Buying a new home is one of the most exciting things that you and your family may ever do. Of course, when buying a home, there are the normal risks – that you may lose your job and will be unable to repay your mortgage, that the market won’t be strong when you’re ready to sell, etc. However, before you sign on the dotted line, you’ve likely taken a close look at the property, and have a fair idea of any day-to-day issues or immediate repairs that may be required. Which is why when an undisclosed and serious issue presents itself, you may feel wronged and anxious about your options. Consider the following about your legal rights if you bought a house with problems not disclosed, suing a seller for non-disclosure, and how our real estate disputes lawyer can help. Texas Disclosure Laws – What Does a Property Owner Have to Disclose? If you have bought a house with problems not disclosed, the first thing that you should do is familiarize yourself with Texas disclosure laws; this will help you to understand whether or not the seller breached the duty owed to you. The laws regarding a seller’s disclosure obligations are found in Texas Property Code Section 5.08, and require that a seller provide a buyer with written notice of any “material defects” in/on the property. Typically, this requires that sellers disclose structural or cosmetic defects, such as a termite infestation or the presence of mold. Note that sellers are only required to disclose defects that are known to them; if the seller did not know of a defect at the time of the sale, they cannot be held liable for the defect. Also of interest is the fact that property owners in Texas are not required to disclose any deaths that have occurred on the property due to natural causes, accidents that were unrelated to the condition of the property, or suicide. However, a property owner is required to disclose any knowledge of murder that occurred on the property, as well as deaths that occurred as a result of a condition of the property (even if the condition has since been remedied). Can I Sue a Seller for Non-Disclosure? Moving into a new home only to discover an expensive defect or problem with the property can be frustrating. If you believe that the seller lied or intentionally concealed a defect, you may have a cause of action. In order to hold the seller liable, you’ll need to prove that the defect existed before you purchased the home, that you had no knowledge of the defect, and that the seller knew of the defect and yet failed to disclose it. Of course, you will also need to show that you have incurred financial losses as a direct result. In addition to filing a lawsuit against the seller, you may also have a cause of action against the seller’s realtor (if they were involved in the non-disclosure) or the home inspector that you hired to conduct an inspection of the property prior to purchase. Keep in mind that even if the seller failed to disclose something, it can be difficult to hold them liable for damages if there is evidence that you did not do due diligence in discovering the defect. For example, if you failed to hire a home inspector prior to purchase and there is not strong evidence that a seller intentionally failed to disclose a defect, you may not be able to hold the seller liable. How Our Lawyer Can Help When You’re Suing a Seller for Non-Disclosure Buying a house with undisclosed problems can be frustrating, to say the very least. If you believe that the seller knew of the defect and failed to disclose it, or actively lied about the defect, you may have a claim. Our experienced real estate dispute lawyer at the office of Khirallah PLLC can help you to gather the evidence necessary to establish the elements listed above, understand the remedies available to you, and negotiate a resolution. If your case requires litigation, Khirallah PLLC will also be prepared to take your case to court. Call Khirallah PLLC Today for a Consultation Texas’ disclosure laws can be confusing to navigate on one’s own. If you think that you have a suit for non-disclosure against a seller of property in our state, please call our law firm today for a consultation and more information about your legal options. Our lawyer will aggressively advocate for you and protect your best interests.

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Buying a house should be one of the most exciting times in a family’s life, but it’s fraught with opportunities to be taken advantage of. If you’re planning to buy new construction, it’s important to realize that although your home looks shiny and perfect, there can be big issues hiding under the surface. If you suddenly realize that your new home isn’t everything you thought it was, it’s important to enlist the services of a construction defect law expert like Rachel Khirallah right away. To avoid this situation, however, it’s best to know what common construction defects to look for before you buy. Five Common Types of Building Defects 1 – Facade Leaks Unique, modern facades are often made up of complex curtain wall systems that are comprised of dozens of smaller features. All it takes is for one of these components to fail because of improper sizing or installation, and you’ve got a big problem on your hands. Alarmingly, facade leaks are often difficult to detect when they are in their early stages. If you have discovered a facade leak, you need to take corrective action right away — it is very likely that there are even worse problems hidden under the surface.  2 – Window Leaks The most common reason for window leaks is faulty installation, but if it’s an oddly-sized or very detailed window, fixing it could be very complicated. In addition, fixing a window-related building defect can be expensive. If you have discovered problems with your property’s windows, you should consult with an expert. 3 – Wood Floor Problems Hardwood floors are one of the most sought-after features in both new and existing homes, but most homeowners fail to realize that it both expands and contracts over time. All that it takes is a hasty contractor who puts the floor down in humid conditions to create a problem that could absolutely ruin the look of your home. 4 – Fire-Stopping Deficiencies In order to make homes as safe as possible, they’re required to have certain firestopping features that prevent a blaze from spreading through floors and walls. If a subsequent inspection reveals that these features are lacking or inadequate, it leaves your family at risk and could affect your homeowner’s insurance. A property owner may be required to put a considerable amount of money into repairing or remodelling their home to fix a serious fire-stopping deficiency. 5 – Ventilation Problems Proper ventilation and exhaust features are absolutely necessary in any home, but especially in multi-family dwellings like apartment buildings. Without them, the entire property is at risk for heating and cooling issues, as well as undesirable odors. Similar to other common construction defects, property owners often only recognize ventilation problems when there is already a serious issue under the surface. What to Do if You Have Discovered a Building Defect If you have discovered any type of building or construction defect, it is imperative that you take action to protect your legal rights. The biggest mistake that you can make is to simply ignore the issue. The problem is not going to go away on its own. The good news is that buyers may have legal options and legal remedies available. Depending on the nature of your case, it is possible that you could hold the seller, a real estate professional, or a contractor/subcontractor legally liable for building defects that are caused by: Poor design; The use of substandard materials; or Poor craftsmanship/negligent construction. Further, if the building defect was known by the seller, they have a legal duty to disclose the problem. Even if you did not ask about the problem directly, that does not eliminate the seller’s legal obligation to disclose material information. After you have noticed a problem, your first step should be to identify exactly what type of building defect you are dealing with. Next, property owners need to determine who can be held accountable for the construction defect. An experienced real estate lawyer will be able to help you determine how you can prove the building defect in court. Finally, as in other civil legal cases, plaintiffs must demonstrate damages. You must show exactly how much damage the building defect has caused you and how much more damage, if any, it is likely to cause in the future. In some cases, construction defects can be fully repaired. However, it is also possible that a construction defect may cause permanent damage to the market value of your property. Contact Our Dallas, TX Real Estate Litigation Attorney Today Ar Khirallah PLLC, our Dallas real estate litigation lawyer has extensive experience handling building defect cases. If you’ve recently purchased a property and think that you’ve discovered one of these defects, it’s important to contact an attorney who is trained in construction defect law. To schedule a free, fully confidential initial consultation, please contact our law firm today. Our construction defect lawyer will conduct a comprehensive review of your case and help to determine what steps you need to take to protect your legal rights and financial interests.

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