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What needs to be disclosed during a real estate sale?

A seller has an obligation to disclose any potential problem with regards to residential real estate that could affect the value of the property. Furthermore, it is illegal to willfully conceal or hide defects or problems with the property from a buyer.

In many states, you are only responsible for disclosing problems that you are aware of. With that said, it still might be in your best interest to consider hiring someone to do an inspection of the property. Doing so will allow you to prove that you were unaware of a problem, should an issue arise down the line. If additional problems are brought to your attention, it does not mean that you need to address or fix the problems, you just need to make a potential buyer aware of them.

There is a federal law that need to be addressed with regards to potential problems in the home if your home was built before 1978. According to the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, you must inform the buyer of any lead-based paint in the home, give the buyer 10 days to test the property for lead, provide an EPA pamphlet "Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home," list warnings in your sales contract and include signed statements verifying that you are in compliance with legal requirements, which are to be held for three years beyond the sale of the home.

In order to avoid potential problems down the road, it is important to make certain that all legal issues are addressed when making a residential real estate transaction. Fully disclosing all potential issues with a home will help avoid any potential problem that may turn up down the road.

Source: Findlaw, "Required Real Estate Disclosure When Selling Property," Accessed July 24, 2017

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