Is this fraud? Should I hire a lawyer?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is this fraud? Should I hire a lawyer?

We bought a house 6 months ago. The real estate agent told us that all was good with the home after an inspection was done. We agreed on some terms and conditions and signed the contract. Now 6 months later we are still to receive the house papers including the inspection report. We realize after we got the home that there are a lot of things that need to be fixed in the home that he neglected to tell us. We have been asking for that report and he ignores our calls/texts or makes an appointment to meet with us and does not show up. We talked with his boss and they are moving slowly too. They keep telling us he is taking care of it and he has not. He basically made the sale and now he doesn’t

care about anything else. He is now rude and avoidant.

Asked on November 3, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Utah


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller 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.
Damages (monetary compensation in a lawsuit for fraud against the seller) 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 purchased regardless of the fact that the 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 the actual value of the property acquired.
Depending on the contents of the inspection report, you may have a case for negligence  against the home inspector.  Negligence is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable home inspector would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).  Your damages for negligence would include what was foreseeably caused by the negligence such as costs incurred for repairs of items omitted from the inspector's report.
You would file one lawsuit naming both the seller and home inspector as defendants. Fraud and negligence are separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit.
You should retain an attorney.

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 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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