As we know, buying a home is an emotional and one of the largest financing investment for an individual. Buyers fall in love and goes through the home inspection, tedious loan process and finally closing on their dream home.
After living there for a short period home buyers start discovering issues. It could be a leaky roof to a drainage issue or a plumbing leak or an electrical miswiring. Who is responsible?
Can the buyers go after sellers?
Is the seller obligated to work with purchasers to repair/compensate for damages?
Are the home buyers on their own?
Virginia Seller Disclosure Requirements:
Go back and read up the Residential Property Disclosure Form that you had signed when you purchased the home. The first statement of the document reads as below:
"The first item on this disclosure form states that the seller “makes no representations or warranties about the condition of the property or its attachments.” Essentially this means the seller is not responsible for informing the buyer about anything wrong with the property, and it is up to the buyer to find any problems prior to closing."
Essentially it is informing Buyer Beware!!
So after moving if the buyers find issues that could have been discovered under home inspection or other inspections the sellers is not liable. If the buyers have waived their rights to home inspection the same theory applies.
However, if you as a consumer/purchaser can prove the sellers knew about the problems and the concealed you are definitely built a case. Proving can be challenging!
As a home buyer in the Northern Virginia area here are 10 things you can do :
1. When purchasing a home do not waive your right for a home inspection.
2. If you find latent defects that were notified in the home inspection, hire a specialist to further help you investigate the issues.
Example, if home inspector mentions roof needs repair or there is significant damages hire your own roof inspector to inspect and provide you with a report.
3. Ask recommendations from your Realtor, friends and family for a professional home inspector.
4. If you are not satisfied with the home inspector hire another inspector and request sellers to extend the contingency timeline.
5. If you are buying a home that was a flip (investor buying, fixing and reselling), ask for permits! If the permits were not issued call the county and speak with them about the local jurisdiction rules and permit requirement.
6. If you are buying home with extensive upgrades done, ask the home sellers for invoices or warranty or contractor they hired for remodeling.
7. If you are buying a new construction the builder home warranty will cover you. However, you should still hire home inspector at various stages of home building.
8. Ask home sellers for a home warranty. That may help you cover major repairs with a small deductible fee.
9. Don't skip on a walk thru prior to closing.
10. If any repairs sellers have agreed to correct you can rehire your home inspector to check on the work. Ask for receipts for all the work completed.
Bottom line: Buyers beware!!! Home sellers, their Realtor or your Realtor are not obligated but some may be helpful to guide and direct you for a solution.