Gauging severity of undisclosed defects

What to do when minor problems are discovered after sale

DEAR BARRY: We just moved into our home and are finding many undisclosed defects. Just to give a few examples, our kitchen sink is clogged. When our home inspector checked it, he ran the water for about two seconds, but it takes about 15 seconds for the water to back up. He also didn’t disclose the basement lights that don’t work or the hot and cold water connections that are backwards at the master shower. Shouldn’t our home inspector and the sellers have disclosed these problems? –Scott

DEAR SCOTT: Many of the questions I receive involve defects that were not disclosed to homebuyers. These problems range from plumbing to roofing, electrical to drainage, foundations to fireplaces, from everything possible to anything imaginable.

But the essential issue is always the same: "I relied upon the expertise of a home inspector and the honesty of a seller, but now I find undisclosed problems and don’t know what to do." In your case, fortunately, the faulty surprises are relatively minor in nature. So let’s begin with the slow sink drain.

Home inspectors operate and inspect plumbing fixtures at sinks, tubs, showers, etc. They check for damage, deterioration, faulty installation, substandard materials and functional defects. This includes observing whether drains are reasonably operative or congested.