Home Buying in 85254>Question Details

mark, Home Buyer in Tucson, AZ

How can I fight a SPDS report in which the seller didn't disclose foundation issues that were poorly repaired and hidden?

Asked by mark, Tucson, AZ Thu Mar 7, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:


There is a lot of questions here that are currently not answered in order to respond to your question.

1, Did the repairs happen while the current seller owned the property?
2. How do the repair issues currently affect the property today?

The list goes on. The best advice I can give you with the information you have given is to contact your REALTOR(R) that you worked with to purchase the property and discuss the issues with him/her and any resolutions that would be appropriate. They also have their broker as a resource and the broker has additional resources if they do not have an answer at hand. Start with your agent to get your answers as they are closest to the transaction.

Jeff Daley, PhD
Licensed REALTOR(R) State of Arizona
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 7, 2013
The legal side of this isn't pretty, as a "knew or should have known" standard generally applies.

The buyer has the burden of proof to show the seller had actual knowledge that the defect was material, and if repairs were attempted, that the seller knew the repairs were deficient.

Or if there was no actual knowledge, that under the circumstances any reasonable seller would know the defect was material, and if repairs were attempted, that the seller should have known the repairs were deficient.

Since most sellers aren't foundation specialists, and these problems are usually concealed by floor coverings, proving the above can be difficult. Being able to prove actual knowledge is often the key.

I can refer you to a attorney who does real estate litigation if you wish to pursue this further. Let me know.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 5, 2013
where to start with this.......

"foundation issues".............are you referring to the concrete slab .....or are you talking about the stem walls under the slab? Most new home buyers (and you may be the same even though your house is not new) think the cracks in the slab concrete are the end of the world. It's not the end of the world unless their really big and very possibly (unless the previous owners changed or added to the foundation foot print) the seller didn't know either. I know your issue are the repairs on a resale home, but whether or not the overall integrity of the concrete was downgraded due to the repairs will also be an issue. Do the repairs just look bad or did they cause a structual situation which will cause you financial harm to remidy or make structually whole?.

In any case you're going to need to start your process with the professionals below. You may think they were "poorly repaired and hidden" but that's your opinion only

1. an Attorney
2. Structual Engineer versed in concrete issues
3. G.C.

Get set to pay big $$$

By the way why didn't your home inspector notice the problem? If the slab portion in question is new or was altered/poured during the former owners ownership he (inspector) should have checked it out to see if it was up to code or pulled the carpet back and looked.....If the slab was altered/poured prior to the last ownership ..........well you see where I'm going with this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 4, 2013
Some of the foundation issues are difficult to know about until you replace the tile, or carpet. And some individuals buy a home, and they never replace anything, and that is the reason they don't even know about those issues.

Best Regards,

Real Estate Professional / Prestige Realty
Bianca Bennett / 602-570-7898
Website: http://www.InvestInArizonaHomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 25, 2013
That's a tough one! Sometimes it's just a poor tile job where the installer doesn't properly set the tiles which could result in some tiles breaking. They may have had to chisel out the cracked tiles and grout to replace them with newer tiles.

Best of luck! I hope it works out for you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 5, 2013
Thanks everyone for the great feedback. The home has closed and my contractor is going to take physical measurements and photos of the affected area. There was a SPDS report that was clear of any knowledge and nothing on the CLUE report. The former owners don't speak English and their son, who does, claims that there was some tile repair work completed there, but that's all he knows. The homeowners have lived there for 14 years and the tile work still had grout dust surround the affected area. Obviously if we find some significant problems - cracked or raised foundation, plumbing issues, etc. we'll be contacting an attorney. If it is truly just bad tile work, then we will proceed as normal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 7, 2013
Hi Mark,

The question is whether the seller had prior knowledge of any such defects. Proving prior knowledge could be difficult and expensive to litigate. Was the property inspected by a licensed expert? Were there any indications in the structural integrity that were visibly evident during the due diligence period? Check to see if you have a home warranty and/or if your homeowners insurance will cover the repairs.

Hope you are able to resolve this issue quickly and without too much expense.

Best Regards

Cherra Savage
Keller Williams Professional Partners
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 7, 2013
Are you in escrow or has this closed?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 7, 2013
I am a real estate attorney and the designated broker of SimplySOLD. The issue appears to be that the seller may have failed to disclose. Although the SPDS is typically the vehicle for that, the obligation is that the seller disclose in writing any known material defects. So the issue is not the SPDS per se but: did the seller have actual knowledge of the defects (assuming they are material)? Your remedies depend on whether the transaction has closed or not. If closed, typically a demand would be made by way of a letter in the hope that the matter could be resolved cooperatively. If not, mediation, arbitration or litigation is the next step.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 7, 2013
Mark, while the best advice is for you to consult an attorney, I believe what you will be told is about the limitations of the SPDS.
Many of the questions on the SPDS begin with the phrase "Are you aware...". By checking the "no" box on these questions, the seller is not saying that these problems don't exist, but merely that the seller is not aware of them. So, it's not just a matter of whether there are foundational issues, it's a matter of whether the seller knew of them. (Sellers often use this little caveat to avoid answering or researching rthe information on the SPDS.) I assume that your home inspection also did not turn up this information, or you would have been able to cancel the deal during the home inspection period.

Best regards,
Mead Summer
Realtor & Branch Manager
HomeSmart Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 7, 2013
I all depends, if the seller knew about it, you likely have legal standing. Talk to a Real Estate Attorney!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 7, 2013
Over the years, we have progressed to the point where the BUYERs are protected in so many ways, it would surprise our predecessors:
Banks require a BUYER's Agent, so that they are adequately represented.
We have many ADVISORIES in the folder when we sell a house.
If the Buyer declines to get INSPECTIONS; we require them to sign a document that they were advised to do so, and refused.
We strongly recommend that CONTINGENCIES be included in an Offer, for the Buyer's protection.

All these things reinforce the reasons for using a Realtor and Listening to them.

If a Buyer refuses to use a Realtor, or, refuses their recommendations, they are asking for a world of hurt.
Is that what you've run into?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 7, 2013
Hi Mark
You have a legal issue more than likely where consultation with a real estate attorney can help. You can still address it with the parties involved in the sale as well should they consider a remedy and because communication is important. As a Realtor is want to know if it was me however I am not qualified to concretely answer the full scope of this question. The 'how' is through communication and representation.
Best if luck
Laura Myers
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 7, 2013
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