Imagine that you have received the keys to your new home and have moved. You are on a buyer until you see a leaking roof or a snake infestation (true story). How are you?
Here are some ways to avoid an expensive disaster after closing.
1. Look at the language of the list
Some properties are offered for sale “as is”, but you should clarify if this means that the seller is not necessarily ready to resolve the main security concerns that could result from an inspection that would make this difficult. Selling a house to a buyer, he says. Liane Jameson, a real estate agent in Saint Petersburg, Florida. If a seller can’t pay or doesn’t want to pay for repairs, be ready to continue, she says.
2. Know the requirements of your lender
Many mortgage lenders require that certain security concerns, such as high radon levels, a deteriorated ceiling, or dangerous structural deficiencies, be resolved before making a loan.
3. Check property and seller online
If you find a home that has been recently renovated, check your district’s online records to see if the right building permits have been obtained, says Kris Paolini, a real estate agent in Rockville, Maryland. You want to make sure that major renovations comply with the code.
4. Get a home inspection
When buying a house, including a new one, always ask your own inspector to do a thorough inspection of the house, which usually costs between $400 and $600, says Paolini. Although an inspector cannot see everything, especially if a supplier is deliberately hiding something, you should not skip this step because problems that arise later can cost you dearly.
5. Check the seller’s details.
Laws vary from state to state, but sellers are generally required to disclose “latent defects” – property issues that a standard inspection cannot reasonably discover, says Maryland real estate advisor Robert Moses. Homebuyers should always ask for repair or renovation documents. Also, pay attention to sellers who give up knowing the condition of the house. It’s a red flag, says Moses.
When you move into a house and you have significant issues that haven’t been revealed, you usually have two options: arbitration, which is mandatory or optional depending on the state, or a trial, says Moses. In arbitration, all parties come together to discuss the problem and find a solution. If that doesn’t work, your next step would be to sue the seller and possibly their representative. However, litigation is not a quick fix. Moses can cost thousands of dollars and it can take months to resolve.
Responsibility of the seller
When you sell your home, you have a legal and ethical responsibility to disclose unseen defects before you launch your home. These can be:
- Damaged ceiling, sub-floor, or walls.
- Obsolete electrical or sanitary systems.
- Structural damage due to flooding, fire, wind, soil, or water.
- Defective devices.
- Problems with the main household systems (HVAC, oven, water heater).
- Structural or foundation cracks due to deposits.