Hidden Defects: all you need to know

Summer is coming and bringing moving season along with it. Amongst all questions buyers and sellers can ask themselves during this time, one subject is always brought up: hidden defects. What are they and how to avoid them when buying or selling a property?

What is a hidden defect?

In the real estate world, hidden defects mean all defaults, damages or imperfections that can only be identified after the purchase. The seller can tell all the problems that affect the building. However, it is possible that he might not know about its presence. Therefore, it might not be an act of bad faith.

A hidden defect might be an annoyance that will stop the owner from enjoying his property afterwards. In real estate, a defect is considered hidden if it has the following features:

It was existing at the time of the building’s purchase
It was unknown to the buyer
It was not apparent
It is so bothersome that if he had known, the buyer might not have bought the property or would have asked a price reduction.

If these criteria are met, the buyer can sue the seller or claim damages.


What are the types of hidden defect?

Hidden or latent defects can take many shapes. Here are some examples regarding home damages:

The built: the house was built on a bed of gravel bed with pyrite with a high swelling potential, for example;

Humidity: mould inside the walls is well hidden under paint
The foundation has non-apparent cracks
The roof is damaged which leads to water leaking issues
Heating and gas tank are damaged (leaking gas tank, abnormal furnace)
Defective electrical and plumbing installations
Worn down attic


How to avoid hidden defects when selling or buying

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you need to be careful and diligent when it comes to what you are buying or selling. Here are some tips to avoid latent property defects.

Get the House Inspected Before Purchasing

As a buyer, it is important to get your future house inspected by a professional. You will have more success in finding small defects. This pre-purchase inspection analyzes all the visible components of the different house systems (the plumbing, the roof, etc.) to detect any eventual problems. It also helps identify any existing problems.

If the defects are acknowledged, you can negotiate with the seller regarding the price, for example.


Think of getting a pre-buy inspection as a seller

As a seller, choosing to get your property inspected might be worth it. It shows your seriousness and gives the right impression to potential buyers on your property’s true condition. It avoids you bad surprises as well as price negotiations after the inspection. You could even decide to do some necessary repairs before selling it!

Get help from a real estate broker!

As a seller or a buyer, having a real estate broker will be an asset, particularly if you are on a time crunch.
They know the market, the properties that are selling, all their possible defects and the features to be checked on.

They will take care of all the documents related to your purchase or sale as well as the procedures. They will check all the unfavourable factors and will tell them to both parties.

If you or the new owner notice hidden defects after the sale, your broker will help you find legal advisors to help you in the following negotiations.

So, do not hesitate to contact me if you have a real estate project in Ahuntsic-Cartierville or any other Montreal neighbourhoods. It will be my pleasure to assist and help you by limiting as much as possible. Any inconvenience due to hidden defects.

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