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Home sellers’ obligations to disclose defects

At the law office of O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C., we are aware that buying or selling a home is often a complicated matter, even when everything goes smoothly. You and other Pennsylvania residents may wonder about your legal rights if you buy a home, only to find out months or years later that there was a significant defect present in the home when you purchased it.

According to Pennsylvania law, sellers are obligated to disclose any known defects to prospective buyers, which may include defects that have already been addressed. As you can expect, a home with serious defects can affect its resale value and cost you thousands in repair bills. Some of the most common home defects that can adversely affect you as a homeowner or seller include the following:

  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Water damage and leaks in the roof
  • Mold and mildew
  • Termite infestation
  • Defective appliances or plumbing
  • Previous renovations or repairs

Homeowners are also required to inform buyers of the potential presence of lead-based paint in homes built before 1978. While laws can vary based on your location, the general rule is that homeowners must let potential buyers know about defects they are aware of. This protects both the seller from future legal action and allows the buyer to make an informed decision. Since homeowners might not be aware of current defects when their home is on the market, it may be a good idea to hire an inspector to discover any problems before you commit.

Our page on real estate transactions explains more about your legal rights when buying or selling a home.

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