A successful real estate investor goes into any transaction with eyes wide open. And not just one pair of eyes but several especially so as it relates to the property inspection. You may have your own initial walk through or two with your real estate agent but before you get too serious you need to call in your property inspector.

sellers disclosure

After of course, the investor reviews the seller’s disclosure which lists, or is supposed to list, any known issues with the property. But what happens if after your review of the disclosure statement as well as a thorough property inspection a legitimate issue comes up that needs some attention?

Let’s say you’ve closed on the property and have owned it for a few months. Your tenants call and say they’re still hearing some noise coming from behind the sink wall, a type of clanging or rattling. You’ve visited the property before and heard the sound but couldn’t determine whether or not there was any issue. You soon call a plumber who runs a complete diagnostic on the plumbing system and determine that not only do you have “water hammer” but there are some leaking pipe connections as a result.

You go back to your disclosure statement and there is no mention of any water hammer or noise of any sort yet your plumber told you that due to the nature of the leaks, the plumbing system has had some issues for quite some time. You missed it, your inspector missed it but the seller didn’t tell you anything about it.

Sellers are potentially liable for any undisclosed issues and in some states are required to not only compensate for the repairs but required to pay treble damages. You can document the problem, get an estimate to repair along with a statement from the plumber and contact the seller’s agent, requesting they pay for the repairs. Most of the time in such disputes, the seller will pay for the repairs and if not there is always the legitimate threat of a lawsuit, which the seller’s agent wants no part of.

There are certainly mistakes and oversights that can be made, but if you feel you’ve been lied to or otherwise should have been told about an issue that comes up later, you do have rights to protect you. Take advantage of them if ever needed.