You find your dream home, live through the stress of closing, and get your keys. Then, once you move in, you find a significant problem with your new home. Disco vering a defect that the previous homeowner had to have known about can leave you feeling like a victim. Luckily, you’re very well protected. Here’s what you can do.
What to Do After You’ve Found a Defect
After you’ve found a defect in your home, you are eligible to sue both the previous homeowner and their realtor. Both parties may be legally responsible for disclosing any known issues. However, they must also have the home so thoroughly inspected by professionals before sale that any hidden or potential issues will be revealed. The failure to have the home inspected for future problems could show negligence on the part of the realtor.
What Your Home Inspection Should Reveal
A thorough home inspection will check for:
- Structural weakness,
- Wiring and electrical problems,
- Plumbing issues and pipe leaks,
- Permit or code violations,
- Roof condition,
- Septic tank function (if applicable), and
- Shoddy construction.
If there is a defect from one of these areas, it should have been discovered and disclosed before the sale of your home. Failure to reveal this pertinent information could result in the previous owner paying for any necessary repairs.
If Your Home Defect Isn’t Structural
Homes can have other damage besides structural issues. Often, properties that are classified as “stigmatized properties” include areas that are known as haunted or locations of murders or other traumatic events. Depending on state laws, your realtor and previous homeowner may be legally obligated to reveal this information. However, in 21 states (including Oklahoma), you may be able to take your case to court and have your contract rescinded.
Did You Find a Defect After You Closed on Your House?
If you found a defect after you closed on your house, you may not be responsible for the repair. You could sue the previous owner (and even possibly their real estate agent) to recover the amount of money to fix your home’s issue.
At Pence Law Firm, our experienced real estate attorneys are available to answer your questions and advise you how to proceed. We are happy to give you the information you need to make the best decisions regarding your new home. Give us a call today at (918) 367-8505 or contact us online to discuss your situation.