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Structural Problems Found After Purchase Of Home

Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A

REM # LAW 751

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A ThinkGlink reader bought a home and had a professional home inspection. After buying the home and moving in, he has discovered structural problems. Ilyce and Sam explain what recourse this homeowner may have.

Q: I bought a home a couple of months ago. As part of the contract, I had the home inspected by a professional home inspector.
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He did tell us about minor stuff that had to be fixed but after living here and doing some of my own investigating I found there are a lot of structural problems with the house. Also I think the seller did a lot of the work himself without pulling the proper permits.

If I had known about these problems I would have thought twice about purchasing this home. The house is in Massachusetts and the sellers moved to Florida. Do I have any recourse?

A: Are these structural problems significant, like a crack in the foundation that’s bigger than 1/8 inch or are you simply talking about a poor paint job? It’s unclear what kind of structural issues you’re referring to in your letter.

Whether the seller did work himself with or without a permit may or may not affect whether structural defects exist in your home.

The first thing you need to find out is whether you actually have structural defects and get estimates on the cost to remedy those defects.

One thing to keep in mind: you may not have a case against the seller unless the seller breached his or her representations and warranties relating to the condition of the property under the purchase and sale agreement for the home or the seller failed to disclose matters that the seller was required to disclose to you under any seller disclosure law in Massachusetts.

Once you know what you’re dealing with, and how much it will cost to fix, you can show your documentation to an attorney and have a serious discussion about whether you have a case against the seller or broker for fraud or not disclosing the true condition of the home.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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