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Question DetailsAsked on 5/9/2011

Need recommendations for a real estate attorney

I am new to Angie's List, but am finding it very helpful. Today I notice that part of the entire south side of our basement carpeting was wet due to the rain. I would like to know if anyone has ever had such an experience (finding defects after closing) and what could be done about this?

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5 Answers


I have no recommendation for a Chicago-area attorney, but I do have some experience with house buying and rules regarding disclosure of defects. These do vary from state to state, but certainly the existence of a basement that leaks significantly is something any seller should disclose, and is probably obligated to disclose by law.

However, there are several problems with getting this fixed. First, you must prove the seller knew about the problem. It might stand to reason he did know and the problem didn't begin with the last rain, but you will have to prove he knew. Secondly, you will have to take him to court, with all the headaches and costs involved in that.

I would suggest you get several estimates for fixing the problem, and that's one place the List can be of great help to you. Armed with these estimates, you will have a monetary amount to attach to the issue, which you will need for any future legal proceedings. Also keep a record of when you noticed the problem, what happened, and any expenses you have incurred as a result of it. Take pictures if pictures would be helpful.

Check Illinois state law to find out exactly what the seller is obligated to disclose. Your real estate agent can be of help in this regard. You might also ask around to see if any neighbors are aware of the pre-existing nature of the problem, and if so whether they would be willing to sign an affidavit to that effect if it comes down to it.

Also check with the inspector you hired to check the house out, to see if he has errors and omissions insurance. If he does, and if there is significant evidence of previous water damage in the basement that he should have noticed, then you might have a basis for legal action against him - again, a long, expensive process.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Answered 9 years ago by Commonsense



know EXACTLY what your going thru!!!!!! READ my POST in "AROUND THE HOUSE" category, RE: BASEMENT WATERPROOFING by LUCY...I live in CLEVELAND, OHIO & am trying to find REAL ESTATE ATTORNEY myself & can't find any posts on ANGIES LIST for any. I did contact an attorney that a waterproofer knows ( who just won a case i am told, similar probably to ours), The Waterproofer told him about me/my potential case also..but he has not returned my call yet...I DID find a SITE that you can go on . TYPE in "" & click on "find lawyer". I was told to check out about 3 lawyers, get their opinions & take it from there.

AS i reply, I am on DAY #4 of FULL EXTERIOR EXCAVATION of my house. I'll be posting shortly, on .my experiences to date. HOPE YOU do the same.

Best of luck...Sure nice to know (unfortunately), that someone else is experiencing the same "nightmare"


Answered 9 years ago by lucy


You need to get estimates to fix the problem first, especially if you want to get an attorney to talk to you. Think of it this way, if a company can fix the problem for $2,000 would it be worth it to spend that or more on an attorney? Attorney's know this all to well, so have an estimate on hand first.

Next, if the dollar amount is with-in range for small claims court, that is by far your best way to resolve the issue.

See what your home inspector has to say about it, they may also have some referrals for companies to correct your leak. Do you know where the leak is coming from? is it seeping, is there a crack, is your sump pump working, ect? We have had more rain this August then I can remember.

Answered 9 years ago by RE/MAX Agent


While you are gathering the information that Commonsense suggets, there are a couple of avenues open to you to explore legal help.

First, the attorney who represented you with closing was likely an attorney that focuses in the areas of land title/mortgage/escrow/buying and selling. If he feels you are going to stretch his responsibility beyond what he was looking for/at, it could explain why it is hard to reach him. Doesn't mean he shouldn't have an opinion or be able to offer you suggestions or a referral - - - could merely mean he feels some discomfort with any message he has gotten from you thus far. Also keep in mind that you need to be sure the attorney represented "YOU". Often there is a legal review of documents that you might have funded but that doesn't always mean the attorney represented you.

The Chicago Bar Association (CBA), like many of the bar associations across the nation, has a number of consumer or public help programs that are designed to help the public understand their rights and to help them find the "right" sort of representation if it is warranted.

In CBA, they have two programs that might interest you. The first is a lawyer referral service where you can call or write about the sort of problem you are having and they provide the names of firms in your area (or whatever criteria you have) that could be of help.

One Saturday morning each month (August is the 18th), the CBA holds an ask an attorney program where you can call with a problem or question and they will give you some basic suggestions about your situation. I've found that these Q&A sessions can lead to a referral as well once you have an idea what legal principles are involved and how you might want to procede. Both are free (usually) services.

If you want to know more about the CBA's programs, look or visit for more information about the association in your area.

Answered 9 years ago by Old Grouch


Do you have a one year home warrantee written in your purchase agreement? Mark McCullough at Burhl is very good. Mpls MN

Answered 8 years ago by Mommy2

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