When a person decides to sell their home, they are obligated to disclose a number of things. Examples include known water damage, fire damage, major foundation issues and the like. Essentially, if the seller knows that there is a problem with the house, they have to tell the buyer to make them aware, even if this drives the price of the house down.
Unfortunately, some sellers do not do this. They may ignore issues, hope no one notices or even try to hide problems. This is a major issue that may require legal action on your part, even after you move into the house.
The problem with water damage
Let’s look at water damage for a moment to see why hiding issues is so problematic. Say there was a leak in the roof. It caused visible damage on the ceiling and a wall. To hide it, the seller just painted over it right before showing the house, hoping that it wouldn’t rain significantly until the house changed hands.
Now, the paint may make the house look good, but it doesn’t solve any real issues with cracked drywall, mold inside the wall, rotting studs and beams, and much more. There could be serious problems behind that paint, which are now just going to get worse without the new owner knowing.
Beyond that, the roof clearly has a leak that has not been fixed. The root problem is still there, and it may cost the seller tens of thousands of dollars to get a new roof. It could be so much that they never would have made an offer, had they known, or they would have offered less to get the roof fixed.
What can you do?
If the seller actively hid issues with your home that will cost you and harm your investment, be sure you know what steps to take to protect your future interests and the investment you’ve made into your property.