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Can a buyer sue for failure to disclose?

On Behalf of | Jan 1, 2020 | Real Estate Litigation

Buyers must know everything they can about a property before making a decision to buy. When certain items are not disclosed, or the seller deliberately misrepresents defects in the home, a buyer does have the right to seek assistance in civil court for failure to disclose. Here are some steps you can take to make sure the issue is handled efficiently and fairly. 

When it comes to failure to disclose, most states have laws in place stipulating seller responsibility. This usually includes an obligation to provide information on anything that could impact the value of the home. Additionally, sellers cannot use the excuse that the information was never provided because the buyer never explicitly asked. Regardless if an inquiry has taken place, sellers must provide information on things like roofing defects, problems with the foundation, and insect infestations. 

If you find out about the issues before you actually close the sale, you may be able to cancel it without penalty. You can also try to negotiate with the seller about bringing down the price of the home or covering the repairs himself. Many sellers would rather make these concessions than lose out on the total sale of the home, which is to the buyer’s advantage. You may still be able to negotiate even after you have closed on the home, particularly if the seller is averse to legal proceedings. 

Some real estate contracts also have mediation or arbitration written into the terms. This establishes the steps both parties must take to deal with any disagreements about the property before a lawsuit can be filed, or if one can be filed at all. Make sure you fully comprehend your litigation options before closing on the home and also have a home inspection and title search performed to be privy to any problems.