Question Details

Karen Christ…, Home Buyer in Salt Lake City, UT

I have bought a used home. It passed a home inspection...2 months later we found the shower plumbing was

Asked by Karen Christiansen, Salt Lake City, UT Thu Oct 25, 2007

leaking into the unfinished basement. How long after you buy a home is the seller responsible for 10.2 clause saying the home will be in working order and functioning. so I have to have them liable?

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Are you saying the leak started recently or do you think it was present before you closed on the house? If it is the latter, the seller should have disclosed any knowledge of the issue. Proving they knew about it would be difficult though, especially because it has been 2 months since settlement and there was a home inspection done before purchase. If the leak just started then it is likely to be only your responsibility. Here in Pennsylvania, unless there is an addendum to the contract that says otherwise, the seller is not responsible for the house after closing. Even still, we suggest you contact the real estate agent you worked with and explain the situation to them. They may be able to work out a solution for you with the listing agent and the seller. The more likely answer will be they will talk to the home inspector and see if there is anything in the report related to that area. We once had a client go back to the inspector when an issue was missed and the inspection company took care of everything.

Good luck with what we hope is a small, easy to fix leak.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2007
I'll tell you what my attorney told me after I closed on a house and started up the burner and it didn't work because the firing gun was broken. "Call a repairman, it's your house."
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2007
It depends on what state you live in, what your contract states, and possibly, whether the seller was aware of this matter and failed to disclose it to you. In Arizona, warranties of the seller generally terminate at close of escrow, unless the seller provided false and /or misleading information regarding the matter, which would be fraud. Repost your question, giving your location, other agents from your state will better be able to answer this question, but they need to know where you are! And they may be able to recommend a good plumber too!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2007
Hi Karen. I have to tell you up front that I am an agent in CA where contracts do not contain that kind of language and I can therefore only take a guess based on more general experience. Typically, resales do not come with warranties unless you purchase a home warranty or the seller purchases it for you, which I believe is always a good idea. Thus, my guess is that your 10.2 clause only says that the house will be in working order on the day the transactions closes.

To me, your situation sounds more like a disclosure issue. Sellers have to disclose all material defects and if you can prove that the seller knew about any leaking plumbing and failed to disclose it, there could be potential liability. Since you say that the house passed an inspection, I have to conclude that the inspector did not note any evidence of water damage or water leaks, which weakens your case. This is of course assuming that the inspector included the unfinished basement in the inspection. It's also possible that the inspector was unable to access areas of the unfinished basement at the time of the inspection, but the inspector would make a notation of that in the report to cover himself as he could be potentially liable for defects he overlooked provided the area where the defect is later discovered was accessible to him during the inspection.

So your main challenge would be to prove that the leak existed prior to the closing of the transaction and that the sellers knew about it but failed to disclose it to you. Only you can decide if you have enough evidence to prove this and whether it's worth the trouble to go after the sellers. I would at the least contact the agent who helped you buy the property and he/she can contact the listing agent and see if a compromised could be worked out. Best of luck.
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2007
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in Newcastle, CA
You mentioned 10.2. I am assuming you are in Utah if so.
10.2 States that when the seller delivers physical possession.
Did the seller close at First American Title? They have as their default policy the eagle policy. This title policy will cover things that were done with out a permit. Other title companies have such policies, but it is what the seller closed with.
Did you get a home warranty?

If you are in UT you may contact me rob at aubrey dot net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2007
Hi Karen,
I'm sorry you're having trouble with your home. It's never fun to buy something and have it break right away.
You could try to work something out with the previous owner outside of court. If that doesn’t work in my state we encourage buyers and sellers to sign an arbitration agreement. If that is not done the recourse is to sue. You would have to convince the judge or arbitrator that the seller knew of the problem before closing and didn't disclose it. If it started leaking after closing for the first time it's your responsibility. Michael
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 25, 2007
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