Need A Second Opinion Please.
Q: Before we closed on the house, we saw minor, hairline cracks on the wall we thought due to settling since the extremely dry condition. Less than a week after we closed, the cracks where severe across walls, door corners also began to split. Now we know the problem is much worse. We felt we had been taken or victim of incompetence by paid professional. I had a consultation with an attorney regarding the whole issue (referred by the Dallas Bar attorneys referral service). Basically she said I would not have a case: 1. The previous owners are not responsible, unless we can prove fraudulence, which according to the attorney is almost impossible to do. 2. The inspector which failed to see the crack or to acknowledge them for their severity is also off the hook because in her experience no inspector was ever sued successfully. 3. The "Buyers" real estate agent, hired by us, to which concerns about the hairlines cracks were repeatedly expressed also is not responsible for not addressing the issue while conducting negotiation.
A: I did not see you state whether you contacted a qualified Civil or Architectural Engineer. By saying "We did everything we were sup- posed to.. You think!" that does not answer this question. :) I have worked in the Civil Engineering field as a draftsman, property investigation researcher, assistant Land Surveror and was trained in soil's analysis and contract management - in one capacity or another for 15 years. Do not get the impression that I am some type of "Engin- eering Assistant God" :-), for I most certainly am not, but I (at least) was fair and honest in my dealings at work. Cracks in the Wall, the Floor Pad, the Driveway Pads, the Stem walls and just about anywhere are all signs that there may be compaction problems with the soil under and around the house. Other indicators are also looking for cracks in and Block Fences around the house or even cracks in the ground on the property. Sure the climate affects the Walls and even concrete. It is not uncommon to have `Spider-Webbing" occur in the concrete or walls that mean nothing is wrong with the structure. Alot of times it is worth the extra money for a Registered Civil Engin- eer to check out the property. Most are honest and will do a visual in- spection and give "a best guess" as to whether it is worth spending the extra money for them to do a full scale survey of the property. I learned never to fully trust a realtor. No offense, but they are sales- men and a salesman job is to sell a product for as much as they can. :) His or her out may be that you failed to ask the right questions, or in the case of my nephew, the seller failed to disclose everything as he should have and my nephew was too anxious to get a house in the area where he was to be working soon. A deadly combination for the Buyer. I understand your frustration, but in most cases it is the buyer that has to beware, for there are many things that can be done legally in selling a house. My first suggestion is to find a Real Estate Attorney, not just any attorney but one who is trained in Real Estate Laws. Was she a Real Estate attorney? I know in Phoenix, these Referral Services are not overly particular in who they refer. Failure to disclose, is against the Law - providing the Previous Owners knew of this. Sometimes this is easy to prove, simply find out what kind of work they had contracted to be done in the past. :) But don't count on it. No, but Counties, Cities and States are know to have been sued for fail- ure to properly do their job. I understand what you are saying here, although it seems a little awkwardly worded. :) I think what is involved here is that you failed to get his or her comments in writing, which concerned the cracks. I think they are right on this one. The responsibility of the Real Estate agent is probably by-passed here in one way or another.
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