In today’s busy housing market, it seems more and more houses are selling for higher than list price and some buyers are even desperate enough to skip an inspection in the hopes of landing a home. While this may seem savvy in the bustling market of today, you don’t want to get stuck with a defect or major issue down the line that could have been identified before you closed on your home.

The lawyers at Lommen Abdo want to ensure you’re protected against a bad investment, and there are a few simple ways you can safeguard yourself and your family.

Insist on an Inspection

First, always, always, insist on and pay for your own house inspection.  Do not accept a seller’s inspection report and do not cut corners on getting a cheap inspection. Issues that arise on an inspection can be as small as a misplaced outlet or as large as a lead water pipe or crumbling foundation. Having this information can set you up to negotiate the price of the house or closing costs, and alleviate major headaches down the road.

Major Problems: What Can I Do?

What happens if the seller did not disclose a major foundation problem when they sold the home to you? It will depend on whether the sellers actually knew whether any problem existed when they completed the real estate condition report, commonly referred to as seller’s “disclosures.” We always recommend that you have the foundation issue fully investigated and assess the scale and nature of the problem – before confronting the sellers and then go through your agent to contact the seller’s agent.

Construction Defect Claims

Another question that comes up is when all your neighbors are talking about leaky windows. In this case, do you have a construction defect claim? As in most situations, it depends. If your neighbors’ windows are leaking, it does not necessarily mean your windows leak nor does it mean there is a construction defect for either party. They could be simply poorly constructed windows. The same thing is true of hail damage on your neighbor’s roof. One storm through the same area does not mean all houses have roof damage.

When to Seek Legal Help

Homeowners always want to know what their legal remedies are if they end up buying a defective home. Our advice is to contact an attorney as early in the process as possible. A one-hour meeting could allow you to expeditiously address the issue. Law suits are rarely a good solution because they can take a long time and can be very expensive. When all parties are spending attorney fees on discovery, motions and a trial, there is less money available to fix the defects. Pre-suit mediations are the most cost-effective way to resolve bad house cases, provided the parties will listen to a neutral, experienced, third-party and are willing and able to address the situation in a dispassionate manner.