Property Condition Disclosure Forms: A Primer

Any person who has started the process of selling their home must realize they’re obligated by law to divulge any issues with the dwelling that could affect its worth or appeal.

Each state has their own laws that cover real estate transactions, but in every one it’s against the law to suppress any information about a dwelling’s physical flaws. There are even some states that require sellers provide written information concerning the condition of the property being offered for sale. This is sometimes referred to as a property condition disclosure form.

Written Disclosure

The general rule is that the seller must report all the information to their personal knowledge concerning the condition of the dwelling. In some states the property condition disclosure must include many different types of details. In some cases a seller should hire a home inspector to correctly complete a property condition disclosure form.

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Some states require only basic information concerning any issues affecting a home, and other states require very detailed information. In California people trying to sell their home must reveal in writing many details.

Everything from any known neighborhood nuisances like loud vehicles that go by the home regularly, to any deaths that happened in the home during the three previous years and more have to be disclosed to a buyer.

California home sellers must also reveal any potential problems from the environment such as floods, wild fires and earthquakes. Home sellers in California must also inform potential buyers about law enforcement data bases that provide information on neighborhood sex offenders.

Inspection Benefits

Even if a state doesn’t require a home be examined by a house inspector, it still may be a good idea to use one. Many home sellers will have a home inspector look at their house before they start the selling process. This will enable them to discover any previously unknown problems, and make their disclosure to any potential buyers as accurate as possible.

Simply because a home has problems doesn’t mean the seller must spend a lot of money for repairs. Some home sellers make certain the problems are on the property condition disclosure form and adjust their house’s selling price accordingly.

Advantages of Full Disclosure

Should a home seller fail to disclose any major flaws in their house, the buyer can take them to court. During the proceedings, it will be determined if the seller knew about the alleged flaw in the house prior to the sale. If it is determined that the home seller was aware of the flaw, the seller may be responsible for compensating the home buyer for any losses.

Disclosure Requirements

If a home seller isn’t certain about what they’re required to disclose, they should contact a real estate agent or a real estate attorney. A home seller’s state department of real estate should also be able to provide any necessary information regarding a state’s disclosure requirements.

Many real estate agents and attorneys advise home sellers to provide very detailed property disclosure forms, even if it is not required by their state’s real estate laws. Doing this could prevent any future legal issues from developing.

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