Folks willingly engage in clearly high risk behavior and look for others to blame when the consequences surface. Of course you should do the "American Thing" and threaten or start litigation.
It is my opinion the home owner should have the same option selling a home that the banks do when selling their real estate. NO DISCLOSURES WHATSOEVER!!! Why? Attempting a disclosure that may have inadvertent omissions suggest concealment, and in your case may suggest a knowledge of the property that does not exist except in the minds of others. NO DISCLOSURE WHATSOEVER makes it quite clear what the buyer must do. And guess what, hundreds of thousands of buyers across America do that every year. Buyer do your due diligence or hire those who knows how.
The seller should have the option to say, "I KNOW NOTHING and the BUYER should exercise appropriate due diligence...Just like the banks.
No need to speculate what should have been known, what could have been forgotten, and what the neighbors say. Neighbors are the source of the greatest unsubstantiated rumors in any community.
With no disclosures we don't even need to start the subjective conversation about what the third word in your title, 'Everything,' means.
If the information is interesting but not enough to change where you are living...I would let this one go. In the future, please use a Realtor!!
Did you use official California Assn.. of Realtor forms (the answer should be no unless the Seller used a Realtor). Did you use an attorney to close the transaction and insure all the paperwork was complete if no? How many forms and disclosures (on both sides) were not completed and therefore possibly making the entire transaction "voidable" in court?? My professional answer is consult an attorney. My personal answer is unless the items you refer to are considered Health, Structure or Safety AND amount to more than a few thousand dollars AND if you would have known about them you would NOT have bought the property at any price then suck it up, pay the piper and next time don't let greed get ahead of using a professional. Unless of course you are the kind of person who does all the work on your own cars, does your own dental work in the mirroe or takes out your kids appendix with a Dremel tool and duct tape.
There is an old adage in the real estate business. It is obviously still true. "Buyers are liars and Sellers are story tellers". I was told this on day one and it is proven almost daily.
@ Annette Lawrence, RIGHT ON!
Now, you must suffer the punishment:
We try to tell prospective clients how we protect them,
You will have to refer to your CONTRACT; what did you use, the back of an envelope?
There might be a place where you agreed to use Arbitration/Mediation, or not.
In any case, if you do not choose to use Small Claims Court, you will have to pay for an Attorney.
or as Dr, Phil would say: "How's it workin' for you?"
I suggest you contact an RE attorney in WC and sit with him/her for the free 5 min consultation to see if you actually have a case or not.
What did the sellers not disclose on the property? That makes a difference.
>I am learning about my recently purchased home from the neighbors...things the former owners did not mention on the disclosure form. What are my options at this point? I did not use a realtor, but that doesn't excuse the sellers from making proper disclosures.
Are the items mentioned something that should have been seen on a physical inspection? Did you have any inspections? Have you contacted the sellers in re: to your concerns?
Not making excuses for sellers but sometimes they really do forget things....in particular in this market with the stress that many are facing have actually drawn a blank or in their mind if something was known and fixed it is mute subject to them so they do not tract to disclose.
I cannot tell you how many times I went thru seller disclosure where all was checked No only to inquire further and all of the sudden they remembered oh yes I did replace that or we did have a leak...
The number one thing to do is contact the sellers first with your questions and concerns and see if they will dialogue with you and possibly remedy any issues you might have. If you were to go to court , unless your neighbors are willing to testify and even then you most likely will need pictures or documentation of your complaints from a licensed contractor or inspector. If you did not do a physical inspection may need to have one now to document your complaints.
Hopefully you can come to a peaceful resolve.
But how much faith are you putting into the things you hear from neighbors? Are these neighbors truly knowledgeable about the property? Were they in good terms with the sellers?
If you dealt directly with the sellers, why not contact them and ask them first?
What sort of "things" are your hearing about? If they are particularly troubling to you or seriously affect the property, I would call the seller and have a discussion with them sooner rather than later. Depending on their answers, would determine my step. Did they knowingly hide a defect relating to the property? Can you prove it? Did you initial the arbitration clause in the Residential Purchase Agreement? There are a lot of unanswered questions here.
Many years ago, before I became an agent, my husband and I were where you are now and it's not fun. We bought a home from a for sale by owner and it did not end happily....for them.
Please seek the advice of real estate attorney immediately.
Good luck and keep us posted!
You are correct that the seller is required to make certain disclosures whether agents are involved or not, the most notable of which is they must disclose all material facts. Proving that they didn't may be very difficult, and you must also consider that your neighbors are misinformed or have an agenda concerning their former neighbors.
You need to talk with a real estate attorney who specializes in this area of law.
Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
In other words, they must disclose facts and are not obligated to interpret the facts or investigate the causes or remedies of the issues. If you obtained a thorough inspection, they should have picked up on any major problems with the home as well. The hard part is proving that the sellers intentionally failed to disclose a defect they knew about. At this point, the least costly route is to call your inspector and discuss any major problems he failed to identify and how he is willing to handle them. The more costly route is to consult with an attorney. Good Luck.
If the items that the former owners didn't mention required repairs and you have proof the sellers actually knew about them but didn't disclose (see Roland Vinyard's comment below about neighbors comments), then definitely consult a real estate attorney for the best course of action. The real estate attorney may recommend Small Claims Court because the limit has increased to $10,000.