Skip to main content

Dealing with a Legal Challenge? Don't wait. Ask your legal question for free. Urgent legal matters require immediate attention!

How to deal with undisclosed foundation issues discovered after purchasing a home in Seattle, Washington?

This legal question related to Real estate attorneys in SeattleWashington has been answered.

Advertisements
Location: Seattle  |  Law type: Real estate attorneys
Solved

I recently bought a house in Seattle, Washington, and after moving in, I've discovered significant foundation issues that were not disclosed during the home buying process. There are noticeable cracks in the foundation and the inspection reports provided by the seller made no mention of such defects. Repairing the foundation could cost upwards of $50,000.

What does the law require?

In Washington State, sellers are required by law to disclose any known material defects of the property. Failure to disclose such defects can be considered fraudulent misrepresentation, especially if the seller or their agent deliberately withheld information that could affect the property's value or the buyer's decision.

What actions have I taken?

  • I’ve had a professional foundation inspection conducted, which confirmed serious structural issues.
  • I have gathered all the documentation from the sale and previous inspection reports.
  • I have contacted the seller to discuss the matter, but they have denied knowledge of the issue.

What are my legal options?

1. Seek legal counsel to discuss potential misrepresentation or fraud. - This could potentially lead to a lawsuit for damages. 2. Reach out to the real estate agent’s regulatory body for potential professional misconduct. - They may have liability if they were aware of the issues and did not disclose them. 3. Consider mediation to resolve the issue with the seller. - This could be a less adversarial and costly option compared to court proceedings.

Can you please advise on the following?

1. What are the specific steps to take legal action against the seller for non-disclosure? 2. How does Washington State law protect buyers in cases of non-disclosure? 3. What evidence would I need to prove that the seller knew about the foundation issues? 4. What are the chances of recovering the repair costs through legal action? 5. Should I also consider taking action against the inspector or the real estate agent? 6. Is there a statute of limitations on taking legal action for undisclosed defects in Washington?

Commonly posted questions...

Deed
3 months 1 week ago, Real estate attorneys, Alabama

Legal Solution

The response provided below is specific to Real estate attorneys in the jurisdiction of Seattle. If the response is inadequate, please submit a detailed inquiry.

Legal Steps for Addressing Undisclosed Foundation Issues

Relevant Washington State Laws

To address undisclosed foundation issues after purchasing a home, you need to be aware of the following Washington State laws and regulations:

  • RCW 64.06.020: This statute requires sellers to complete a seller disclosure statement concerning the condition of the property.
  • RCW 18.86.030: Outlines the duties of the real estate broker to all parties in the transaction.
  • RCW 64.34.425: Pertains to the disclosure requirements for the sale of a condominium.
  • RCW 18.235.130: Governs the disciplinary actions against real estate licensees for unprofessional conduct.
  • For further information and additional legal codes, visit the Washington State Legislature's official website: http://leg.wa.gov.

Legal Recourse and Resolution Strategies

If you've discovered undisclosed foundation issues, here are the possible resolution strategies:

  1. Consult with a Real Estate Attorney: A legal professional can guide you through the process of potentially filing a lawsuit for fraudulent misrepresentation.
  2. Professional Licensing Complaints: File a complaint with the Washington State Department of Licensing against the real estate agent if you suspect professional misconduct (https://www.dol.wa.gov).
  3. Mediation: Before initiating litigation, consider mediation as an alternative dispute resolution to engage the seller in rectifying the issue.
  4. Litigation: If mediation fails, your attorney may proceed with a lawsuit seeking damages for the cost of repairs and any other compensatory damages.
  5. Statute of Limitations: In Washington, the statute of limitations for fraudulent concealment is typically three years from the date the fraud was or should have been discovered.

Cost Analysis for Legal and Repair Services in Seattle

Here's an analysis of average costs for legal and repair services in Seattle, along with the comparative national average:

Service Average Cost in Seattle National Average Difference
Real Estate Attorney Fees $350/hr +20%
Structural Engineer Inspection $800 +15%
Foundation Repair $50,000 +25%
Mediation Services $200/hr +10%
Filing a Legal Complaint $400 +5%

Seattle's costs tend to be higher due to the high cost of living and the complex geological conditions that can make foundation repair more extensive.

Case Complexity and Local Resolution Examples

Why These Cases Are Complicated:

  • Hidden Defects: Foundation issues are often not visible without a thorough inspection.
  • Proof of Seller Knowledge: Demonstrating the seller's knowledge of the issue can be challenging.
  • Multiple Parties Involved: Inspectors, real estate agents, and sellers all play roles in disclosure.

Case Study 1: Seller Knew of Defects

Resolution: If it can be proven that the seller was aware of the issues, legal action can be pursued for damages.

Case Study 2: Negligent Inspection

Resolution: If the inspector failed to report obvious defects, they might be liable for negligence.

Case Study 3: Real Estate Agent Misconduct

Resolution: Filing a complaint with the state licensing board if the agent knew of and failed to disclose the defect.

Questions for the User

  • Have you obtained written statements from any neighbors or previous owners regarding the foundation issues?
  • Have you checked with local building authorities for past permits or inspections that may indicate prior knowledge of the issues?
  • Was there any unusual activity by the seller or agent during the sale process that might suggest they were hiding something?

Common Questions from Clients

Q1: How do I prove the seller knew about the foundation issues?

To prove the seller's knowledge, one might gather evidence such as previous repair quotes, emails, or disclosures from past sales attempts.

Q2: Can I sue the home inspector for not finding the foundation issue?

You may have a case if the inspector was negligent in their inspection. It would depend on the specifics of what was overlooked and the inspection agreement.

Q3: What is the statute of limitations for undisclosed defects in Washington?

The statute of limitations is generally three years from the date the buyer discovered or should have discovered the defect.

Q4: Can I recover attorney's fees if I win the case?

In Washington, the prevailing party in a lawsuit may be able to recover attorney's fees if there is a specific contractual or statutory provision allowing it.

Q5: Should I contact the seller before taking legal action?

Yes, initiating contact with the seller is recommended, as they may be willing to negotiate a settlement without going to court. However, consult with your attorney before any communication to ensure your rights are protected.

Disclaimer

This content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.

Written, answered, changed

Legal question "How to deal with undisclosed foundation issues discovered after purchasing a home in Seattle, Washington?" has been changed 7 months 2 weeks ago. Demonstrate your legal skills and willingness to help and answer right now! Issue is related to the location of Seattle & area of law: Real estate attorneys.
Latest reviews & rating
Can't believe there are no comments (answers) yet? You can be the first author. Let us know what you think and answer this question.. Write a comment

Whether you are a buying or selling a house, a flat or own any other type of property (single family house, commercial real estate),  a knowledgeable realtor attorney may help you. Do not use the Seller's Agent, there are many reasons why to hire a real estate lawyer near you. Experienced real estate agents earn high commissions, but they usually have contacts with mortgage loan brokers, inspectors and others who can make your buying process more comfortable and easier. You should hire the best rated and reviewed real estate lawyer, as these agents have a built-in conflict of interest. A real-estate lawyer should protect your legal rights and the best interests in the transaction. Ever!

  1. Property lawyers can protect our rights when we buy or sell property.
  2. Real estate attorneys know very well all of the legal documents that have to be collected and completed on time.
  3. These agents can accelerate the settlement process and save your money.
A wide-angle photo of two neighbors, a Caucasian elderly man and a Hispanic woman in her 30s, standing in a backyard in Phoenix, Arizona, looking at a newly built wooden fence that clearly extends beyond the agreed property line marked by a series of stakes in the ground. They are holding a property deed and a measuring tape, showing the exact measurements of the encroachment. The sun is setting, casting long shadows, highlighting the disputed boundary. The image conveys a serious tone suitable for a legal
A wide-angle photo of two neighbors, a Caucasian elderly man and a Hispanic woman in her 30s, standing in a backyard in Phoenix, Arizona, looking at a newly built wooden fence that clearly extends beyond the agreed property line marked by a series of stakes in the ground. They are holding a property deed and a measuring tape, showing the exact measurements of the encroachment. The sun is setting, casting long shadows, highlighting the disputed boundary. The image conveys a serious tone suitable for a legal ...

Respond to legal question!

Do you know the answer to a legal question that is related to the field of law called Real estate attorneys? If you believe that you can advise the inquirer – in even the slightest way – do not hesitate and share your opinion in the comment section. This contribution concerns the location of Seattle and, therefore, it is important to post only comments that are relevant to this location. Do you have a similar or a different legal inquiry? Select the correct category, fill in all the required fields, and submit your post.
accident & property damage attorneys accountants-certified public administrative & governmental law... admiralty & maritime law attorneys adoption law attorneys adoption services attorneys antitrust law attorneys appellate practice attorneys arbitration & mediation attorneys arbitration services asbestos & chemical law attorneys automobile accident attorneys bankruptcy law attorneys bankruptcy services business litigation attorneys child custody attorneys child support collections civil litigation & trial law attorneys collection agencies collection law attorneys commercial law attorneys construction law attorneys consumer law attorneys contract law attorneys copying & duplicating service corporation & partnership law attorneys credit & debt counseling Criminal defense attorney disability services discrimination & civil rights law... divorce assistance divorce attorneys domestic violence attorneys drug charges attorneys dui & dwi attorneys employment discrimination attorneys family law attorneys federal law attorneys financial services franchise law attorneys general practice attorneys government offices immigration law attorneys insurance attorneys international law attorneys labor & employment law attorneys medical law attorneys medical malpractice attorneys paralegals patent (intellectual property) personal injury law attorneys probate (estate planning) probate law attorneys sex offense attorneys sexual harassment attorneys tax attorneys trademark & copyright law traffic law attorneys trusts & estate planning... wrongful death attorneys
Are you having trouble finding a reliable and highly-rated attorney in your area of residence? Does the endless process of browsing and comparing law firms annoy you? If so, simply skip this step and post your request (or a general legal question) in our Free Legal Advice Center. Then wait for a reply from our experienced legal advisors, consultants or even your chosen lawyers. You can inquire about anything concerning your case, as well as questions about judicial issues in your state.

Comments: answer this question

"How to deal with undisclosed foundation issues discovered after purchasing a home in Seattle, Washington?"

Real estate attorneys Seattle

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
I agree with Terms & Privacy Policy
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2016 explorelawyers.com