If I was scammed while buying a house, do I have any legal recourse to get my money back?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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If I was scammed while buying a house, do I have any legal recourse to get my money back?

I purchased my first home a few months ago. I had no idea what the process normally looks like and trusted the real estate agent. He directly lied to me regarding several questions that I had about the house. There are extreme problems with the house such as flooding, roof leaking, bad wiring plumbing, rat infestation, and an attic full of black mold. The agent didn’t allow us to look in the attic before the purchase the trap door was screwed shut and furniture was placed under it. He insisted that it was finished off as another bedroom, which only needed new stairs to be used. The attic is not finished as a bedroom. In fact, the walls are all torn out, the insulation was ripped out of most of it, there are birds flying inside through holes, and there is black mold in several places. When we tried to sell the house to a flipper because it is too bad to sell to a regular buyer, he told us that almost nothing here is up to code. The addition at the back of the house was not permitted and will need to be taken down in order to sell the house. The list goes on and on, but that is enough to make my point for now. I spoke to a real estate agent who told me I cannot sell the house in this condition. I cannot afford to fix it any more than I already have. I cannot afford to move. I also can’t stay living here because it is making me very sick. I have no idea what to do next, but feel as though the former home owner and/or real estate agent who sold me the house should be held accountable for the lies. Is there anything that I can do?

Asked on July 24, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Idaho


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller and real estate agent for fraud. Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation or nondisclosure of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity and with the intent to induce your reliance upon which you justifiably relied to your detriment.
In other words, you would not have bought the house had you known its true condition.
Your damages (monetary compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit) for fraud would be either the benefit of the bargain or your out of pocket loss.
Benefit of the bargain means a defrauded purchaser may recover the difference between the real and represented value of the property regardless of the fact that actual loss suffered might have been less.
Out of pocket determination of damages for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and actual value of the property acquired.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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