Seller did not disclose defects to property buyer


When a buyer discovers undisclosed defects prior to closing, the buyer should refuse to close until the defects are repaired by the seller or the seller reduces the purchase price.  Even with an "as is" contract, the seller is required to disclose to the buyer all known material defects.


Attorney Tom Olsen: The seller did not disclose material defects in the property and is discovered and will they be liable even up to the day of closing, the answer would be a qualified yes, okay? So, first of all, most contracts to buy a home these days are "as is" contracts, and what "as is" means is that prior to closing, the seller is not obligated to pay for any repairs or termite treatments, but even with an "as is" contractor, the sellers are still obligated to disclose to the buyer any known material defects.

So this is, apparently, a buyer, and now, they are in a contract with the seller and now, suddenly, discovered this material defect, and the question really is, what should the buyer do? And first, let me tell you is, do not close with knowing that this material defect is what it is, without getting resolved. If you know there's a material defect as a buyer and you go ahead and still do the closing, in the day after the closing, you've waived your right to pursue the seller.

So, at this moment in time, what you need to do is to get the seller either fix that problem or they have the seller reduce the purchase price, that's usually the way it's resolved. The seller reduces the purchase price prior to closing. So, what do you think about that Chrissy?

Chrissy: Well, I think that, again, it really goes to one of the other text questions here as well, is that it is important to have an attorney be a part of your transaction.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, yes, there's the next text question, she says, "Keep hammering on a need for a seller of a home to hire their own attorney to represent them." So, we could take that a step further and say, both the buyer and seller, we would recommend that you hire a lawyer to review your closing documents prior to closing. Now, the vast majority of closings that happen here in the state of Florida, they happen at a title company, there's no lawyer involved. But, often, a buyer of property or a seller of property will call me and asking to review closing documents on their behalf, and we do that on a regular basis.

Chrissy: And that's also another advantage to Edgewater Title Company that you have is because they are very appreciative that when Candy does a closing, and you as a part of it as a real estate lawyer, will review the documents [crosstalk] too.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, what we're saying is that I co-own a titles insurance company, a title company, Edgewater Title Company with Candy, Candy's been with me for over 30 years and into the right down the hall. Well, nice thing about that is they need a lawyer, they need legal advice, they can walk in right on down and talk to me about it.

Chrissy: Absolutely.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Yes.

Chrissy: And there's quite often that there's something that requires your attention.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Yes. So, when I review closing documents on behalf of a buyer, often, I find mistakes that have been made that will, whatever the buyer is paying me to review the closing documents, they will have saved a bunch of money down the road because sometimes when you are a buyer of property and you do it and everything seems good, you don't realize that there's a problem or a mistake was made at the moment of closing. You might have bought it 10 years ago, well, now, you got to figure out how to fix it 10 years later, and that can be very difficult.

So, if you'd like me to represent you as a buyer or seller in real estate, or you need any kind of legal advice, we very much appreciate you thinking of us, give us a call next week, we will be there ready to represent you at 407-423-5561, or email me through our website,, like YouTube, but Hey everybody, thanks so much for your great cause of questions, we do so much appreciate. I may have a suggestion for you, go outdoors and take pleasure in the beauty of nature, and as always, enjoy your friends and family.