Q: I just found out that my house was built in 1972. When I bought the property, my paper work said it was built in 1985.
The only way I found out about the discrepancy is because I need to replace my garage door. The garage door company told me that with a house built in 1972, there is a possibility of lead paint. The company said it costs more money to remove the door due to possible lead paint.
But I’m now worrying that my house is 13 years older house then I thought. What should I be worried about?
A: It’s unfortunate that you have to be worried about the age of your property.
I’m wondering how the age of your house came up. Did the seller tell you it was built in 1985? Did you make that assumption based on property tax records? Did the listing agent put it on the listing sheet? Where did he or she get that number from?
It’s possible that your property was initially built in 1972 and then remodeled extensively in 1985. At that time, it’s possible that all lead paint was removed or remediated. You can find out by going to your municipal building department and looking up the records for your property to determine the extent of any work done on the home.
Even if your home is older than you thought, how does that change things for you? If the house was completely remodeled in 1985, and the property feels 25 years old and not 38 years old, does it really matter? If you were perfectly happy with everything before you found out your house was older, why are you dissatisfied now?
If you just purchased the property, you can go back to the seller and ask about the discrepancy in the age of the home. If the seller and/or broker knew the property was built in 1972, the lead based paint disclosure form should have told you that the seller knew the house had lead based paint.
But not all sellers are aware of whether their houses contain lead based paint or not. If you are a real estate professional, you pretty much know that all homes built before 1978 have lead based paint in them.
If you have owned the property for more than 2 or 4 years, you probably don’t have any legal recourse against the seller unless you suspect fraud. In that case, please consult with a litigation attorney who has extensive experience in seller disclosure or real estate fraud cases.
As far as fixing your garage door, you may want to consult another company that fixes garage doors. Frequently, you might get different pricing and opinions from different companies.