Tips for avoiding surprise defects

Post-closing debacles highlight importance of due diligence

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A homebuyer in the hills above Oakland, Calif., recently closed on a home that matched her wish list almost perfectly, which is as good as it gets. Before closing, the new home was inspected, and no major defects were discovered.

The buyer had plans for upgrading, starting with removing all the wall-to-wall carpets. But when the carpets were pulled up, the house began to smell of cat urine.

The new owner called her agent who recommended several people who have experience eradicating pet odor.