You’re settling into your new home, and everything is seemingly perfect—until it’s discovered that there’s something wrong with the house that wasn’t disclosed during the sale. This could be anything from foundation issues to unrepaired damage from a storm.
If you bought a home where the seller didn’t disclose a problem, there are several options available to you:
Review the seller disclosures
Even if you were observant in your home walkthrough and had the home inspected, sometimes things get missed. This isn’t a common occurrence, but it can happen!
Your first step is to review all disclosures to double-check whether the problem was listed. If not, it’s up to you to prove that the seller knew about the issue and that it was present before you finalized the purchase. Review these with your real estate agent. They’ll be able to help you with the following steps—especially if you were given a guarantee from the seller or inspector.
Know your local laws before acting
Your course of action depends on where you’re located. In Missouri, sellers must disclose certain things, like if the property is/was used as a site for methamphetamine production, as well as federal laws about lead-based paint and hazards.
When it comes to deaths and “psychological impacts” on the property, a seller isn’t required to disclose them in the state of Missouri, unless asked.
Request that repairs be made
Write a letter to the seller and the seller’s agent outlining the problem(s), and why you believe they are responsible for the non-disclosure. Most of the time, they’re willing to work with you to resolve the issue. But you can sue for misrepresentation in court if an agreement cannot be reached. If the ruling is in your favor, the seller could be responsible for the following:
- Repairing the defect
- Paying for your legal fees
- Punitive damages in the case of fraud
When purchasing a home, always do your due diligence and research the house to make an informed purchase. Never be afraid to ask questions and work closely with your agent at Merchant of Homes to make sure nothing is missed for a smooth buying experience.