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William B. Esq.
William B. Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3007
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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My husband and I just bought a house thats a new construction.

Resolved Question:

My husband and I just bought a house that's a new construction. (It was on the market; we didn't contract for it to be built.) On closing day, we did the final walk-through with the builder and our realtor. The builder had re-sodded the backyard because it had previously be messed up by standing water. He explained to us that he had dug a trench and re-routed the water, but if that didn't work to call him, let him, and he had other things he could try.

Fast forward 10 days to when we moved in. The backyard in that same area was a soggy mess. The trench was an active stream, and has gotten wider. Behind our fence is additional wooded land that is ours. Today, I went back there to see where all the water was coming from. There are two staked-off area where the builder put up sheets and gravel, trying to stop the water. I followed the water upstream...and found a culvert, mostly hidden by moss, disposed-of sod, and large rocks. Dumping water down into our backyard. It was not disclosed to us in any way at all that this was there.

Now, we're in the situation of likely not being able to impede the flow of the water because the city owns this (the only easement we were told of was a sewer easement just behind our property line, which we're fine with). Also, it will cost THOUSANDS of dollars for a drainage specialist to fix this. We've emailed the builder multiple times, but he has not responded.

I know that we have an implied warranty in my state (NC). However, what other options do we have? We NEVER would have bought this house had we been presented, fairly, with all the information. I'm not even able to let my children play in the backyard because it's so wet. This was supposed to be our dream house, and I hate it.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  William B. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

CalAttorney2 :

Dear Customer, thank you for choosing Just Answer. I would like to assist you with your legal question today.

CalAttorney2 :

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).

CalAttorney2 :

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.

CalAttorney2 :

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.

Customer:

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.

Customer:

But we want to avoid a lawsuit, if possible. We just want the builder to fix it.

William B. Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 3007
Experience: I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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