Challenges with Home Purchase: Concealed Structural Issues and Recourse Options

In January of this year, we closed on a home after conducting a thorough inspection and spending several hours meticulously examining the property. The house had undergone remodeling, including the installation of new base cabinets and a tile wall in the kitchen, as well as new luxury vinyl plank flooring throughout. Despite our efforts, we discovered several issues that were not noted in the inspection report, such as the absence of shoe molding throughout the home, a hairline crack in a bedroom wall, pieced-together baseboards in certain areas, and dented and dinged front gutters. Additionally, we observed that the inside of the washing machine had turned orange, likely due to high iron content in the water, which is common in the area. 


We paid close attention to the floors for any signs of unevenness and thoroughly inspected the floor joists and subfloor in the walk-in basement, finding no weaknesses or damage. We were aware of cosmetic issues that we would need to address ourselves and had a water company test the water, revealing the need for a $5,000 water filtration system and softener. 


However, in March, we began noticing a foul odor in the house when showering or doing laundry. It was discovered that the septic vent pipe flange was protruding through the kitchen wall, preventing the installation of a corner base cabinet. A plumber found that the flange had been improperly cut and covered with electrical tape, causing septic gas to leak into the house. The issue was rectified by the plumber. 


In April, a strong smell near the back door led us to investigate further. Upon removing the base cabinet and flooring, we discovered that the subfloor was rotting. The previous owners had marked the affected areas with a marker, cut out a section of subfloor to examine the ledger boards, replaced it with a new piece of plywood (which was uneven), and patched the gap with a piece of the flooring box before laying down new flooring. We are now facing a costly $4,000 repair job to replace the double ledger boards, insulation, sheetrock, and add flashing to the exterior under the siding. 


These hidden issues were not evident during our inspections or due diligence before closing. We are now considering our options for recourse. Should we pursue legal action against the individual the realtor hired to do the work? Should we hold the realtor accountable, who may have been aware of the issues and allowed the previous owners to cover them up? Or should we consider legal action against all parties involved - the contractor, the realtor, and the previous owners

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