Many jurisdictions require individuals selling their homes to make certain disclosures about any known defects that their house may have to potential buyers. Despite this, it’s possible for a new owner to end up with a home with defects that they didn’t anticipate it having. There are some legal options available to them if this happens in Florida.
Most “material defects” that a home has have to be disclosed to buyers. This includes any potentially defective components or systems that a residential property may have. These defects must put the safety of others at an unreasonable risk or adversely affect the value of the property. Systems or components that may break down due to wear and tear aren’t considered to be material defects.
Defects identified pre-closing
Many buyers discover their future home has material defects when a home inspection is performed before the closing. If they’re discovered while the home purchase is pending, then buyers can generally walk away from the transaction without penalty.
Post-sale discovery of defects
While some jurisdictions allow for buyers to rescind a home purchase after a closing has occurred, this seldom happens. Many new homeowners instead sue the previous owner for monetary damages for material defects after a closing occurs. It’s possible for them to hold a home inspector or real estate broker liable for their negligence in disclosing these defects as well.
Many material defects are obvious and can be readily seen by a homebuyer without them having to be pointed out to them. In cases in which they’re not clearly visible, sellers often let them know about them. They often do this because they fear that their home’s sale won’t go through if they fail to do so.
There are also cases in which a seller doesn’t say anything at all. Many hope that the buyer won’t have an inspection performed and that defects won’t be discovered. One reason that they don’t disclose them if they know about them is that it can greatly affect the price that they can command for their home. By not saying anything, it can leave you with the burden of having to pay for costly repairs.
Contractors, sellers, realtors and inspectors can all mislead buyers during the home building or purchasing process. A construction attorney can let you know what your legal options are if you were misled by one of these when you bought your Collier County home.