Legal options available when a seller didn’t disclose defects


Buying a new home could be a joyous occasion for many North Carolina residents. Unfortunately, problems may reveal themselves not long after moving into the property. The previous owner might have omitted details about defects and imperfections. Unhappy buyers may then wonder if they have legal options to recover any losses.

Disclosing problems with property for sale

North Carolina law requires sellers of residential property to provide the buyer with disclosure forms, including the Residential Property and Owners’ Association Statement. The form requires acknowledging defects with the roof, plumbing, electrical system and more.

However, a seller might not disclose a known problem. If the would-be buyer discovers the problem before the sale, then canceling the transaction might be the outcome. After the sale, the buyer may be able to file a lawsuit.

Seeking compensation from disclosure omissions

If someone states that there’s nothing wrong with the roof and it turns out the roof suffers a severe leak, then filing suit may become necessary to recover a new roof’s costs. The seller might state that the roof problems were unknown, but if an inspection reveals “patch job” repairs of damaged sections, then their story might not stand up under scrutiny.

Perhaps things may not need to go to court. The new owner could work out an agreement where the previous owner provides all or some compensation for repairs. Avoiding real estate litigation might be in everyone’s best interests. When the parties are unable to come to an agreement, a lawsuit might be unavoidable.

A real estate attorney may assist sellers with completing a detailed disclosure statement. For buyers, an attorney might help with any litigation due to misrepresentation.