When you’re in the process of buying a home, it can be very easy to get caught up in the esthetics of the structure — such as the marble countertops and hardwood floors. But elements such as foundations, wiring, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems are just as important, if not more so.So, if there are problems with the home, what obligations do sellers have to disclose them to you?There are two types of problems: patent defects are those that are clearly visible; latent defects are not apparent and may not be discoverable, even by a home inspector or other expert.Examples of patent defects include visible cracks in a foundation wall, missing safety railings or visible stains that suggest a roof leak. The seller doesn’t have to disclose patent defects to you, as these items can be found during a home inspection or are visible to the potential buyer’s eye. It’s up to you to do your own research and ask specific questions.As an example of a latent defect, consider a home that has a history of flooding, structural or fire damage where the impact is not visible without an invasive inspection. In this case, the seller is only obligated to disclose the problem if they know about it — and if the defect could be deemed a serious risk to health and safety of those who live in the home.This could be a structural defect that poses a risk of a wall collapsing, or a history of flooding that would foster the growth of toxic mould.
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