What to do about undisclosed problems in your new home
With the real estate market in full swing, our office has received a host of calls from clients who recently purchased their dream home only to move in and discover undisclosed problems that never came up in the buying process. When determining whether any civil remedy might be available to a disappointed home buyer, several factors should be considered:
- What problems did the sellers disclose? In North Carolina, there is a standard disclosure form exchanged in most home sales. If the sellers failed to disclose a specific problem listed on this form, buyers may have grounds to bring a civil claim for misrepresentation.
- Did the sellers make any untrue statements? Even if the issues discovered were not required to be listed on the standard disclosure form, did the sellers misrepresent the home’s condition in advertisements or communications between the parties or realtors? False statements of any kind can support a civil claim if these statements were critical to the buyers’ decision to purchase the home.
- What did the home inspector conclude? Most purchases can’t be completed without a home inspection. The inspector’s report contains critical information about the home. If the inspector identified problems with the home, but the buyers decided to close anyway, this usually absolves the sellers of liability. However, if the inspector missed critical issues because the sellers took efforts to conceal problems with the home, claims for misrepresentation or fraud may be available.
Every home closing is unique, with numerous factors to consider before determining what civil claims might be available. Dozier Miller attorney Adam Hocutt has represented buyers, sellers, and realtors in home-buying disputes and always welcomes the opportunity assist new clients.