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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 29977
Experience:  JA Mentor
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I purchased a house in 2011 that was listed as 3 bedrooms. I

Customer Question

I purchased a house in 2011 that was listed as 3 bedrooms. I listed the house for sale this year and was told I could only list as 2 bedrooms since the septic permit was for 2 bedrooms. I took the original listing agent to small claims court and his attorney got the case dismissed as the statute of limitations had just expired. It cost just shy of $7000 to fix my property so it could be listed as 3 BR's. My Buyers Agent paid for half and I was in court to get the Listing Agent to pay the other half. What options do I now have to get him to pay?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

The statute of limitations in North Carolina for breach of contract is unfortunately only 3 years. If you filed a lawsuit and the case was dismissed for being outside the statute, the only thing you could do is appeal. However, there are two problems with that:

  1. I'm not sure exactly when you sued, but the time for appealing is only 30 days.
  2. The only legal basis for appealing would be that you could not have known about the need for a septic permit (or that it was only for 2 bedrooms) at the time of the sale and that you filed within a reasonable time of learning about the problem. That argument would have needed to be raised with the original judge, or you cannot make it on appeal. I don't know if that's something that you did, but it could be an option if it's been less than 30 days and the judge denied that argument. You should be aware, though, that an appeal can take a very long time, and there's no guarantee that you'll ultimately win.

The best option at this point may be to try to list the house for an additional $3,500 to help offset your losses. There just isn't a law that lets you sue someone after the statute of limitations has epired, or a law that would allow suing someone for the same thing a second time after a first case was dismissed.

I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand. Please rate my answer positively to ensure I get credit for the time I spend helping. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. Thank you.

Good luck.