Where a homebuyer’s inspection of a property put them on notice that there were potential water issues in the garage before closing, the buyer could not later sustain a claim for fraud.
In Fulmer v. Follis, No. W2017-02469-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Dec. 20, 2018), plaintiffs had previously purchased a home from defendants. On their disclosure forms, defendants had stated that they knew of no drainage issues, and that heavy rain had caused water to come into the garage one time, but that the issue had been repaired. While under contract but before closing, plaintiffs had a home inspection done, which noted “possible rainwater intrusion at the east wall in the garage,” grading issues that might cause drainage problems outside the garage, and a 1×8 board that had been installed for “some unknown reason” on the base of the east garage wall. After the inspection, plaintiffs and defendants continued to communicate through their realtors, with defendants sending pictures after a rain to show that no water had come into the garage, and plaintiffs asking about seeing behind the board. Defendants told plaintiffs that the board was intended to cover an area where they “did not like how the drywall and the garage floor came together” and was “purely cosmetic.” Plaintiffs ultimately did not do any further inspection and closed on the property, but did negotiate for defendants to pay $1,500 more in closing costs “due to the possible rainwater intrusion and grading issue.”