Veronica Dav…, Other/Just Looking in Pittsburgh, PA

The roof collapsed and it was never disclosed on the home disclosure papers.

Asked by Veronica Davis, Pittsburgh, PA Wed Mar 25, 2009

My husband and I moved into our new home last March of 2008. About a month later a neighbor informed us that the roof had collapsed back in 2003 but this information was never on the home discloser. We then started having the roof leak in our dining room and master bath. Before we purchased the home we had asked the previous home owner about the roof and she said that she never had any problems - obviously a lie. Unfortunatly, we did not get a home inspection. Now, we need a new roof - this will probably cost us over $25,000.00. Do we have a case since the previous owner obviously failed to put on the discloser that the roof collapsed 5 years earlier? We are ready to take her to court over this. If we would have known the roof collapsed we would have had a home inspection and either fought to have her lower the price or moved on to the next house.

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Gita Bantwal, Agent, Jamison, PA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
I agree with the others. get an attorney .
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Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Fri Mar 27, 2009

We are sorry about this unfortunate experience. Providing accurate information on a sinerio such as yours is most difficult because of the lack of information. We are certain there is more to this that a real estate attorney would be able to reflect on with complete and accurate information.

Our recommendation is if you feel you were takeen advantage of seek an attorney for their review of the situation and possible recommendations.

Good luck
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Jeff K, Home Buyer, Bristol, PA
Thu Mar 26, 2009
Hi Veronica,

Get a lawyer straight-away. It sounds like you may have a good case.
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Erica Ramus,…, Agent, Pottsville, PA
Wed Mar 25, 2009
You need an attorney. Pull together all your paperwork from the home sale, including your sales agreement and the seller's disclosure, and call a local attorney who specializes in real estate matters.
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Brian Teyssi…, Agent, Pittsburgh, PA
Wed Mar 25, 2009
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Jeffrey Benn…, Agent, Pittsburgh, PA
Wed Mar 25, 2009
You may have a case, but not getting a home inspection weakens it. The home inspector could probably have told you how old the roof was, and whether it needed repair. (Note that I can't give legal advice; consult a real estate attorney for advice on your specific case!)

The Seller Disclosure is very specific. 3a asks the date the roof was installed; 3b asks directly if it was replaced or repaired during their ownership. If they checked "No" to this on the disclosure, and you can prove they repaired it in '03, you would have a strong case.

The trouble would be proving it! Since the roof is leaking again, it obviously wasn't repaired very well. Does the neighbor remember if they hired someone? Usually roofers and other contractors put a sign in the lawn while they're working. Perhaps she remembers who did the work.

It is also possible they did the work themselves (explaining the shoddy workmanship). If they did the repairs themselves, and deny it, perhaps you can get a roofer to inspect it now and testify as to what he thinks happened. (Sound like you need a roofer anyway.)

Be sure to take lots of pictures of the roof before you fix anything, and keep good records. Write down what the neighbor said. Ask if the neighbor is willing to testify in court, since that's what might eventually need to happen.

You might also run a CLUE report to see if they made any claims on their homeowner's insurance. If your insurance rates aren't high, perhaps they never reported it. Good luck!

(And *always* do a home inspection!)
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Loren Green, Other Pro, Buckeye, AZ
Wed Mar 25, 2009
I know hindsight is 20/20, but this is a clasic example of why a home inspection should be done every time.
I recommend getting a CLUE report on the house from your insurance agent. A CLUE report will tell you if any insurance claims have been filed on the house. Perhaps that may lead to a paper trail of the roof colapse. If it was repaired by a contractor then maybe there is some liability there. Unless you can find a paper trail to prove the roof collapsed, you will have to rely on eye witness reports. My guess is that since there is $25,000 worth of damages then the homeowner patched it themselves and there is no paperwork. It sounds like you have a good case, but can you prove it. I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV.

Loren Green
GreensHome Design L.L.C.
Home Design & Home Inspections
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