Rotted framing a home-purchase red flag

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Dear Barry, Before we bought our home, our home inspector found rotted floor framing under the house. But the sellers refused to pay for repairs. Our contractor estimated $4,000 to do the work. This seemed acceptable, so we bought the house. After moving in, the repair work was begun. But when the contractor removed some siding, he discovered two adjacent foundation walls, one original and one added. Wet soil between these two walls had caused major framing damage that had not been visible until then. Now the repair bid is $24,000. We called the sellers, but they denied any knowledge or responsibility for this mess. If we had known about this, we wouldn't have bought the house. What can we do? --Alice Dear Alice, Your situation fits an all-too-common pattern: A major building defect is undisclosed because the sellers, for one reason or another, were unaware of it. If the home inspector had found the problem, the purchase contract could have been renegotiated, with the sellers either ad...