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Question:

My husband and I put a down payment on what we thought was our dream home -- but right after the closing, the roof caved in during a storm! It turned out the roof wasn't structurally sound. Are we responsible, or are the people who sold us the house?  We never moved in -- is it too late to stop the sale?

Answer:

Once the deal has closed, the house is yours, warts -- or in this case puddles -- and all. However, unless you bought the house "as is," you may still be able to go after the sellers, and possibly the home inspector, for the costs of repairs.

The key question, of course, is whether your sellers actually knew about the problem. (Even the disclosure laws don't typically give them any obligation to investigate.) But if you can find evidence that they did know, you can ask for reimbursement, and contact an attorney if they refuse.

Your home inspector may also be liable for repair costs if he or she could have seen the problem but didn't. You'll probably need to hire another inspector to visit your house and to review your inspector's reports.

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