Buying a new house is exciting, and you may have been planning to get a place of your own for a while. When you find one that feels right, you’re predisposed to overlook issues with it and convince yourself that it’s the home for you.
But you’re also at a disadvantage. You may take a day to walk through the house or even bring in an inspector, but you haven’t spent much time in the home. The seller, meanwhile, may have been there for years. They know that house inside and out in ways that you will not until far in to the future.
This may lead a seller to try to cover up issues with the house, hoping you won’t see them before you buy. For instance, say that they have an old washer and dryer in the basement. There is also a crack in the foundation. They updated the washer and dryer already, so they simply slide the old ones to the side and set them over that crack.
What they’re counting on is that you, as a buyer, will just look at the brand new unit, get excited to use it in the new house, and continue on with your walkthrough without questioning why they never got rid of the old appliances. They’re also heavy, so you’re probably not going to move them and see what the foundation looks like under them.
Other examples of similar problems include painting over water damage on a ceiling or hanging pictures over cracks and breaks in the walls.
What you need to know is that it’s illegal for sellers to hide major issues. They need to disclose these things beforehand. If they intentionally fail to do so, you must understand what legal options you have. An experienced real estate attorney can help you.