Technically, sellers are supposed to disclose any defects or issues with a home before they sell it. This doesn’t mean they have to know everything about the condition of their home, but they have to tell the new buyers about anything that they do know.
Unfortunately, some sellers decide not to disclose problems because they want to make sure the sale goes through. Some will even work hard to hide those issues. Here are a few ways they do it.
A new coat of paint
In some cases, sellers will simply paint the house to try to hide the issues that are otherwise obvious. Maybe there’s water damage on the ceiling or cracks from a shifting foundation on the walls. A coat of paint may cover that up long enough for the sale to go through.
Putting on a new roof
Similarly, sellers who are having trouble with the roof may just decide to have it redone before the sale. This can be beneficial, as it may actually fix the problems and give the buyer what they really expect. But there’s also a chance that a new roof means there were a lot of interior problems – such as rot or mold – that have not been addressed.
Covering up the problems
Finally, sellers will do all sorts of things to cover up issues within the home. They could put down new carpet, for instance. They could hang a picture over a crack or even a hole in the wall. They could restain the deck or caulk around the windows. Again, some of these types of updates can be nice if they’re actually making repairs, but they’re problematic if the seller is just hiding issues.
If you find yourself involved in a dispute over lack of disclosure, make sure you know what legal options you have.