Damages in a Real Estate Defect Case

In a real estate defect case the damages that the plaintiff can typically collect are the costs needed to repair the house. These are usually proven through repair estimates obtained from various contractors.  In some cases a plaintiff can collect what is known as diminished value. Diminished value is the reduced value of the property due to the defects. In other words, it represents how much less a willing buyer would pay for the property, knowing that there are defects.  Sometimes repairs necessitate the removal of paneling and other fixtures inside the house. A home buyer who has been defrauded or misled can recover the costs of remodeling as well as other charges incurred which may include landscaping, painting, etc. If the home owner must take out a loan to repair the defects, interest paid on the loan is also recoverable.

In real estate cases, no money can be recovered for pain and suffering. Plaintiffs may suffer a great deal of inconvenience, aggravation, and stress. Despite this, the law does not usually allow recovery for these losses.  In certain circumstances, the party who files a lawsuit may recover attorney’s fees. This only happens if the case goes to trial and the plaintiff wins on certain selected causes of action. Plaintiffs should not anticipate recovering all of their repair costs and attorneys fees when they get involved in a lawsuit.

Cases usually settle because settling eliminates the risk of losing. When a plaintiff settles his or her case, he or she will often receive less money than would be obtained with a big victory at trial. In a good settlement, the defendant pays more money then he/she thinks they should, and the plaintiff gets less money than he/she believes they are entitled to. Both sides compromise in order to avoid additional expense and the risk of losing. Plaintiffs are often not made whole because they have to pay costs and attorney fees.