That's a noble gesture on your part, Jen. If this is a privately owned home that the owner has occupied, then the seller is legally obligated to report this on the disclosure statement. If it is a bank owned property, unfortunately, banks are exempt from disclosing this information. The same is true of properties the owner has never occupied. Your story is a text book case of why it pays to do a thorough inspection, and why it can be useful to talk to the neighbors before you put an offer in on a home. On the flip side, there are cases where the neighbors have a vested interest in the home not selling (and yes, I've experienced this first hand), and will say ANYTHING to steer a buyer away from a property. I guess the upshot is that it's always best to trust the professional.