Home Buying in 20853>Question Details

Fee, Home Buyer in 20853

I purchased a home in Sep with the daughter as the PoA with an "AS IS" clause and "no knowledge of any problems".

Asked by Fee, 20853 Sun Jan 31, 2010

The mother hadn't live in the house over a year. Long story short...basement floods. I've invested nearly 40K in the house and now I can't even use the downstairs. Looking at another 15-20K to alleviate this problem (I hope). The neighbor said she continuously saw 1-2" of water sitting in the basement through the windows. BTW due to the high humidity levels from the sitting water, my freshly renovated paint has lovely bubbles in it and streaks down the walls from condensation. Is there any action I can take to reclaim my steep loses?

Help the community by answering this question:

Answers

11
The basement was unfinished. No walls, no ceilings, just the cinderblock walls and cement floor, so no, nothing to raise any concerns about possible water damage. Ironically, the unfinished basement and the perception that there wasn't any water issues was THE key factor for my submitting a contract on this house. I mentioned this several times to the selling agent, explaining that I would eventually finish the basement to increase the living area of the home.

I was upset with the leaking in the basement, but when all of the paint, window casings, and hardwood floors that I just renovated started having issues from the condensation, this was too much! For anyone living in Rockville that heard my breakdown last week, I apologize :)

Thanks again for the responses!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
Fee:

Regarding your request for real estate attorneys, here are some names. Not recommendations, but ones you might contact:

Arnold Politzer
410/494-8433

James (Beau) Brincefield
703/836-2880
(Virginia lawyer. Not sure if he or members of his firm are licensed in Maryland. Still, give him a call.)

Kunnigunda Biener
301/231-8220
(This is a kind of old phone number for her. If she's not there any more, ask if they have a current phone number.)

Gary Fuller
703/938-6915
(A Virginia attorney with a title company. A number of people I know recommend him. I don't know if he's licensed in Maryland.)

So, there are some possibilities. I've only used one, above. I've met and talked to two others (and was suitably impressed). The fourth one I know only by reputation. So, again, these aren't recommendations, but should serve as a good starting point.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
MVP'08
Contact
Leaks in a basement can be hard for an inspector to identify unless there's visible water stains, mold, etc. Was all of the flooring and drywall recently replaced as well? It's hard to cover-up issues with a basement if 1-2" of water gets in -- that sounds really extreme. If the area was freshly painted, that could be a sign that the owners worked to hide the problem.

Give Village Settlements a call at 301-590-9300. They will be able to give you referrals for an attorney who can help. Not knowing anything else, it sounds like you might have a good case.... assuming you can collect from the sellers.

Also - buying a warranty wouldn't have helped you. These only cover systems, appliances, electrical, plumbing, etc -- not foundation issues, basement leaks, roof leaks and the like.
Web Reference: http://mocorealestate.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
Fee,
If the owner had it painted, even if they did not live there does not mean they did not know about the problem. Here in California disclose disclose disclose. Of course AS-IS is acceptable however they are obligated to make you aware of ANY issues they are aware of so that you can make the best decison on the AS-IS agreement. I don' personally know one an attorney for you, perhaps someone else from you area does but from my interpretation of you situation, if sounds like someone else needs to be funding that bill!!!

I am not a sue happy person but if she purposely decieved you... it is just NOT right!!!

Best of Luck to you!

Kindest Regards,
Dianne Hicks
Web Reference: http://www.di4homes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
It was a regular sale, not short, nor foreclosure. I did have an inspection, and they did indicate efflorescence on the walls and noted a dehumidifier in the basement. The basement was recently painted with a typical wall sealant and therefore no signs of water were present at the time of sale/inspection. I did not buy a warranty because I knew going into the sale that i would be renovating a good deal of the house to update it and purchasing new appliances. Hindsight! Can anyone recommend a good real estate attorney serving the Bethesda/Rockville, MD area? My searches only seem to yield bankruptcy attorneys. Many thanks for answers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
Your lesson is one that hopefully other buyers will take notice of. An inspection as part of the Sales Contract is always a good idea. The cost is nominal compared to the potential risk. Without additional information it's difficult to assess your potential to successfully mitigate. As realtors we don't give legal advice so if you're looking for that it's also available at a price. Thanks for sharing your story for other buyers to learn from.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
If the owner knew about the problem and didn't disclose, then this would be the basis for a lawsuit. Even if a home is sold "as-is", the owner is required to disclose all known, latent defects in Maryland. You will need to prove that the owner knew the basement flooded.

Good luck.
Web Reference: http://mocorealestate.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
One more thing, did you not get a home warranty?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
Was this a bank owned, short sale or standard? If it was a short sale or standard the owner was obligated to inform you of any issues. Bank owned, they did not live there and honestly sounds like from your description it should have been noticed by the home inspector. Even if a property is AS IS, you SHOULD ALWAYS have a home inspection. That is your responsibilty to due your own due diligence in regards to a home inspection.

Without more detail it is hard to know exactly where stand. As Anna said, perhaps a lawyer with a real estate specialty to find out all the details and give you the best sound advise.

Kindest Regards,
Dianne Hicks
Web Reference: http://www.di4homes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
Consult with a lawyer.

The question would be whether you could prove that the daughter wasn't telling the truth when she indicated "no knowledge of any problems." She might well argue that she didn't know of any problems and that the flooding began after her mother moved out.

Even with the "as is" clause, you should have had a home inspection with a home inspection contingency. That way, you would have had an "out" if the inspection had uncovered the flooding problem. Did you have a home inspection? If you did, and if the inspector should have caught the problem (visible evidence of flooding), then you may have recourse against the home inspector.

If the listing agent was aware of the problem, it should have been disclosed. But the challenge may be in establishing that the listing agent was aware of the problem.

So, get a lawyer.

Meanwhile, though it might cost that much to fix the problem, it could cost much less. So get a number of quotes, and explore exactly what solutions the different folks are proposing.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
MVP'08
Contact
Why not contact an attorney specializing in real estate--he/she will be your best source of advice--keep in mind most professionals do offer a free consultation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 31, 2010
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer