Buying a house can be a process full of uncertainties. From making an offer high enough to catch the seller’s attention without breaking your budget to exploring whether a neighborhood meets your family’s needs, there are going to be countless potential considerations that impact what properties will work for you.

Once you have made an offer, the property has passed inspection and you have assumed possession of the home, you might think that you can leave the details of the closing in your past. However, the potential exists for you to discover latent defects long after you close on a property.

What are latent defects in a home?

As the name implies, a latent defect is a significant issue to the home that would not be obvious to you as a buyer or be easily observable during the appraisal or inspection process. For example, if the home frequently experiences water and corrosion in the wet months and you sign during a dry season, neither you nor the inspector who reviews the property would have reason to suspect such a significant issue.

Latent defects are often only obvious when you have lived in a property for some time. As such, sellers have a legal obligation to disclose known latent defects to potential buyers in their disclosure. Unfortunately, some sellers will avoid doing so in the hopes that they can command a higher selling price and the buyer won’t take action or won’t notice the issue until the 10-year statute of limitations has passed.

If you discover significant latent defects that you believe the seller knew about prior to the sale of the home, you may need to take action against them or the real estate professional who represented them during the transaction in order to protect your financial solvency, especially if correcting the issue will cost a significant amount of money.