Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania

I bought a home at the end of 2012. First time home buyer and we went through FHA.

There was a home inspection done by previous potential buyers that financially fell through with buying the home. (so they say) So our realtor told us since it was recent, not to get another home inspection. We also got the house appraised (twice) because of some mixup.

In the listing of the home, it states a home warranty is included. Our realtor told us 1 year.

After being in the home a month, we discovered major amounts of ants. We would wake up in the morning and the entire counter in the kitchen would be covered. I then became a neat freak and made sure every night before bed I cleaned EVERYTHING. Then I noticed after not seeing them on the main floor, they were getting into my cats food that was on the second floor spare bedroom. We decided to get insect killer and spray the entire house.

The next few days, we started noticing these ants had wings. They were carpenter ants.

I then realized we had a major problem and went hunting for our home warranty. Which I did not find in any of the HUGE pile of papers we had from closing. In the closing paper it says we paid $399 to first american home buyers protection, which we were not aware of. But this is not the warranty we were told of.

We continuously sprayed and did not notice anymore after the first week.

Last month we got the roof replaced, there was major sagging and damage. Where we discovered the left side of the attic was infested with carpenter ants.

This is not just our only problem.

Since we have moved in, the basement has been wet around the edges. It is unfinished and we were aware MINOR problems from the inspection and seller, that stated only when they get heavy rains.

This occurred every time it rained. Even for days after, I would put a dehumidifier on and would dry a corner, I would turn it off and the damp edges would just come back. Resulting some mold developing.

The driveway needs to be repaved and pitched. We have a patio in the back that is open. The water sits along side this in large puddles and some water seeps under the patio. There is a support beam that holds up the second floor master BR (which is an addition). The beam is completely rotted out. I am not sure if it is from water or if the carpenter ants got to it? Because today I noticed ants running out of it when it was raining.

There were some minor cracks in the master bedroom before we moved in, that were noted as settling. But over time, I am noticing more and more larger cracks in the drywall that are starting to worry me.

My question is, WHAT do we do from here? Should the inspection caught the support beam and carpenter ants? The roof was bad at sale (but wasn't a concern). Did our realtor misinform us? What are our legal rights??


Asked on 8/22/13, 9:25 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Miriam Jacobson Law Offices of Miriam N. Jacobson

Wow! Those are a lot of problems. Did your agreement of sale include a Seller Property Disclosure Statement? Did you have your own inspection? Was there an FHA inspection.? Were you represented by a lawyer? All of those would have helped to avoid some of these issues. The Seller Property Disclosure Statement is required by law, and if the seller misstated facts or didn't disclose facts he knew, that may have been fraud.

Have you made a claim under the warranty? Do at least that. Even if it doesn't cover the issues you describe, not making the claim will definitely not help and will hurt you.

You need to consult a lawyer in your area to review all of your documents and the facts to see what your options are. There are legal time limits to do anything, so you shouldn't let time go by or you could lose any rights you may have.


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Answered on 8/22/13, 1:09 pm

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