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Looking to purchase a home in Virginia? Buyer beware

Your recent decision to buy an older home proves disastrous. Your seemingly well-structured house hid leaky pipes under sinks and faulty electricity on every floor. You feel as though the previous owners lied to you about the condition of the home because they were not forthcoming with information. You prepare to take legal action.

Unfortunately, you may not succeed to obtaining any reimbursements. Virginia identifies as a caveat emptor state. Sellers in Virginia, as compared to most other states, do not need to disclose all information regarding the condition of the home. Caveat emptor translates to “buyer beware”, as in, you should be aware of the problems a house may hold before the close.

Doing due diligence

Caveat emptor explains that buyers must conduct basic analysis of a property’s condition before a purchase occurs. No problems with a house—electrical issues, water piping complications and even mold—need to be disclosed to the buyer of the home if the seller is unaware of the issue.

In most states, the seller must provide a lengthy disclosure statement detailing specific information regarding a home’s condition. In Virginia, however, the responsibility to make an informed purchase lies with you.

Upon your own inspection of the home, you must examine all utilities and structures for problems. If concerns arise, you may want to contact local inspection to confirm the magnitude of the issues.

Sellers cannot lie

Caveat emptor does not allow for direct hiding of a serious home issue that could affect the health and safety of the buyers. Although sellers do not hold responsibility for problems they were not aware of, they have responsibility to be truthful about known issues.

For example, the previous owners of your property knew that termites were actively destroying the foundation of the house, and they secretly contacted a pest control specialist. Perhaps you discover the termite problem and ask the sellers for details. They lie and explain that they had no knowledge of the issue. To obtain damages, you must prove that the sellers knew and hid the problem.

Protect yourself and family from financial hardships due to serious home repairs. Make sure no outstanding problems dissuade you from making a home purchase in Virginia.

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