Buying a house can be tough, especially when multiple people are interested in the same property you are. That’s why it’s important to make a competitive offer, and for many buyers, waiving their right to a home inspection contingency or offering to buy a home sight unseen is a great way to make the offer stand out. But doing so comes at a risk. You’re trusting the seller and the seller’s real estate agent to disclose any issues and defects with the home. Though most sellers are honest, some aren’t. Here’s what your California real estate litigation attorney wants you to know about what happens when a seller doesn’t disclose those known issues.
Disclosures Are Required by Law
One of the most important things you need to know is that California law requires sellers to disclose any known defects or problems with the property including issues with the fixtures and appliances. If there are known environmental hazards like excessive radon that hasn’t been dealt with or asbestos in the home, they’re required to let you know as a condition of the sale.
Most sellers provide this information once an offer is received, giving the buyer a chance to back out of the purchase long before the sale goes to closing. If sellers don’t disclose those known defects, you may be able to sue them for damages.
What to Do If You Suspect That the Seller Knew About the Issues
If you think there’s a chance that the seller knew about underlying issues with the property and its components, the best thing you can do is consult with a California real estate litigation attorney immediately. They’ll be able to guide you through the process and help you decide if you can pursue a claim against the seller and their real estate agent.
The Types of Damages You Can Request
If you and your attorney decide that filing a claim against the seller is in your best interest, you’ll be able to file for several types of damages. The type of damages you’ll ask for will depend on the type of resolution you’re seeking. These include the following:
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages are designed to punish the seller and their real estate agent for failure to disclose any known defects. These damages can help discourage the seller from repeating their behavior in the future.
- Compensatory damages: Compensatory damages require the seller to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred to repair the damage. You’ll want to keep track of any and all expenses you paid to fix the home up. The court can use this information to ensure that you receive a fair settlement.
- Recission: If the situation is severe enough, you may be able to ask the seller to take the home back and refund your money in full. This particular resolution is rare since it inconveniences you and the seller. Furthermore, it can be more difficult to win than compensatory or punitive damages.
Speak With a California Real Estate Litigation Attorney
If you think that the former owner of your home didn’t disclose known problems with the home, its appliances, and any other features that impact your enjoyment of the property, don’t wait. Speak with a California real estate litigation attorney as soon as possible.
At Jackman Law Firm, we understand that buying a home with known defects is both costly and stressful. Let our team help you find an appropriate resolution. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.