How to Avoid Undisclosed Issues When Buying a Home

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How to Avoid Undisclosed Issues When Buying a Home

“Could I come back from time to time to visit my aunt who’s buried in the backyard?”

Imagine buying a home and then hearing the home seller ask that question!  Although it’s based on a true story and might seem extreme, there are other facts home sellers don’t disclose that could leave a home buyer wondering if they should cancel the buy-sell contract.

Home sellers need to consider disclosing repairs and maintenance they’ve done to the house, in addition to oddities, such as the following:

  • Bathroom remodel
  • New roof
  • New electrical/wiring
  • Regrading the yard
  • Buried human ashes...

If the home was remodeled or structural changes were made to any part of the property, make sure the proper permits were obtained.  Potential home buyers will feel a sense of relief knowing a remodel was permitted and done to code.  In addition, it will make it easier to get an accurate appraisal of the home’s value because changes were recorded by the city.  

Avoid any assumptions about problems with the home.

If the home has a brown stain on the ceiling don’t assume it’s a roof leak.  A home inspection might reveal that the stain is honey from a honey bee nest.  True story.

Are you thinking about adding a new structure to the property?

If a home buyer intends to build something new on the property, they need to get a survey done before closing.   A friend of mine bought a property and wanted to replace a chain link fence with a wooden privacy fence.  He hired a surveyor who discovered part of my friend's property was on the neighbor’s side of the fence!  This issue resulted from an older subdivision merging with a new subdivision, skewing the property boundaries.  Although it was only a matter of 6” at the widest, my friend wanted his property back.  Through a compromise, the privacy fence went up and my friend got some of his property back.  In instances like this, pull all of the necessary permits and save all receipts (you’ll thank me when the time comes to sell the house).

Floorplan_2Homes_2021_04_23The red triangle illustrates the amount of property the homeowner on the left lost to the property on the right when 2 subdivisions merged.


Get a home inspection before closing on the property.

A home inspection benefits the home buyer and seller.  As a home buyer, learning that the ceiling stain is honey and the bee hive has been relocated is better than having the ceiling collapse 20 days into owning the home.  As a home seller, getting a home inspection before putting it on the market provides an opportunity to disclose existing problems in the buy-sell agreement, make repairs ahead of the sale, and avoid legal issues.  An experienced real estate agent will walk you through the pros and cons a professional home inspection to help you make the best decision for your needs.

Janelle D.

I've worked in the real estate sector for more than a decade and enjoy sharing my knowledge on the subject and researching the latest trends. In my free time I like to craft, spend time with my family and dog, participate in outdoor activities like hiking, and I'm passionate about photography.

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