Buyers beware! Sneaky ways that sellers might hide major issues

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2021 | Residential Real Estate

Many people trying to buy a house focus almost exclusively on aesthetics and amenities when making buying decisions. Once someone sees the property that they like, they will likely pursue a purchase without much concern about latent defects that might arise later.

This confidence comes in part from requirements for sellers to disclose issues with properties that they list for sale. Sadly, some people will do just about anything to make a little extra money, even openly violating the law by trying to hide or cover up major issues with a property they want to sell.

How do sellers sometimes try to gloss over issues that would affect the value of a property?

They make cosmetic repairs that don’t address the issue

Some of the repairs and maintenance that homes need are major investments. Putting in new plumbing, getting rid of lead paint or correcting a settling foundation may all require thousands of dollars a homeowner investment.

Sellers typically stage their homes to make them as attractive as possible. This process shouldn’t involve intentionally hiding issues, especially not major ones. Some sellers will make temporary repairs or cosmetic improvements to try to prevent buyers from noticing defects.

Patching over cracks caused by foundation issues and then painting a room will make it look fresh and appealing. It could be a few months or even more than a year before the buyer start noticing the issue themselves.

They list the property as-is and try to minimize known issues

Selling a property as-is is a common tactic among those who know the home they have listed has multiple issues and possibly won’t qualify for traditional financing. Sellers listing a property in as-is condition supply don’t want any liability for problems with the property after they transfer it.

Some others may use that as-is status as a way to try to manipulate buyers. They might talk in detail about less expensive issues while glossing over the real problems. They might even give believable but false explanations for issues. For example, they could claim the inspector slipped in the attic, causing ceiling damage, as a way to deflect from a leak in the roof.

Ask someone looking to buy residential real estate, you need to be able to trust that the information provided by the seller is accurate. If you brought a property that turns out to have some serious issues, you may have. This is particularly true if the seller lied to you about what caused the issue or if they obviously tried to cover it up and then did not disclose it to you.