis, NM Mon Oct 11, 2010

...house was specifically advertised as having a "heated pool". We found out later (this summer) the heater is broken, and will cost nearly $3k to fix! Also, after talking w/ various people, to include the local pool store, we found out the previous owners had the pool cleaned by the pool store just before we came to look at the house, and, according to the guys at the pool store, "they didn't like to fix anything unless it was totally broken, and never took care of the pool very well". This was an entire smoke & mirror operation. Extremely maddening, as I have a mystery leak somewhere that we're going through 24,000 gallons of water per month for, and the pool needs a new liner on top of that!


I've found out more information about our house from the neighbors than the previous owners. Is there anything I can do at this point now that it's been a year since we bought the house?

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The key is did the lie in their seller disclosure, did the seller disclosure even metion teh pool and did you have the pool inspected by a professional during your home inspection period? Thise answers will affect your ability to sue the former owner. you should at leats check with a local attorney, bring you paperwork and proof of damages and let them tell you if you have a case to forward with.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
Inspections are best for finding defects before a sale. However, All known defects must be disclosed by a seller to the buyer. The seller is still liable after the sale for defects they did not disclose. It would require that you prove the seller knew or should have known about the defect. If the neighbors knew, then you can be fairly confident of being able to prove the sellers knew. You will need legal counsel to pursue this course of action.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 23, 2013
I can see where you're coming from, and I understand what you're saying.

Knowing that the last owner was a preacher, you'd think there'd be more honesty in the transaction, but whatever. Maybe the fact that they never updated their current address with their customers or the churches they belong to is a "blessing" in disguise. If I just cashed all the tithing checks that STILL come in my mailbox all the time instead of returning to sender I'd probably break even. Praise God! err, "Jehovah" I believe it was...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
Brent, unless the previous owners feel some remorse and decide to cut you a check, I think you're out of luck.

It's difficult enough to go back after sellers when a proven undisclosed defect is covered - say, fire damage hidden behind drywall - you're dealing with a situation that you could have uncovered before you purchased the home, and you can't really prove that the sellers knew the heater was broken and knew about the leak when they sold you the home.

By the way, Brent, just because the air-conditioning unit in a home is out of order doesn't mean that it's not an air-conditioned building. I'm with Solano on this; had the pool been empty at the time, we would still call it a pool. If it is equipped with a heater, functioning or not, it is still a heated pool.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
How is that NOT a lie to advertise a HEATED pool when the heater FOR the pool is broken and not even hooked up to the pool? Wouldn't that make it a NON-HEATED pool? Where's your logic?????? Did you ever take any ethics courses in college? This doesn't seem shady to you in any way?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
It is not a lie to say there's a heated pool if there is a pool with a heater. It IS a lie to make blatantly false statements on a disclosure document. In California we have a Transfer Disclosure Statement that the seller gives the buyer to tell them everything they know about the house. There must be a similar document where you live.

My advice is to bring your disclosure docs to a real estate attorney and have a consultation. If he/she can prove the seller lied on these documents in court, you'll be in great shape.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
I'll most likely go talk to an attorney and see if there's anything that can be done. Since this was my first house there are a LOT of things I unfortunately know NOW that I wish I knew when I was looking at the house. Something tells me I will most likely lose out on this. Maybe I should just build a large trebuchet and launch the pool heater through the previous owner's new living room.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
I have combed through the disclosure statement, they played the stupid card, i.e., "everything works to the best of our knowledge".

HOWEVER, someone from the pool store piped up earlier this summer (when we were opening the pool) about how that heater was broken when the last owners bought the house, apparently the pool was not winterized properly and the ice expanded and cracked the manifold in the heater. The pool store said they tried to have the manifold welded but that didn't work. Supposedly, according to the pool store the last owners negotiated this into the purchase of the house when they bought it and never got it fixed.

At the time we looked at the house, the heater was not hooked up, therefore, the house inspector did not inspect it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 12, 2010
Were you provided with disclosure statements by the seller?. Out here in California, sellers provide Seller Disclosure Statements about the knowledge they have about the condition of the house. Check with your agent to see what the laws are in your state. Always review your contract for language about inspections and duties of the parties. When all else fails, contact a local real estate attorney and ask if they do a free half hour consultation by phone or in person! Best, Terry Bell, Realtor, Santa Rosa, CA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 11, 2010
I understand your pain but did you have the pool inspected during your inspection contingency period? and did your agent recommend an inspection for the pool?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 11, 2010
This is an old discussion, but I'll chime in. Brent may have had the entire home inspected, per your (and any other agent's) recommendation... the problem with Clovis, NM is corruption at every step in the process. The home inspector knows the sellers who know the realtor who is (literally in my case) married to the bank manager. The "VA inspector", traditionally MUCH more anal than Joe-Schmoe home inspector is often the same person. Not that you'd know it, because you as the purchaser are not required to be present when the VA inspector makes his/her rounds. Legal action is often out of the question if you feel you've been bamboozled, as you'd have to pay a NM attorney 6+ hours' worth of time just to commute from ABQ... or (ha!) trust a local attorney.

Just got done with $24,000 worth of roof repairs to a Clovis home that had leaked like a sieve for the previous owners, who did NOT disclose that, NOR did the home inspector find the slightest thing wrong with the roof.
Flag Thu May 8, 2014
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