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 www.thinkglink.com