Why You May Find It Difficult To Hold A Property Seller Liable For Damages Discovered After The Sale
If you buy a house and discover defects that you didn't know about, you would expect the seller to come to your rescue and fix the issue. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case; here are some situations in which the seller may not be responsible for such defects:
There Is a No-Repair Contingency
A property purchase contract is a legally-binding contract, and you are expected to abide by all agreements or clauses it contains. Now, some sellers don't want to be dragged into the complication of fixing property defects after completing a sale, which is why they include no-repair contingencies in their sales contracts. Therefore, if you agree to buy a property with such a contingency in place, then you may not be able to hold the seller responsible for the defects as long as they did not purposefully or fraudulently conceal the defect from you.
Another Person Is Liable For the Damage
There are also cases where the seller isn't the one responsible for the defect or your ignorance of it, which means you can't expect them to compensate you for it. You may not know this, but the seller is not responsible for every defect discovered after the sale is complete. Other parties, such as your real estate agent or your home inspector may also be liable for some of your losses.
A fitting example is a case where the home inspector does a shoddy job and fails to discover foundation damage that any other reasonable inspector may have discovered. In this case, your claim is against the home inspector, and you can only claim the cost of the inspection and not the cost of fixing the defect.
The Seller Had No Way of Knowing About the Defect
Usually, a real estate property seller is only expected to disclose the defects they know about or those that they are reasonably expected to know about. This means you can't hold the seller responsible for a hidden damage that no one could have known about. This is usually not such a straightforward affair; if you lodge such a claim expect the seller to put up a spirited fight to deny that they knew or could have known about the defect in any way.
The Defect Was Not On the Standard List
Lastly, you should know that most states have standard disclosure lists that the sellers are expected to elaborate on. In some of these states, a seller is not on the hook for a defect that doesn't appear on the list. Such a situation isn't very likely, but if it occurs, you may find it difficult to get the seller to fix the defect.
As you can see, it is not always easy to get a real estate property seller to compensate you for defects discovered after the purchase. Fortunately, you don't have to face such issues alone; a real estate attorney can help you navigate them with ease.