Protect yourself against material defects when buying a home

The home-buying process is not always an easy one, and there is always a pinch of risk that comes with a purchase. For the most part, sellers are honest and disclose when there are serious issues with a home. However, there are times when sellers don't disclose issues that they know about. For instance, a seller may try to cover up the fact that the basement leaks or that there are other serious defects in the home.

If you make a purchase and find later that home defects weren't disclosed, do you have any options? The good news is that you may. State law typically requires sellers to disclose material defects in a property. Not doing so invalidates a sale.

If a buyer, you in this case, find that there is a material defect that the seller did not disclose, then you may be able to cancel the transaction and get your money back (if it is in escrow or already paid to the seller).

How can you protect yourself against undisclosed material defects?

You should always have an inspection performed on the property. The inspector focuses on finding material defects, giving you more information about the problems the home has inside. Not every defect that is in the home will make the list during an inspection, but major problems are likely to be discovered and help you make a better decision about whether or not you want to complete the transaction.

Our site has more information about residential real-estate transactions and what you can do to protect yourself during a purchase.