What to Know About the Seller Disclosure

Requirements in a Seller DisclosureHomebuyers do have rights and are entitled to a seller’s disclosure before deciding to close on a home. Do understand that areas to be covered can vary, even though a property disclosure statement is mandated in every state. This means that potential Blaine new home buyers need to perform their due diligence and be aware of the requirements in their area. Further steps may need to be taken to understand more about the state of the property and any potential issues before buying.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

What to Expect from a Seller Disclosure Form?

A seller disclosure document may run several pages. Its purpose is to allow the seller to report on any defects they know about in the home. Defects may cover the electrical, heating and other systems in a house, the structural elements, such as a roof or foundation, and appliances in a home. In addition, latent defects which may not be easily observed should be disclosed, such as cracks in the foundation or a mold problem.

Other details that may not apply to the condition of the property may be included, such as material facts that might dissuade a seller. For example, a death on the property within the last few years may be useful additional information. Disclosures about potential hazards are often required, such as information in regards to home fire hazards, earthquakes and natural hazards.

A seller is responsible for reporting on known defects. The seller does not need to hire an independent investigator to add to the information provided, unless otherwise stipulated.

What Does the Law Require?

Sellers are responsible for making specific disclosures when they apply to a property, such as when it comes to lead-based paint or asbestos in a home. The lead-based paint disclosure is required for homes constructed prior to 1978. Buyers are also allotted a specified timeframe for an inspection for this purpose unless waived in writing. However, local ordinances or laws may apply to the enforcement of disclosures like environmental conditions that may affect the area.

Note that different disclosure laws exist in different states, cities and counties. A qualified real estate agent can assist, though not complete, a home seller in understanding a home disclosure form.

Can Serious Problems Go Undetected?

A Blaine new home buyer may have gone forward and purchased a home with a completed seller disclosure and may still run into issues. Remember that issues disclosed have been observed by the previous owner and new issues may arise. Problems may have developed with the property but were not apparent to the owners, such as a pest infestation or a cracked foundation. In such situations, a seller is generally not held responsible. That’s why it’s important for a home buyer to get a home inspection prior to purchasing the home.

Is a Seller Disclosure Always Required?

Requirements can vary and some states do not demand a full disclosure. In certain states and situations, a seller can complete a disclaimer or waiver statement instead. In Maryland, it is possible to disclose only latent defects when selling the property “as-is” and signing off on a Residential Disclaimer Statement.

The Seller Disclosure and Homebuyers

Sellers who need to complete a disclosure and potential buyers who want to understand more about the Seller Disclosure Statement requirements will want to visit the Depart of Real Estate in their state. Homebuyers often experience a modicum of relief when reviewing the seller disclosure. Both older homes and new construction can be subject to structural issues, mold and more. Potential buyers should take all steps necessary to feel confident in their purchase of a home and may not want to waive optional inspections.

For informational purposes only. Always consult with a licensed real estate professional before proceeding with any real estate transaction.

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