6 Tips for Handling Undisclosed House Defects

If you purchased your perfect home with your partner and found out it had major flaws once you moved in, your recourse will depend on a variety of factors. Most states have laws that prohibit sellers from hiding major defects from buyers. Generally, major defects include plumbing and sewage, water leakage, termites, roofing, heating and air conditioning systems, property drainage, foundation, title problems and lead paint. Following are 6 tips for handling undisclosed house defects.

RE1011. The first step is to review the seller’s disclosure form and read your home inspection report if you have one. There have been instances where the buyer missed the disclosure in the excitement of the purchase. If you find that the problem was in fact disclosed, it will be up to you to pay for the repairs.

2. If the defect was not disclosed, document the problem, take pictures, and obtain estimates of the repair costs.

3. If you had a home inspection completed before purchasing the home, you should contact the inspector. If he or she missed problems that should have been found by an expert, he or she may be liable for the repairs.

4. Contact the real estate agent that assisted you with the purchase. He or she can review your evidence and let you know about some of the options that you may have. For example, he or she may be able to resolve the issue the seller, or refer you to an experienced LGBT attorney if needed.

5. Contact the seller and/or his agent and request that the defects be repaired at his or her expense. You may want to hire an attorney to send the seller a letter outlining the defects and the remedies that are being sought by you, the buyer. If the seller declares that he was not aware of the defects and refuses to pay for the repair, your only recourse is to file a lawsuit against him. In order to succeed, you will need to prove that the owner knew or should have known about the defect. For example, the seller patched over the problem or neighbors informed you of the difficulty that the seller had in dealing with the issue while he or she lived there.

6. Contact a real estate attorney for advice and assistance in filing a lawsuit in a court of law. If the court finds in your favor, you could recover the cost of repairing the defect and any other damages resulting from the defect, attorney fees and costs of filing the suit, and punitive damages if the court finds that the failure to disclose was fraudulent. The court may also rescind or invalidate the sale and return the property to the seller.

In order to avoid purchasing a home with undisclosed defects, it would be wise to hire a reputable LGBT real estate agent to assist you. He or she is a professional and is trained to spot any inconsistencies in the documentation and to let you know your options. Many times, issues with a home can be worked out prior to the sale to the satisfaction of both the seller and the buyer. A professional, trustworthy LGBT real estate agent located in your area can be found by conducting a search on GayRealEstate.com.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Forms of Same Sex Joint Home Ownership

When you purchase a home with your LGBT partner, you will need to designate how you would like to hold ownership. Unfortunately, many partners do not understand the ramifications of home ownership until it is too late to do anything about it. Depending on the state that you live in, following are the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of same sex home ownership.

CoupleJoint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship
This designation means that when a partner dies, ownership of the home will transfer to the surviving partner as a matter of law. The advantage of this type of ownership is that there is no need to go through probate court to claim ownership of the home. You would simply take the death certificate to the register of deeds in the county where the property is located or file for a new deed in your name indicating that one of the owners is deceased. It should be noted that if there is a mortgage on the home, it will remain after the partner’s death unless he or she had some type of insurance that pays the mortgage in full upon death.

The disadvantage, in some cases, is that you both have equal control of the home during your lifetime. This means that you cannot get a loan against the home, sell it, give it away or will it to anyone else without your partner’s permission. Even if a partner bequeaths his interest in the home to another party in his will, it will have no effect and his interest will still revert to the surviving partner. If you decide you would like to sell the home and your partner will not agree, you could go to court and request a partition or a sale of the home. This generally becomes an issue when a relationship breaks up and one partner wants to keep the home.

Another disadvantage of this type of ownership is that either partner can break the designation. All that is needed is for one partner to go to the register of deeds and transfer his or her interest in the home to tenancy in common. That action automatically destroys the joint tenancy with right of survivorship designation.

Tenancy in Common
With this designation, both partner’s own a percentage of the home. The percentages do not have to be equal. For example, one partner could own 60 percent and the other 40 percent. The portion owned by each party is generally dictated by the amount that each partner contributed to the purchase of the home.

The disadvantage is that when one partner dies, ownership does not automatically transfer to the surviving partner. His or her half interest in the home will be distributed according to a will, if he had one, or according to the state’s intestacy laws where he resided. Intestate means to die without a will. Homes owned by tenancy in common do have to go through probate, even if the partner left a will designating the surviving partner as the beneficiary.

The exception to the above is when there are liens against the home, or the deceased’s estate does not have enough assets to pay off his or her final debts. In that case, creditors could file for a partition in a court of law to sell the home.

The legal ramifications of home ownership designations can be confusing. In order to protect your rights, you should speak with an LGBT real estate agent or attorney who is knowledgeable on the local state laws regarding real estate. If you and your partner are considering purchasing a home together, you should contact a reputable LGBT real estate agent by conducting a search on GayRealEstate.com. He or she will be aware of the local and state laws and ordinances that affect home ownership and will know a reputable attorney in the area that can advise you of your options related to home ownership.

Living LGBT in Oklahoma

If you’re considering a move to Oklahoma, you may be very afraid about what you’ll find.  While the stereotypical image of Oklahoma is of horse-drawn wagons, teepees, buffalo herds, and dry, red dirt, many people are surprised by the state’s two largest cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.  Skyscrapers dominate the downtown areas of both cities, and Oklahoma has become a surprising leader in space research and renewable energy.  But one area in which the state does live up to its stereotypical image is in its very conservative, anti-LGBT stance.

Living LGBT in Oklahoma May Not Be as Daunting as Many People ThinkOklahoma passed a same-sex marriage ban on November 2, 2004.  The ban was in effect for almost ten years.  The ban was challenged and found unconstitutional in a district court, a ruling that was upheld by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.  On October 6, 2014, the ban was officially overturned following the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear an appeal to the Tenth Circuit’s ruling.  However, Oklahoma still has no protection for LGBT employees.  The Cimarron Alliance is just one of a few LGBT groups that continue to fight for equality in the state.

Despite this, there is actually a good sized gay community in the state, the majority of which live in Tulsa or Oklahoma City.  Oklahoma City has a gay district, in fact, that is centered around 39thstreet.  The annual Pride Parade marches through the area, and there are several gay and lesbian bars, clubs, and LGBT-owned businesses in the area.  The historic Mesta Park area, which is located near downtown Oklahoma City, is another gay-friendly community.  Many LGBT students attend Oklahoma City University and live in the surrounding neighborhoods, which include Mesta Park, the Gatewood District, and the Paseo District (one of the main arts districts of the city).

In Tulsa, there are two neighborhoods where LGBT people tend to gather.  The first is Brady Heights, which is often called Tulsa’s gayest neighborhood.  This area is near downtown and is conveniently located near a few universities, highways, and popular entertainment and shopping areas.  This diverse neighborhood is fairly affordable, too.

The Florence Park area is also very LGBT-friendly.  It’s also located near the downtown area, and it’s full of older homes that have a lot of charm and class to them.  There are a number of small shops, bistros, and restaurants near the area plus a few major grocery stores, so Florence Park has just about everyone one would need.

The cost of living in Oklahoma is fairly low, and the state wasn’t hit as hard by the recent recession as many areas were.  As a result, its economy is still fairly strong and hasn’t had to go through quite as big of a rebuilding period.  The housing market is also fairly strong, and there are a number of gay and lesbian relators in the state who can help you find the perfect home.

Best Places for LGBT People to Live on the West Coast

Thinking about making the move to the west coast?  Washington, Oregon, and California are all beautiful places to live, but some of their cities are more welcoming to LGBT people than others.  Many cities that top “Most Friendly U.S. Gay Cities” lists are on the west coast.  Here are a few places you may want to consider.

When Looking for LGBT Friendly Areas, the West Coast is a Great Place to StartSan Francisco, of course, is the most well-known gay city in California (and perhaps in the entire U.S.).  While it might seem cliché, there’s also something kind of special about living in San Francisco as a gay person.  One thing’s for sure: you won’t have to worry about acceptance here.

Seattle, Washington, has a very large LGBT population.  In fact, among cities of its size, it has the largest percentage of gay and lesbian people in the U.S.  While it’s already the Pacific Northwest’s largest city, Seattle continues to rapidly grow.  It’s not just the LGBT community moving to Seattle—the city is drawing people from all walks of life to it.

Portland, Oregon, is another great place for west coast LGBT.  It’s the largest city in Oregon, and like Seattle, Portland continues to grow fairly rapidly.  In addition to being a popular LGBT destination, Portland has become something of a hipster town, too.

Los Angeles has one of the most diverse cultures in the country.  You’ll find people of all types in LA, many of whom are there trying to make it big in the entertainment industry.  If you love living in a big city, LA is definitely for you.  If, on the other hand, the crush of people and trying to get across eight lanes of fast-moving traffic doesn’t appeal to you, you might want to think about a different city.  Housing costs in LA also tend to be fairly high in a number of areas.

If you like this area of California, though, you might look at San Diego.  The city is only about 120 miles south of LA, which means it’s close enough to drive to the City of Angels for special events.  San Diego has a much smaller feel to it, though, and many people find its clear blue waters and blue skies to be much more relaxing.  The city is also growing pretty rapidly and is home to a good-sized LGBT population.

These are just a few of the amazing cities on the west coast that may appeal to LGBT people. A gay or lesbian realtor can provide more information about these and other great places to live.