The person selling a piece of real estate has a vested interest in getting the most compensation possible for the sale of their property. This may lead to some people misrepresenting a property on purpose.
They know that buyers who understand the true condition of the property may lose interest or offer less money. Buyers face serious financial issues if they go into a real estate transaction unaware of the property’s true condition. What does the state require that sellers disclose to you?
Buyers have a right to know about physical defects
State law in Missouri does not impose a “buyer beware” standard but rather places the onus on the seller to make full disclosures to the buyer. Buyers should do their best to inspect properties, but sellers must be honest about the condition of any real estate they hope to sell.
Any physical defect with the property that the seller notices or that their agent informs them of after inspecting the property requires disclosure to the buyer and their agent in writing. Old windows, previous mold issues and even a history of indoor methamphetamine manufacturing can all trigger mandatory disclosure laws.
However, issues that might affect the reputation of the property or someone’s enjoyment of it psychologically may not require disclosure. For example, when someone believes there was a ghost at the home, they do not have an obligation to inform the buyer of that belief.
What recourse is available to buyers manipulated by dishonest sellers?
If you made an offer on a property based on its perceived excellent condition and later discovered that the seller actively hid major issues from you, you have rights. You may be able to take them to court in some cases. If they had a real estate agent who knew of the issue, you may be in a position to make a claim against their errors and omissions insurance coverage.
The nature of the defect, the extent of its financial impact and the proof you have of the seller or their agent having knowledge of the defect will all play a role in the best approach to resolving an undisclosed defect at a property you recently purchased. Learning more about the Missouri real estate laws will help you protect yourself during one of the biggest transactions of your life and hold someone accountable if they try to take advantage of you.