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What are you required to disclose when selling real estate?

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2016 | Residential Real Estate |

Buying and selling a home is a major transaction for residents in Florida and elsewhere. Moreover, a real estate transaction is probably not entered into quickly or without consideration. Therefore, parties to the sale of a home will likely take time to look over the details of the contract while also examining the house itself. If a seller fails to bring up an important issue or takes steps to hide it, this lack of disclosure could harm the contract between the seller and the buyer.

What are you required to disclose when selling residential real estate? Generally speaking, a seller has the obligation to disclose all potential problems that could affect the value of the home to the prospective buyer. Moreover, in most cases, and in most states, it is considered illegal to take steps to deliberately conceal major defects on the property. And in order to address this problem, some states even require that all disclosure to a potential buyer be made in writing.

Does this mean property owners need to search for problems? In most cases, property owners only have to make real estate disclosures about the problems he or she is aware of or is reasonably expected to be aware of. However, there might be strict requirements to identify specific problems that could damage a real estate contract such as termite damage or related issues.

While a seller is not required to hire anyone, this could be helpful to determine if there are any issues that were unknown and should be disclosed. Moreover, if the house was built before 1978, sellers have to comply with the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992. This requires that sellers inform buyers about any lead-based paint or related hazards in the house, give buyers 10 days to test for lead in the house and obtain a signed statement from all parties involved verifying compliance.

Do you need to repair a problem once it is identified? A homeowner is not obligated to repair the problem, only to disclose them. Because these problems could impact the valuation of the property, it is possible to repair them. However, if they are not repaired, they must be disclosed.

A real estate transaction can be a complex process, therefore, requiring both a seller and a buyer to go through various steps. Those dealing with any issues pertaining to the sale of a house should take the time to understand their rights and what options are available.

Source: Realestate.findlaw.com, “Required Real Estate Disclosures When Selling Property,” accessed June 27, 2016