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What to do If You Find Items That Weren’t Disclosed

Your best options to salvage the value of your property

When a homeowner sells a property, they are required to disclose information about the house as part of the contract. This information could include asbestos, lead paint, water damage and beyond. So as a homeowner, it’s especially discouraging to find something in your new home that should have been listed in the disclosures. Whether sheer coincidence, or as a result of a failure to disclose the information on the part of the seller, there are a handful of options for amending the situation.

First, consider your insurance company. They may help cover the damage, which will prevent going through the trouble of trying to reap the costs from the assumed negligent party through confrontation or the process of court. Depending on your coverage, this could be a straightforward option.

If insurance is out of the question, however, then you will want to determine who is responsible for the negligence or fraudulence of failing to disclose the issue. If the problem existed before the property exchanged hands, but the harm wasn’t apparent to you upon purchasing the property, the responsible party at fault could be any of the following three people:

  1. The seller who knew of the issue and failed to include information in the disclosures or advise their agent.
  2. The selling agent who received information from the seller and left it out in the process of the sale.
  3. The inspector who did not perform the appropriate level of the professional expectations.

Once you’ve determined who you believe is liable, you’re first move is to go directly to the responsible party and hope to resolve the matter without any legal action. A demand letter may be sent to request funds for the costs of the needed repairs. If a demand letter or simply approaching the person responsible is not successful, your next option would be to request mediation.

Your last resort is to file a lawsuit. If the cost of repairing the issue is much less than the costs you will incur to file a lawsuit, consider chocking the trouble up to a learning experience. However, if the amount of money is considerable, court may be the only option. You will need to work with a trusted attorney to make sure that you are confident about the liable party, that the issue can’t come back to you in any way, and to help defend your case.

Resolving the undisclosed issues through a lawsuit can be an arduous process, but it may be the only way to remedy the loss. Contact Anselmo Lindberg & Associates to learn more.

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