Dear Customer, thank you for choosing Just Answer. I would like to assist you with your legal question today.
The situation you describe is one of misrepresentation (either intentional - fraud - or unintentional - meaning the builder should have reasonably known about the condition). The fact that the condition was covered over during your walk through leads to a reasonable conclusion that there was an active effort to conceal this matter at the time of your purchase. I cannot evaluate the strength of your evidence through this website, but I can provide you with the elements necessary to prove a case for fraud (and the associated punitive damages).
To prove fraud, you must show the following (1) the defendant made a false statement (or concealed a material fact); (2) intending the plaintiff to rely on it; (3) the plaintiff relies on the statement or concealment; and (4) the defendant suffers damages.
I am sorry to learn of this damage to your home, and the significant cost to repair what should have been a turn-key residence. Unfortunately, unless the builder will make this matter right, you will have to go to some form of dispute resolution. I can offer that you try mediation through something like the Better Business Bureau, or a private mediator with both the realtor and the contractor prior to filing a lawsuit.
We're really hoping our realtor will help us. He's also a builder, so we're wondering why none of this raised red flags for him...or even if he knew about it.
But we want to avoid a lawsuit, if possible. We just want the builder to fix it.
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