Salvage car was clearly marked on title

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Q: I traded my car in for a used one nine weeks ago. I purchased that car four years ago from a private owner. The car was salvaged, and it was noted that way on the title. The original owner of the car told me that it had been wrecked and rebuilt.

When I traded the car in, the dealer didn’t ask me any questions concerning the history of the car, and I didn’t mention the title history. Now the dealer is coming back saying that the car has a salvage title. He is saying the trade-in value he gave me was too high. Is there any recourse he can take against me? — F.B., via email

A: When you traded your car in nine weeks ago, I assume you gave the dealer the title. If the title was properly done four years ago and marked salvaged as you say, the dealer certainly should have read it.

I don’t believe the dealer has a legitimate claim against you for not disclosing this at the time of sale. In short, the person who did the salvaging did it properly and the title was correctly annotated. I don’t think you have any responsibility.

Q: Recently we were pre-approved for a loan and are looking to spend in the range of $180,000 to $200,000. I want to be sure to minimize our chances of making any mistakes. Can you recommend a good book on buying our first home?

Also, I recall reading that you say every buyer should have an attorney look over everything. Is this still true? — Reader, via email

A: I can recommend a book that’s been around for a while. It’s call “House Smart” and it was written by my late attorney, Nate Rosenhouse, and me. It is certainly dated in many ways, but if you can find it on Amazon or some similar place, it is worth reading.

As you recall, I have said that every buyer should have an attorney — absolutely, positively and without exception. The attorney should look over everything that is being done. This is the best way to make sure of everything that you are signing and to be certain that all adjustments are made appropriately.

It may very well be that you could do this yourself and get away with it, but it only takes one transaction in which you really get your pants taken down to make you decide that it was a bad move not having an attorney.