These laws legally obligate the seller of a home to disclose any serious property defects to the potential buyer. The laws were created to help protect the buyer from any defects that were not noticed until they closed the house and became homeowners. Real estate disclosure laws are often difficult to enforce because what are considered serious defects may be open to interpretation. Because of this, the laws are constantly changing, causing many states to have no effective disclosure laws. If the state does not have mandatory real estate disclosure laws, they will generally have a voluntary disclosure.
These laws can cover many different topics, so you should consult with a qualified attorney or real estate agent for the details of what they cover. With regard to real estate disclosure, there are state and federal laws regarding these laws. Some brokerages have additional regulations for the listings they accept. In the United States, federal law requires disclosure regarding the use of lead paint in homes built before 1978. Disclosure laws generally cover toxic or hazardous materials and the presence of asbestos and radon gas.
These laws are designed to help protect a potential buyer from purchasing a home that has known defects or problems. For example, if the home you are considering buying has been damaged by earthquakes or floods, these laws will generally require the seller to provide you with this information. In addition to the protection of the real estate disclosure law, the buyer should also have a professional conduct a home inspection. This inspection can possibly find other potential problems. Sometimes the lender will require a home inspection to be done before approving the loan.
In some states, there are lengthy questionnaires that the property owner must complete before the property can be sold. This questionnaire asks about possible problems or defects of the property. These questionnaires generally cover everything from problems with the terrain to the wiring and plumbing inside the home. Some of the things the seller must disclose include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Water damage caused by roof leaks
• Presence of wetlands in a part of the property
• Recent deaths at the facilities
Generally, these laws only require sellers to disclose issues that they are aware of. This means that they cannot be held responsible for any problems that they were not aware of before putting their home on the market, but not all states provide this protection. There have been some cases where the buyer can sue the seller after the buyer becomes a homeowner. That’s why you should get expert advice on the real estate disclosure laws in your state.