When buying a home, you may ask the sellers about any defects the home may have. They don’t have to tell you about every scratch on the baseboards, but they do need to point out any major defects that could be a safety hazard or could be very expensive to fix.
But do they have to disclose everything? That’s a tricky question because they need to tell you about everything that they know about. There is a chance they simply did not know about an issue with the home and suing over a defect that was found after a sale typically means trying to show that they should have known about it — or that they did and they’re lying.
Homeowners do not know everything
All homeowners are different. Some like to fix everything themselves: They take pride in their work and they actively look for defects to repair. Others are more hands-off. They don’t know about home repairs and they honestly can’t identify many small problems. When big ones arise, they hire someone to fix it.
For instance, you may take one look at a roof and see that there are clearly shingles missing. You worry about water damage inside. The homeowner hasn’t thought twice about their roof since they bought the house, and they have no idea the shingles are missing.
This is why home inspections are so important. In theory, a good inspector will find everything that a homeowner should know about, whether or not they actually do.
Pursuing legal action over failure to disclose a home’s defects
If you do think that the seller tried to hide defects or is lying about what they knew, then it may be time to pursue legal action to get proper compensation.