Legally, sellers are required to tell you about any known defects with the home before you close on the property. You have a right to know what you are buying. They can’t ignore issues or, perhaps worse yet, attempt to cover them up. These issues directly impact the value of the property.
Unfortunately, not all sellers do so. Some of them may try to hide defects in order to get a higher price and let the next homeowner deal with the issue. Here is how they may do it:
- Staging the home or putting up decorations in a way that covers up signs of defects. For instance, if there is a leaky roof and water has discolored one of the walls, they may hang a painting over the spot or slide a couch in front of it.
- Painting over issues without actually fixing them. Again, a fresh coat of paint can make a home look good enough that buyers don’t see water damage — until it rains.
- Setting heavy items over the issues. A seller with a crack in their foundation may move the washer and dryer so they sit on top of the crack, knowing that the buyer is unlikely to move them.
- Leaving clutter in the way. On walk-through, you’re not there to clean the house. The seller could try to hide damage simply by piling belongings in front of it. The home will look messy and not show as well, but they’ll gamble that it will show better than if it had obvious issues.
If you get scammed by someone who lies about the defects in their home, you must know what legal options you have. Real estate disputes can be complex, so the sooner you get your bearings regarding your legal rights, the better.