Can I file a small courts claim for fees incurred from purchasing a house that was not sell-able?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I file a small courts claim for fees incurred from purchasing a house that was not sell-able?

We entered a contract to purchase a house 2 months ago. We had the bank appraisal, inspection and a separate hud inspection done and were ready to close. However, 1 week before closing, power of attorney was contested and the court ruled that the house could not be sold. Is it possible to get our $1600 back on this house that couldn’t be sold? I saw that the small courts claim guide has this statement,

Asked on November 20, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Maine


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

This is not a claim regarding "title" to real estate--i.e. to determine who owns it or has a right to it; it is a straightforward claim for compensation, and that is within the small claim's court's compensation.
But as a general matter, you can only sue a person who was at fault. So say that the seller did nothing wrong and someone else brought a successful challenge to a POA that seemed valid on its face: in that case, you could likely not recover money, since there was not fault and so no liability. Only if you can show at least negligence (unreasonable carelessness) on someone's part could you potentially sue them for compensation.

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