3 Ways to Protect Yourself From Hidden Defect Suits
The transaction of real estate can be tricky and complex — especially when it comes to determining the quality and value of the property being sold. Though most property-related issues are relatively minor, serious latent or hidden defects could render the premises “unfit” for the originally intended purpose. In such cases, it isn’t unusual for the buyer to file suit against the seller. Smart sellers do not hesitate to contact a hidden defect lawyer in such circumstances. However, they also take steps to prevent such cases from popping up in the first place.
Conduct Your Own Inspection & Repairs
You can alleviate many potential problems by hiring a qualified home inspector to examine your property before you put it up for sale. These thorough inspections will identify both major and minor defects that could pose a problem for future buyers. You can then determine which items need to be addressed now, and which minor issues would generally be considered acceptable by most buyers.
Once you’ve identified serious repair issues, enlisting the help of qualified contractors to make needed improvements will eliminate the issue, including the risk of future buyer complaints. In some cases, addressing a home inspection concern could even raise the value of your property — a worthwhile investment.
Prior to closing a sale, it can be worthwhile to fully document the property and its condition. In addition to obtaining an inspection report, you should take pictures of the property and collect any other relevant documents related to its condition.
With full documentation, you’ll be prepared with proof of the property’s condition at the time of the sale should a hidden defect suit arise later on. This can be used to prove if a particular defect was not present at the time of sale.
Know What Qualifies
Not every property-related issue will qualify for a hidden defect suit. For example, defects are usually only considered serious if they make the property unfit for its intended use. This includes defects that would significantly affect the property value or the buyer’s decision regarding whether they would make a purchase in the first place.
Buyers also have the responsibility to denounce the defect in less than six months after discovering it. Without these attributes, the case is unlikely to proceed very far, particularly if the repair issue in question does not impose a significant financial or livability issue.
By taking preventative measures before you sell a property, you will not only diminish the likelihood of having a hidden defect suit filed against you — you will also improve your chances of a successful outcome should a suit be filed. Prudent sellers who work with qualified attorneys will have peace of mind knowing that their finances are secure after selling a property.