Occasionally, home inspections reveal unexpected (and unwelcome!) surprises, leaving buyers wondering what their options are.

Some significant issues that frequently show up on inspection reports include radon, mold, and water intrusion. Radon and mold can have serious health implications. Water intrusion, manifesting as basement leaks or roof-related problems, is also a big concern and costly to remedy.

Sellers are legally required to disclose known issues that could affect the property’s value or safety by including them in the Real Property Disclosure given to the buyer as part of the contract.

If a seller fails to disclose significant issues they were aware of, they could face legal consequences, including the possibility of litigation and financial penalties.

But if they weren’t aware of the problems that are uncovered during the inspection of the property, what options does the buyer have at this point in the process?

Your next steps will largely depend upon the specifics of the purchase agreement or contract that you submitted to the seller.

The “As-Is” Contract

If you’ve entered into an “As-Is” contract, the seller is not obligated to make any repairs – even if major problems have been uncovered. While you can certainly ask for health and safety-related repairs, the responsibility for addressing other issues rests with you as the buyer.

So, you have two choices: either terminate the deal or proceed with the understanding that you’ll need to handle these issues on your own once the property is in your possession.

The Non-“As-Is” Scenario

For contracts that do not fall under the “As-Is” umbrella, you have a few choices. You need to begin by assessing whether these problems are something you can deal with and are willing to take on. If not, you can decide to terminate the contract at this point.

If you decide to move forward with the purchase, you have a few options at your disposal:

  • Request that the seller makes repairs – You can submit a repair request letter and ask that the seller fixes the problems before the finalization of the sale.
  • Ask for a credit – Alternatively, you can request a credit from the seller that will cover the cost of the repair. This credit will reduce the amount you pay for the property at closing, and that amount can then be used to undertake the repairs yourself post-purchase.

Before making your decision, be sure to consult your real estate agent and/or contractor to fully understand the extent of the issues and the cost to remedy them.

Please note that the information provided here is intended for general guidance and should not be construed as legal advice. Contact us for personalized advice related to your specific situation.