What Can I Do About House Defects After a Sale?

According to data from the National Association of REALTORS, in 2019, approximately 6 million homes were sold in the U.S., of which 5.34 million existing homes. There are a lot of complicated processes involved in buying a home. The majority of existing homes are often renovated or upgraded before they are sold. Unfortunately, finding an undisclosed defect after buying a home can be extremely frustrating and potentially costly.

If you discover an undisclosed defect after the closing of escrow, consulting with an experienced real estate attorney is crucial to protect your legal rights. Our knowledgeable team at Curiale Hostnik PLLC can offer you experienced legal guidance and explain your options for recovering damages. We are proud to serve clients in Tacoma, Washington, and cities throughout Pierce County.

Common Issues 

While the list of possible issues found in a home after a sale is long, some of the more common undisclosed home defects that buyers may discover after purchasing the property include:

  • Faulty wiring or obsolete electrical system
  • Roof leaks or other issues with the roofing
  • Problems with the heating and cooling system
  • Rusted pipes or broken sewer lines
  • Hidden water damage
  • Rotted wood or termites
  • Huge cracks in house foundation, basement, or driveways
  • Broken ventilation systems or windows
  • Problems with the septic system or heater
  • Electrical and plumbing issues
  • Poor drainage system

Disclosure of "Material Defects" Is Required

Washington's Seller Disclosure Statute, RCW 64.06.020, requires home sellers to disclose any "existing material defects," based on the seller's actual knowledge, to the homebuyer using a "Seller Disclosure Statement."

In essence, all material defects should be explicitly listed out and explained to the buyer. Should the homebuyer discover a material defect that wasn't included in the Seller Disclosure Statement, the buyer may be eligible to cancel the real estate transaction.

Who's Responsible?

The following parties may be responsible for undisclosed home defects after the sale:

  • The home seller
  • The seller's real estate agent.
  • Your home inspector

It’s necessary to assess who knew or should have known about the defect or whether it was intentionally not disclosed.

In order to establish fault and liability in your undisclosed home defect lawsuit, you must prove that:

  • The defect was there before the house was purchased
  • It isn't a defect you could have easily noticed
  • The seller didn’t disclose the defect
  • You relied on what you were told
  • You have suffered financial loss as a result of the defect

What Can Be Done?

Once it's been determined that you may have a claim, your attorney can help you pursue compensation by initiating a:

  • Demand Letter: You or your attorney can send a demand letter to the responsible party requesting for the costs to repair the home defect.
  • Mediation: This requires all parties involved in the home defect matter to come together to discuss a possible resolution. A third party will serve as the mediator to help resolve the issue by negotiating or facilitating a probable compromise.
  • Lawsuit: If you aren't able to resolve the home defect dispute through a demand letter or mediation, your attorney can help file a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages, repair costs, or actual monetary losses.

Hiring an Experienced Real Estate Attorney

Defects in a home purchased by a buyer may bring about a lawsuit against the seller, agent, or home inspector. If you discover that your newly purchased home came with an unwelcome surprise such as roof leaks, faulty wiring, cracks, broken plumbing systems, or other undisclosed defects, it is important to hire a knowledgeable real estate attorney immediately for proper guidance and to protect your rights.

For more than 30 years, our experienced attorneys at Curiale Hostnik PLLC have been providing comprehensive representation in real estate matters. As your legal counsel, our team can help:

  • Fight vigorously to protect your legal rights and represent your best interests
  • Send demand letters to the responsible party requesting repair costs
  • File a lawsuit, if necessary

If you're dealing with home defect issues or if you discover an undisclosed defect after purchasing a property, call Curiale Hostnik PLLC today to schedule a one-on-one case assessment. Our experienced attorneys will offer you proper guidance and help you recover monetary damages incurred. We proudly serve clients throughout Tacoma, Pierce County, Puyallup, and Gig Harbor, Washington.


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