A seller is required to disclose any known damage or issues with the property they are selling. But not all sellers are honest and some may even actively try to hide issues in order to avoid a decrease in sales price or the responsibility of fixing the problems. If you find a major issue with the property you are purchasing or have already purchased, you may need to take legal action.
Water damage, fire damage, foundation issues, and other problems can often be covered up or disguised so as to be aesthetically pleasing without actually fixing the problem. With the problem hidden, the new owner is unaware of the problem which then continues to get worse. This can eventually result in further damage, extensive repairs, and thousands of dollars out of the pocket of the buyer.
This damage could have made the difference between the buyer agreeing to the contract they signed, renegotiating, or passing on the property completely. If the seller of the home you purchased has misrepresented the property or taken steps to cover up major damage, you need to take the necessary steps to protect your investment.
It should be noted that there are instances in which even the seller may not be aware of certain damage themselves. Even after living in a home for years, some homeowners may not be aware of specific issues with the property. It can sometimes be difficult to prove (in court) whether they were or were not aware of the damage.
If you think a seller has purposely withheld information about a defect to the property, the first step you should take is to enlist the help of an experienced real estate attorney. They can help you go over all of your options, like contacting the seller or their broker with a request for compensation—or seeking further legal remedy if required.
Veitengruber Law can help you determine what the best strategy is to protect your investment.