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Your dreams have come true and you just purchased a home. Everything was great until you moved in. After the first rainfall, your basement floods, or your roof leaks and your home has sustained water damage. You suspect that this is not the first time this house has flooded. You suspect the previous owner had to know of the current problem. You suspect the previous owner purposely didn’t tell you that there was an issue. As the new property owner, what can you do?

Warren Christopher Freiberg, an attorney and freelance writer for realtor.com interviewed me a while back with a scenario like the one above. He asked questions regarding what a homebuyer can do if after they purchase a house, they find a major problem that was not disclosed by the seller. The article title is So there is a problem with your new home – what can you do? Written by Warren Christopher Freiberg.

The issue presented was that a couple moved into their new home and found out it had major roof leakage issues. They did all the right things with getting a professional inspection but the problem was something that appeared to have been covered up and not disclosed by the sellers at an appropriate time.

If you encounter problems with your new home purchase after the closing, it’s important to take appropriate steps to address the issues promptly. Time is of the essence: Act quickly once you discover a problem. Taking prompt action increases your chances of resolving it effectively. From the beginning, you should document the issues. Make a detailed list of the problems and take photographs. Keep copies of all communication, reports, invoices, and photos related to the issue. Try to determine if the issue existed before the purchase or if it emerged afterward due to faulty construction, appliances, or other factors.

Next, you should review your contract. Make sure you didn’t purchase the property as-is. The easiest solution would be to reach out to the seller or seller’s agent. Doubtful, but they could agree to fix the issue. Keep all records of your communication. If reaching out to the seller doesn’t give you the results you wanted, this would be the time to seek legal advice. We can help you understand your rights and options. Legal action might be appropriate in cases of fraud, breach of contract, or failure to disclose material defects.

If this is a brand-new home, the home builder should work with you on the issue.  Most new homes come with a builder’s warranty that covers certain defects for a period after the closing.

The fact is, showing that the prior owner hid a defect is easier said than done. To have any recourse, you have to prove that the seller knew about the problem and did not disclose it.

The specific steps you take will depend on the nature of the problems. You might have to file a complaint, file a lawsuit, file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance, or file a claim with your title insurance to get the problem resolved. The bottom line is that getting recourse from the seller can be an expensive legal battle that you may not win, and regardless of the legal complications you might also have to pay to fix the undisclosed problem in the meantime. History shows, it can be tough to prove that the previous owner knew of any issues.

Please read the full article at realtor.com.