Real Estate: Wisconsin/Water Damagew to my home

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Question
I bought a home in Dec of 2007 in Wisconsin. It  was wintertime and  we had the normal inspection done prior to buying the home.  We found a few items that were not disclosed to us, but we were wiling to fix ourselves as they were cheap and easy fixes. Now I have found water damage in the basement that is pretty extensive. I had a builder look at it and he advised me his opinion was that the prior owners knew about it and were trying to cover it up with new carpet, but that there had been a pipe leaking in the wall, and had been that way for several years given the mold and rot of the wood he found. I am wondering do I have thing I can do about this as I am afraid my insurance company will decline based on it being damage that occurred prior to us buying the home. Does the prior owner have any responsibility and what can I do about this??

Answer
 Sorry to hear about this problem Patrick. We all want to believe that sellers have answered the questions on the condition report honestly. This may have some merit and is best taken to an experienced real estate attorney...not a generalist who may consider a case. The other thing to weigh carefully is your expense in pursuing it as well as the sellers' financial ability to repay you if they are found to be at fault. If the legal action is expensive...or the sellers are not financially able to compensate you...the cost of being right gets expensive.  You should also make sure you have more than one expert to verify the belief that the seller(s) had knowledge of the problem. The attorney may have suggestions for experts who will provide testimony.Best of luck to you !

Real Estate: Wisconsin

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Sally K. & David L. Hanson, ABR, CDPE, e-Pro

Expertise

Residential, investment and commercial real estate. Certified Distressed Property Experts (CDPE) experienced in Short Sales.

Experience

Involved in many phases of real estate since the 80's including investment, remodeling, design, buying, selling, special training in real estate for seniors, relocation and short sale certified.

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National Ass'n of Realtors, Greater Milwaukee Area Realtors, Certified Distressed Property Experts Active Rain (website)

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Active Rain Blog - www.WisconsinRelocation.Net

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ABR - Buyers Agent, e-Pro - Internet proficient, CDPE - Certified Distressed Property Experts

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President's Circle for Sales Achievement Frequent Agents for the month and quarter for sales/listings

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Residential, investment and commercial real estate references available upon request.

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