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legalgems, Arbitrator
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 9910
Experience:  Just Answer consultant at Self employed
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I left my home vacant during its sale & performed all

Customer Question

I left my home vacant during its sale & performed all necessary repairs. After closing remotely, the buyer found the basement flooded (likely from one of the vendors doing the repair). If the buyer did not perform a walkthrough, am I liable?
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Indiana
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: thats all for now
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  legalgems replied 8 months ago.

Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

Expert:  legalgems replied 8 months ago.

Is there proof that the damage occurred prior to the closing?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
i was told that they found the basement flooded after the closing...not sure if there is anything conclusive
Expert:  legalgems replied 8 months ago.

Thank you.
So the burden is on the plaintiff to prove the elements of the claim they are making. So they would need to prove that the flooding happened pre-closing. Of course, the judge is free to interpret the facts as they deem appropriate, deciding which facts to believe and which to discredit. Normally the buyer's agent will do a walk through if the buyer is not available, and the court may decide that in the absence of concrete proof, the buyer assumed any risk in not arranging for a walk through (and then they may pursue their agent for negligence).

If the judge decides the flooding occured pre-closing, then the seller would be liable, as that would be a breach of contract. If a contractor caused the flooding, the seller can seek indemnification from them. If it is pre-closing, that would involve the insurance company.

There is a doctrine - res ipsa loquitor- meaning "the thing speaks for itself". So generally if one cannot determine how/why something happened, the person with exclusive control over the subject matter is deemed responsible. So the decision will come down to who the judge believed had control (ie ownership) of the property at the time of the event. So any evidence one has to prove that the flood occurred post-closing would be very helpful (ie affidavit from movers or other third parties that the basement was not flooded on x date)

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Thank you and take care!

No attorney client relationship is created as this is general legal information, not advice; and a personal attorney should be hired if one wishes specific legal advice for their personal situation.

Expert:  legalgems replied 8 months ago.

Hello again; just checking in to see how things worked out;
if you have further questions please don't hesitate to reach out to me here on Just Answer.