Home Defects: Do I Have the Right to Sue and If So, Whom Do I Target?
Home Defects: Do I Have the Right to Sue and If So, Whom Do I Target?

Even with a great Realtor, there is a lot that goes into buying a home. For a newly constructed home, there is little to worry about regarding defects since it remains under warranty. However, for an existing home, the seller has the responsibility of disclosing major defects, otherwise referred to as material defects. A “material defect” is a particular problem associated with a component or system of the home that could have a significant impact on the property’s value or pose a risk to human life.

When conducting a walkthrough, some things are obvious, while others stay hidden until after the sale is final. If you purchased a used home only to discover after closing, meaning the escrow is account closed and money is transferred, that the seller failed to disclose certain defects, you need to speak with a real estate attorney as soon as possible.

For protection when buying a used home, you want to hire the best inspector possible. During the inspection, this expert will focus on irregularities that fall within the “material defect” category. In other words, a burn in the kitchen countertop, a scratch on the hardwood floor, or a window screen with holes does not apply.

To consider the sale legal, typically, the seller must disclose material defects. The challenge is that laws governing home defects vary from state to state. Depending on the state where you live, if you discovered a defect after closing, you may have the right to back out of the deal. Unfortunately, there are times when trying to recover financial loss proves difficult.

Although the seller is often the party held responsible for undisclosed defects, liability could also fall back on your or the seller’s broker or even the home inspector. Because of that, the first step involves determining the responsible party. By hiring a qualified attorney, you would have help with this.

With so many dynamics, there is no single answer as to what you need to do when finding a material defect in a recently purchased home. Because no one wants to take the blame, the process of discovery can be difficult. However, when a material defect gets discovered after buying a home, it is important to make the right person accountable.

The attorney that you hire will review the current laws where you reside; look over all of the facts, including the type of defect discovered and its severity; and go over the inspector’s report to get a better idea as to who needs to pay. If that person refuses to pay, then you need to consider the next course of action.

Regardless of the defect identified, you do not want to waste time reporting it. It is important to find a reputable real estate attorney and schedule a consultation quickly. Through that discussion, you can decide how to proceed, whether that entails taking the responsible person to small claims court or filing a lawsuit in an attempt to recover the monetary loss.

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