More Bob Bruss marathon.

Editor’s note: Robert Bruss passed away on Sept. 26, 2007. This was one of the last real estate columns he wrote. Inman News is publishing Bob’s last work as a final salute to the nation’s most well-known real estate writer.

“AS IS” HOME SALE DIDN’T EXCUSE A PROFESSIONAL INSPECTION

Although you bought the house “as is” (which means the seller won’t pay for any repairs), the seller still had a legal duty to disclose all known defects. As a reader of this column, you know you should have obtained a professional inspection, which would have revealed most or all of the problems you encountered.

Your biggest legal difficulty, if you decide to sue the seller, is to prove the seller knew of the defects and failed to disclose them. Also, his listing agent might be liable to you for damages if you can prove the agent knew of the undisclosed defects.

Your second-biggest problem will be serving the summons and complaint on the seller who is now out of state. There are several methods to do this, such as service by publication, but you usually need court approval for that.

Your third-biggest problem is finding an attorney to take your case on a contingency basis. If you hire an attorney on an hourly basis, you could run up thousands of dollars in legal bills with no assurance of winning the case.

Your fourth-biggest problem, if you win a judgment against the out-of-state seller, is collecting that judgment. Frankly, unless your damages are huge and the seller is very rich, I would not recommend a lawsuit because of your downside risk. For details, please consult a local real estate attorney.

COMBO MORTGAGE IN CONDO-COMMERCIAL BUILDING ISN’T EASY

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