Section 7303 of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law requires sellers to disclose all known material property defects to potential buyers.
However, what happens if, after moving in, you stumble upon a serious defect that the seller did not disclose? Besides immediately seeking legal assistance, there are additional steps you will want to take to protect your interests.
Document the issue
Upon discovering the undisclosed defect, the first step is to document the issue thoroughly. This means taking photographs, videos and detailed notes regarding the problem. Creating a comprehensive record is important. It will serve as evidence when you address the matter later.
Review your purchase agreement, seller disclosure and home inspection report
Refer back to your purchase agreement, as it often contains provisions related to undisclosed defects. Some contracts may include clauses that specify how to handle such situations. Pay close attention to any language regarding warranties or representations the seller made. Also review the seller disclosure to ensure that the defect was not disclosed, and check your home inspection report if you had one done, to ensure that it wasn’t noticed by the inspector.
Seek professional evaluation
If the defect is substantial or poses a potential safety hazard, consider hiring a qualified professional to evaluate the situation. Whether it is a home inspector, structural engineer or other relevant expert, their assessment can provide valuable insights into the extent of the issue and potential remedies. They may recommend steps to mitigate the issue, and provide an estimate of the costs required to do so. If the defect poses a safety hazard or causes significant inconvenience, you may have to implement a solution to address the problem before seeking legal advice.
Discovering a serious defect in your new home can be a challenging and frustrating situation. Taking a systematic approach can help you evaluate the issue and determine the steps necessary to protect your investment and ensures your home is safe and habitable.