Can Home Buyers Sue for Hidden Property Defects?

HomeFinding the perfect home is hard enough as it is, but what really makes buyers worry is the chance of it being a lemon. There are plenty of horror stories of people purchasing their dream home, only to later find mold infestations, massive roof leaks, and other serious issues. Needless to say, fixing these is difficult and can cost thousands of dollars.

It’s no problem if you were aware of the defects beforehand, but in most cases the buyers is caught completely by surprise. You may find out after several months, or it could be in five years; either way, the damage is immense. Do you have a legal recourse in these situations? Miller & Steiert, P.C. explores this topic below.

Before Trying to Sue

While you are understandably upset, Denver real estate attorneys will tell you that rushing to sue isn’t the best choice. There are times when things can be settled out of court, which is both quicker and more affordable for everyone.

Contact the seller, and explain the situation. They may be willing to help with the bill, or cover it entirely. A mediation might also be possible. Of course, if your insurance covers the damage, then even this step might be unnecessary.

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Do You Have a Case?

If an agreement isn’t possible, however, the next step is figuring out your legal alternatives. Remember that not all damage can be sued for; if the defect was very obvious or a natural result of the home’s aging, then you do not have a case. It’s only possible to sue if it is a serious issue that was willfully hidden, or should have been detected but wasn’t, by your inspector.

You also need to realize that liability is a complex thing that can be difficult to prove in some cases. Who was responsible?

  • The seller or their real estate agent for not disclosing known defects beforehand.
  • Your inspector for not finding the issues or not including them in the report.

There is also the decision of what to sue for. Fraud, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract are a few examples. Your lawyer will be able to discuss these matters with you, and give you a clear picture of what you have to work with.

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