Real Estate Q&A

Real Estate Q&A

After a home inspection found water damage to floors, the seller decided to replace most of the flooring in the house before the closing. But now, says the buyer, the laminate is bubbling, and the tile is losing large chunks of the grout.

Q: We purchased our home several years ago. The inspection found water damage to the floor, and the seller decided to replace most of the flooring in the house before closing. The laminate is now bubbling, and the tile is losing large chunks of the grout. We expect some issues in an older home but are concerned with all the problems popping up. What can we do?

— Jennifer

A: When you enter a purchase contract, you should always have a thorough inspection of the home you are going to buy.

Depending on the terms of your agreement, your seller may have the option to fix the problem, give you the funds to fix things at closing, or decline and allow you to cancel the deal.

For most issues, I recommend taking a credit against the purchase price and fixing it yourself. When we bought our home, our seller insisted on fixing the few problems that we identified, and they did a great job — real pride of ownership — but people like that are rare in my experience.

Typically, they will fix the issues for as little cost as possible. If the seller does insist on fixing the problem, as might be their right, you should have the repairs thoroughly inspected before the closing and make sure that any warranty will transfer to you.

Unless you can show that your seller hid something from you, such as a leaking floor that was not disclosed, you will have a hard time holding them responsible.

You should check to see if the repairs had a warranty and if it is transferrable to you. If you cannot find it, reach out to the seller and contractor for information.

If none of this works, and there were no hidden defects, you may need to make the repairs yourself.

I have also found that when things like this start to happen, it is better to get your home back in good shape sooner than later.

Waiting often causes a domino effect, making the eventual repair even more expensive.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar.

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