• What Happens If The House Falls Apart After You Purchase It? Who Is Responsible? Read On To Find Out Who Is Held Liable For Defects After-The-Fact

    When you buy a new home, sometimes problems with it aren’t detected until weeks, months, or years after. It can leave a buyer wondering whether or not they have to deal with it on their own financially, or not. After all, it doesn’t feel like its their fault. There may be cases where you can ask the seller to step in; for example, if they didn’t disclose something. In other cases, it may be that you are responsible as the issue is something that you should have asked about and didn’t. Usually, these situations can be settled without ever needing to reach a judge.

    Certain problems with a home are obvious. Others aren’t so obvious, to the naked eye. This is why inspections are so important. Perhaps the issue was noted in the inspection,  but you didn’t bother to ask exactly what that problem was. You might have thought it was something minor, because you didn’t quite know the meaning of the term that the inspector wrote down. When you review an inspection report, it is imperative that you actually review it. Every word of it. Of course, you probably knew at the time of purchase that the house wasn’t in perfect condition. So, who is held liable after-the-fact? Well, the persons responsible in this type of situation are either:

    The seller. The seller isn’t usually required to look into problems. But if there’s clearly a place where the seller should have stated a problem but denied it, your job is to try to figure out whether the seller in fact knew about the problem.

    The seller’s real estate agent. Some states’ laws make sellers’ agents liable for failing to disclose problems they observed or were told of by the sellers; though often their duties are fairly limited.

    Your inspector. The inspector should have spotted problems that the seller wasn’t even aware of. If the inspector missed problems that an expert should have noticed, the inspector may be liable. Read over your inspection report to see what it said about the area in question.

    Do you even have a case, at all?

    Once you’ve figured out the possible responsible parties, you’ll want to know whether their action entitles you to compensation. If your situation meets the criteria below, you may have a case.

    •The defect was there before you bought the home. Problems that started since you bought or are a natural result of your home’s aging or your lapses in maintenance are yours to deal with. Of course, determining when a problem started can get complicated. You may need a professional’s analysis. But the problem could have started before you bought the house.

    •It’s not an obvious defect that you could have seen yourself before buying.

    •No one told you about the defect before the sale, or someone actually lied to you about it. The responsible party may have been the seller, the seller’s agent, or the inspector, as explained above.

    •You relied on the lies or nondisclosures.

    •You’ve incurred monetary damage as a result. Your costs of repairs or related damages.

    Sometimes, your insurance company may cover the damage. In which case, there may be no need to take action on your own. Call your insurance company and see what they can do. For further reading, see: Home Defects Discovered After the Sale; and, Are the Sellers of a House Liable for Repairs After the Closing?

    Categories: My Blog

    2 thoughts on “What Happens If The House Falls Apart After You Purchase It? Who Is Responsible? Read On To Find Out Who Is Held Liable For Defects After-The-Fact

    • Samantha says:

      As a seller, I wonder..wouldn’t the inspector catch all of these issues?

    • Linda Evans says:

      The short answer here is, no. Inspectors do not get into the nitty gritty of the home. They definitely check out the house for safety, and that everything is working. However, homes can have issues that do not come about until later, but have been there for a while. You should find out all of the things you can about your house to make sure it is okay.

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