Wall O' text incoming!
Posted this to r/legaladvice but I figured some of you fine people might have some experience worth sharing.
TL;DR Sellers knew about water damage and hid it under new floor. Post-close demolition revealed manufacture dates on a bunch of materials that allow us to construct a timeline of what happened. What can we sue for in terms of damages?
We bought and closed about a month ago. On the seller's disclosures section of the standard CAR purchase agreement that we used, the sellers wrote that they did not make any changes to the property and had no knowledge of any water intrusion problems. The sellers had owned the property since 2000.
Since close, we have been renovating and have discovered evidence that the sellers clearly lied about not making and alterations and likely lied about water intrusion problems. The evidence we have is as follows:
When we inspected the house before, the master bedroom had a dark laminate floor that was in pretty good condition. When we took up that floor, we discovered that there were manufacture dates on the back of the laminate. The laminate was manufactured in 2010.
Directly beneath that dark laminate there was a moisture barrier (evidence that they knew of a water problem).
Under the moisture barrier there was an engineered wood floor that had been glued directly to the concrete subfloor. The engineered wood floor also had manufacture dates; it was manufactured in 2005.
The engineered wood floor was water damaged all over and had subterranean termites. Moreover, there was a 2' x 5' section of the engineered wood floor that had been cut up and replaced with particle board that had been manufactured in 2011.
The concrete subfloor has a filled in drain in the corner and expansion joints that perfectly continue the expansion joints pattern on the patio directly outside the master bedroom. Self-leveling concrete had been poured over the drain, which was the lowest part of the original concrete subfloor.
From the above we conclude that the seller enclosed in an exterior patio and put down the engineered wood floor in 2005/2006. Because they didn't seal the concrete, there was water intrusion through the pores in the concrete that destroyed the original floor and in 2011, they replaced the worst parts with particle board, put down the vapor barrier, and then put down the laminate floor that was visible upon inspection and thought the sale process.
The questions I have are as follows:
1) Is this evidence as strong as I think it is?
2) If so, what damages do I have a strong case to ask for? FWIW, I have the following in mind (decreasing level of confidence):
Termite inspection and treatment
Concrete sealant, self-leveling cement, and vapor barrier to seal and then level the existing floor and prevent water intrusion into new floor
My labor to apply sealant and cement (couldn't get someone else to do it because I have to move in by end of month and no one has availability)
Adjusted price on the house. Given that it is the bay area, we were in a 3 way bid war, but one would assume that had the sellers disclosed the extent of this problem that there would be either a) fewer competing bids and/or b) the other bids would have been revised downwards because of the known, untreated water problem.
Are any of these valid? Any that I am missing?
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