As you might have noticed, there is no such thing as a perfect home. As a home ages, problems can pop up and it might be your right, as a buyer, to know about some of those issues. Real estate disclosure laws assure buyers that certain things must be disclosed. Read on to find out what real estate disclosures mean and what to look out for during your home search.
Full and Honest Disclosure
As you make your buying decision, it's vital that you know as much as you can about a home. For example, some people won't live in a home where someone in the past committed suicide. Disclosures allow buyers to move along to homes that better fit their needs and wishes. Price is also a consideration. If you know that the home has flooded in the past, you will need to know about the added expenses of flood insurance coverage along with making changes to the lot to lessen water intrusion.
What Should Be Disclosed to Buyers?
Only known problems have to be disclosed. That means that the seller is under no obligation to disclose something that they were not told before they moved in. For example, if the current occupant of the home bought it without knowing that it was a meth house, you might only find out after you buy the home. If the seller knew and did not disclose that fact, you might have the basis for a lawsuit. Below are some other issues that, in most cases, must be disclosed to buyers and real estate agents if it is known.
- Lead – The presence of lead in the house paint is one of the most well-known of all disclosures and it's the only disclosure mandated by federal law. The law covers any home built before 1978, after which this type of paint was banned for residential purposes by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- Problems with Major Systems – A home has several main systems and that usually includes the plumbing, electrical, roof, and heating and cooling systems. Any past repairs or known issues with these systems should be disclosed.
- Neighborhood Dues – If the home you are considering is in an established neighborhood, ask about homeowner associations and dues. Find out what is covered and be sure to review any neighborhood rules before you decide to buy.
Understanding home disclosures is only a small part of what a real estate agent can help you with as you search for a home. Speak to a local real estate service today to learn more.