Can I still go after the seller years after purchase?

Question Details: The home was purchased about 3 1/2 years ago. We used the standard CAR agreement and both clicked on mediation. During the inspection, an area of rot and wood damage was called out to be repaired and the repair was supposedly done. However, they painted vs replaced/repaired. The pest inspector did come back out and say the work was done but had no way to know that it was actually just painted. We found out about 2 months after purchase and notified seller who wanted nothing to do with it, so we fixed it about a year later. It was close to 20K. We never went after the seller and now we are wondering if it is still possible to get some restitution. Our thinking is small claims. Is it simply too late to try and collect? Can we avoid the mediation and just do small claims instead? We realize small claims is at most 10K and we also realize we should have done this sooner but we had other stuff going on that made this matter lower priority.

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