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How real estate non-disclosure claims protect buyers

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2021 | Real Estate Litigation

When buying real estate, it’s important to remember that some people may not be fully honest with you during the process. The ultimate goal of a property owner and their agent is to sell the property. Therefore, you need to exercise caution when any too-good-to-be-true deals come your way.

Sellers must disclose most property faults or issues

When selling real estate, property owners are required to disclose certain information to buyers. They disclose this information through a real estate transfer disclosure statement.

Property owners must complete the form to the best of their ability. Failing to alert buyers about a known issue with the property could result in unplanned repair costs for the buyers and a hefty law suit for the former property owner.

What if the seller claims ignorance?

For example, a property owner could fail to disclose to you during a home tour that the roof leaks above the kitchen. However, there may not be any apparent signs of a leak and it’s possible the property owner might not even be aware of it themselves. If you purchase the home and the kitchen floods as soon as it rains, you might not be able to hold the property owner responsible in this case.

However, in a situation like this one, you should contact local roofing companies and ask if they have visited the property recently. If they inform you that they came to the home a few months before you bought the property to provide a quote on a roof repair, then you may be able to pursue legal action against the seller for failing to disclose a fault they likely knew about.

Surveyors can spot issues ahead of time

One of the best ways to avoid these types of issues is to commission a thorough survey of the property before agreeing to buy it. However, surveyors are only human and they might miss something during their evaluation of the property.

If this happens to you, then you should work with a real estate attorney to determine whether the seller knew about the issue with the property and if they are guilty of non-disclosure. By providing evidence that the seller purposefully omitted information, you may be able to recover compensation for the cost of any repairs.