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Need Some Legal Advice

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#1 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  



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Posted September 20, 2013 - 02:47 PM

So today I'm at work, phone rings, and its the relator that sold my house for me.  He proceeds to tell me the buyers are going to be filing a lawsuit against me because the house I sold them furnance broke.  They claimed it never work since they bought the house.  Really unsure why they are waiting till now, I guess because it is cold out at night.


So here is the low down.


Furnance worked when I sold the house.


Key facts.


1st fact:  Bought on an RD FHA HUD loan.  Spoke with the guy who appriased and inspected the house from HUD.  I explained the sitiuation to him, and he said I can't legally give you a copy of the report, but no one says I can't read it to you.  He proceeded to read me the section on the furnace.  "Furnace was found to be in working order, allowed to run one full heat cycle"  He also told me he cannot approve a home for sale IF the furnace is not working. 


2nd fact: They declined to have a professional home inspector look at the home prior to purchase.  Buyer is supposed to inspect the home, and responsible for bringing any needed repairs to the attention to the seller to be put into the contract if agreed upon.


So basically, This is how I see it, and how the HUD inspector told me it was.  He said he has been doing this work for 30 years and seen this happen 100s of times.  People find something wrong with the house, and then they expect the seller to fix it.  Basically they are looking for a hand out. 


In your opinion experience am I liable for this repair?  Should I go ahead and obtain a lawyer, or should I just wait and see how this plays out?

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#2 Sawdust OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2013 - 02:58 PM

Sit on it for awhile sounds like your clear to me. They have to prove you were withholding info for you to be in trouble. I would think you could get a copy of the HI report. 

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#3 ckjakline OFFLINE  



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Posted September 20, 2013 - 03:00 PM

That happened to my parents 20 yrs ago but w/a roof instead.Bottom line is it went to court.My parents won the case.The new owners had the house inspected everything checked out good.It was even down pouring while he was there roof was o.k.A couple weeks after papers where signed we had a mild tornado in the area.It was a couple weeks after that they filed the lawsuit.They had the house inspected and it passed.How would you know if the furnace would quit you can't look into the future.I don't think your liable.You'll probably need a lawyer but I would wait and see if they go through with the lawsuit.If they didn't want to be responsible for repairs they shouldn't have bought a house.

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Posted September 20, 2013 - 04:13 PM

Laws are funny in every state and can be different too. I would hope your realtor documented everything. But you may need a lawyer.

My opinion is you would not be liable if they opted not to have an inspection done. But my opinion in Iowa means little in Ohio.

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#5 johndeereelfman OFFLINE  


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Posted September 20, 2013 - 04:30 PM

Did you have a warranty on the house? Most agents will ask you to offer a one year home warranty when listing a house on the market. If this is the case, and you did have the warranty, then the furnace should fall under the warranty fro repairs or replacement, not you as the seller. If you didn't have the warranty offer, and the buyers decided not to have the home inspection, then I don't think you are responsible for repairs or replacement. When we bought out first house thirteen years ago, we had the same instance happen to us, except we were the buyers. We bought the house at the end of July, when the temperature was in the mid 90's. We went through the house three different times, and never once thought to check out the furnace. Who turns on the furnace during Summer? Anyway, we signed all of the paperwork, and sure enough, three months later when the temperature started to drop, we turned on the furnace with no prevail. The burner box was completely rusted out. Obviously, the damage was done before July, and before we bought the house. We tried to prove our point, but we weren't successful. We ended up putting in a new Burnum Boiler Furnace, and if memory serves me correctly, I think the bill was right around $3,800.00 installed. Lesson well learned, and one that cut deep. 


I personally think you'll be alright, but have a Lawyer in your back pocket just in case. Good Luck! 

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#6 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  



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Posted September 20, 2013 - 05:08 PM

I did pay for a warranty for them. But they were stupid and told the warranty people the furnace never worked when they bought the place. Basically the warranty doesn't cover preexisting conditions. but the furnace did work. I know it works and there is documentation from the appraiser that it did in fact work. I spoke with the appraiser and hr told me he was the one who did the appraisal and it worked.

I am a little fired up about it.
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#7 Newpaws493 OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2013 - 05:19 PM

IMO, You've gotta remain cool/ calm throughout. Hot head won't help ya. As was said get as much paper facts as you can together to bolster your position. What can be proven vs. what's being said

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#8 Guest_gravely-power_*

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Posted September 20, 2013 - 05:37 PM

STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a serious situation. Don't enhance it with amateur information. Wait for your attorney. You do have one one 

do you not?

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#9 UncleWillie OFFLINE  


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Posted September 20, 2013 - 06:03 PM

Get an attorney. Now

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#10 MH81 OFFLINE  


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Posted September 20, 2013 - 06:23 PM

I would consider a lawyer as a good idea. I would also cease and desist all contact with anyone but him/her on this subject.
Do not assume your realtor is even on your side. They may have (dunno how, but maybe) exposure here and are trying to spread that exposure around. Do not talk to them except thru your lawyer. Same with anyone who may be called to testify.

Also, that guy may not be able to GIVE you a copy, but he may have to cough one up if its material evidence requested by your lawyer.

Normally, I would say to let them sort it out... You did your part... But anymore, I'm not sure that's a good idea. They may be able to drag you under the bus with the right jury and then you're screwed.

It might be as simple as a fuse or a breaker... But it's their responsibility... Make sure it stays that way with decent representation.
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Posted September 20, 2013 - 06:45 PM

I am suggesting you get the name of a decent attorney but don't call them yet. Then I would get all the info. you can that pertains to the furnace and hold on to it. The other party may be just bluffing you but you don't know. It does not hurt to be prepared. 

 I would just get my ducks all in a row before anything is done, in the end you may not have to do anything.  

Remember is this is a civil matter.


My final words of wisdom is 'Good Luck' in your favor no matter which ever way it should go..




#12 Cat385B OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2013 - 06:57 PM

Refer all further communication to your attorney. Whether you have one or not, tell them that's where they should send it. The buyers are looking for a handout and are trying to play you.


Inform your realtor you plan to file a grievance with your state's regulatory body that governs them, against him. He should of taken care of this without even having to notify you. He has a copy of that inspection. You should of heard about this situation before there was a lawsuit being filed. Unless your realtor is working with the buyers. Who knows. In summary, the buyers are borderline criminally idiotic, your realtor is a borderline criminal, an idiot, or very inept at his job, and with the warranty your responsibility ended at the closing date.


I'm sorry to hear you have to waste time with this. Does your state allow you to counter-sue to recover costs from frivolous lawsuits? Ask your realtor that.


You could PM me your realtor's contact info. I'd be more than happy to waste some of his time. Off the top of my head, I could set up a showing of one his listed properties that is furthest from his office and not show. About once a week until Christmas would be a good start.

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#13 Gtractor OFFLINE  


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Posted September 20, 2013 - 07:51 PM

I second everything cat said but would add:

NEVER EVER EVER bring a lawyer into the mix unless you are backed into a corner and are out of ammo.  Once a lawyer is involved the only one that wins is the lawyer.

I'd give you my opinion of lawyers but I believe you can figure it out. :mad2:

Best of luck to you - I think you will come out OK on the deal.

Edited by Gtractor, September 21, 2013 - 07:55 AM.

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#14 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  



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Posted September 20, 2013 - 08:38 PM

I have a lawyer ive used a few times. He is a good guy. Ill see how it plays out and get in touch with him if I feel I need to.

I know enough now through research and such that I am in the clear on this. I will wait and see what they pull out of their hat. Their claim is "the furnace never worked from the time they bought the house." I can obtain documentation from the appraisal that stayes it did work at the time of the sale.

bad part is I know the house and the furnace. If they would of called me nicely and I would of went over and worked on it for them.
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#15 olcowhand OFFLINE  


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Posted September 20, 2013 - 09:37 PM

I don't think they have a pot to pee in legally.  I'd not let it get to you, but be ready to hire a lawyer if needed.  I'd make spending a dime a last resort at this point.  I once sold a Jeep CJ7 to a guy, and he knew I had done a rebuild title after taking 2 CJ's to build the one he bought from me.  After he got the title, he claimed he had no idea it was a rebuild.  He had seen the 801 Ford Powermaster tractor I had just restored when he came to see the Jeep.  He said he would settle the dispute for my tractor, him keeping the CJ, taking my tractor, but he'd give me an additional $1,000.  I was in shock!  Legal stuff makes me a worried mass of nerves.  I went to HIS county's attorney office. When I said the guy's name, they said tell him to go fly a kite & I'd not hear anything more.  So when he called, I told him exactly what they told me to do.  Never heard a peep from him.  Now he's selling puppy dogs at a flea market.  Hope he has to eat dog food these days!

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