disclose defects

Buying a house can be an incredibly stressful process. You have to make sure the property is right for you, but you also have to make sure the property is worth your investment. This often means doing your due diligence and making sure that the property is in reasonable condition before you close on it. But sometimes, things can slip through the cracks, and if you discover a major defect in the property after you take possession of it, you may be able to seek damages from the seller if they knew about the issue beforehand. Here’s what your Minnesota real estate attorneys want you to understand about failure to disclose and the options you have at your disposal.

What Is a Seller’s Failure to Disclose?

Failure to disclose refers to the situation where a seller fails to notify buyers of major defects in the home before selling it. Under Minnesota law, sellers are required to notify buyers of any significant issues before closing. This gives buyers the opportunity to back out of the sale before they become responsible for any necessary repairs. 

If a seller fails to disclose known issues, you may be able to sue them for damages. But to be successful, you must be able to prove that the seller knew about the issue and didn’t communicate it with you prior to closing. If the seller wasn’t aware of the damage before selling you the home, you’ll have to pay for the repairs on your own or possibly seek damages from other parties involved in the sale. 

What to Do If a Seller Didn’t Disclose Defects

If you suspect that the seller knew about a defect in your home but didn’t notify you of it, you may be able to sue them for damages. While every situation is unique and your Minnesota real estate attorney can help guide you through the steps, there are a few things you can do before scheduling a consultation with your attorney:

Identify the Issues You’re Worried About

Document the issues you’re most concerned about. For example, if the foundation is cracked or the roof is in disrepair, and you’re confident that the seller knew about the issues before closing on the property, note those issues. Take pictures of the damage and document any estimates contractors and repair people have given you since discovering those issues.

Review Your Home Inspection

Before you proceed, review your home inspection report and make sure the issues weren’t listed in the report. If they were and you still chose to purchase the house, you may not have a case. This may be true even if the seller knew about the damage. You were made aware of the issue before closing and still chose to close on the home.

Consider When You Noticed Those Issues

Successfully suing a seller for failure to disclose can depend on when you noticed the issues you’re concerned about. If the damage was readily apparent when you toured the home on your own, you may not have a case. But if the issues were only discovered after you moved in, you may be successful. Think about when you noticed the issues as you compile your documents.

Failure to Disclose Can Be Tough to Prove

Proving a seller’s failure to disclose can be difficult. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with an experienced real estate attorney as soon as you think you might have a case. They’ll be able to do the necessary research and investigation to help prove that the seller violated Minnesota’s failure to disclose rule.

Let Waypoint Law Help

At Waypoint Law, we believe buyers deserve to live in homes they love without having to bear the burden of repairs that the seller should’ve paid for in the first place. Contact our experienced Minnesota real estate attorneys today to schedule a free consultation.