Sellers Property Disclosure

Attorneys Real Estate Group

We Handle Real Estate Contracts, Builder Disputes, Failure To Disclose & More..

When you want to sell your house, you must prepare to conduct many showings, clean, and complete a lot of paperwork. A seller’s disclosure statement or form is crucial paperwork. The document tells buyers about potential problems with your home, which can protect you from costly legal costs. Here’s how to create a Sellers Property Disclosure form to help you speed up your home sale. 

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Sellers Property Disclosure

What is a Sellers Property Disclosure Form?

Sellers Property Disclosure forms, or property disclosure statements, describe all possible problems with your home. These statements are legal in almost all parts of the country.

The disclosure form protects buyers from purchasing a house with undisclosed problems. However, keep a copy of the disclosure form to protect yourself against lawsuits.

Buying a new home and failing to disclose a problem that you know about could result in the buyer suing you for repairs or more if the problem later causes problems for the new buyer.

Some known issues may be downplayed because you don’t think they’re major, but it’s best to inform buyers about any problems upfront.

Buyers receive the Sellers Property Disclosure form when we accept their offer. The buyer may consult with their attorney to find out if any issues that have come to light must change. There is a possibility that a problem will cause the deal to fail.


State Disclosure Regulations

You must check your state’s regulations for what to include in your Seller’s Property Disclosure form to ensure it meets all the requirements. You’ll need to check what the law says in your state to ensure your disclosure form meets all the requirements. However, there are also federal regulations, particularly regarding lead paint.

The federal government requires all homes built before 1978 to check for lead paint and to disclose the inspection results to buyers. By your state laws, homes built after 1978 are not subject to the lead paint requirement. However, you will still need to submit a seller’s disclosure statement.


What Needs to Disclose?

You must disclose the following issues in Sellers Property Disclosure forms, depending on the laws in your state:

  • Faulty windows or doors
  • Cracked foundation
  • Leaky roof
  • Problems with appliances
  • HVAC issues
  • Repaired and unrepaired water damage
  • Mold
  • Lead paint or asbestos
  • Hazardous conditions (house in a flood plain, wildfire-prone area, etc.)
  • Pest infestations
  • Damage-related insurance claims

The Seller’s Property Disclosure statement should state any significant issues with the house’s structure, major systems, or surrounding infrastructure.


Significant Water Damage

Floodwater has caused significant damage to basements across the United States recently, causing damage such as sheetrock, ceilings, panels, and foundations. It can also cause the growth of molds and fungi that can cause allergies and illnesses.

Most water enters a house through the foundation, the basement stairwell, or the floor drain – and never through burst pipes.

It’s hard to tell how much damage has occurred, but most competent or experienced people, especially home inspectors, can see it. An indication of basement foundation problems is effervescent, a white growth inside basement walls that looks fuzzy.

Moisture leaves effervescent minerals as it dries, and these minerals settle as the water dries on the inside surface as the water dries through the foundation wall.


Mold Damage can cause serious health problems.

There’s no denying that mold grows in wet conditions. It can cause serious health problems and structural complications and lead to expensive repairs. Sellers can try to hide, scrape, or paint over mold to get money for the home.


Know About Some Structural Defects

It’s possible that the seller did not know about some structural defects, or maybe they are unaware but don’t want to disclose them. These could include a poorly designed home, a roof or ceiling that is not properly supported, or a caving or cracked foundation wall in the basement.


Know About Some Structural Defects.


We must examine latent defects carefully regarding what they are and are not. For example, a loose screw behind paneling is not a latent defect – it should be something more serious.

Even brand-new homes have broken things, such as cracks in the sheetrock, nail pops, gaps in the wood floors, or tape joints between the ceiling and walls. Sellers are not required to disclose these defects.

In the US, sellers do not have to disclose anything other than latent defects. Instead, they can disclaim, and most do. Sellers can get permission to disclose all information about the various systems and components of the house or disclaim all representations except latent defects by completing a form called “Real Property 10-702.”

A Real Property 10-702 form is two to three pages long and includes hundreds of checkboxes for the seller. Most sellers put a diagonal line through the document representing that they disclaim any representations.

On a single page, they should check for a diagonal line. If there is one, they should flip through every page to ensure no boxes that mention latent defects exist. They should carefully read what appears in those boxes.

Interestingly, most buyers and realtors pay little attention to seller disclosures. At attorney real estate group, we’ve found that most buyers and realtors need to read those disclosures.

It’s a mistake if they skip over those pages as they initial each page, racing to the finish line so that no one else can grab it.


A Home in Which someone has Died

A home where someone has died can be intimidating or superstitious for buyers. In cases where deaths occur due to property conditions or violent crime, the seller handles disclosing them. The seller must disclose if a previous occupant’s child drowned in a pool due to a lack of safety fencing.

However, certain circumstances do not need the seller to disclose a death on the property.

There is no obligation to disclose the death of a person who has died under natural circumstances in any state. Some states impose the duty [to disclose] on houses and apartments stigmatized for suicide or murder victims. If a seller knows that their real estate is haunted by the dead, some states even impose an affirmative duty on them.”

A seller may want to err by informing the buyer that a death occurred on the property, even when disclosure isn’t required. For example, Georgia doesn’t require sellers to disclose homicides or suicides unless the buyer specifically asks.

A seller should disclose everything upfront, even if it isn’t required by law, if he is concerned about liability. It is common for buyers to hear things from neighbors, which may cause them to back out of a purchase contract or question what else the seller is not telling them.


A Nuisance or Noise from the Neighborhood

Typically, a nuisance is an odor or noise from an external source that irritates the occupants of a property. In California, sellers must disclose noises, odors, smoke, or other nuisances from commercial, industrial, or military sources.

A seller in Michigan must disclose farms, farms operations, landfills, airports, shooting ranges, and other nuisances in the area. At the same time, a buyer in Pennsylvania must determine whether agricultural nuisances exist.

You should check your state’s laws regarding neighborhood nuisance disclosures, as these rules apply only to three states.


Suing the Seller

Even if you disclose a serious problem, contact our Law Firm first. If you discover evidence of a cover-up (effervescent, paint streaks, etc.), please document it by taking photographs, but do not remove anything.

  • You and your attorney must prove that the seller knew about the defect.
  • Before you bought the house, the defect existed.
  • You can’t see the defect yourself because it’s not obvious.
  • Due to the defect, you have suffered monetary losses.

If you can prove these things, you can sue the seller for fraud. You may even claim attorney’s fees in addition to your damages if the contract has an attorney’s fee clause.

The seller would therefore be responsible for the repair costs and legal fees incurred by the buyer to make the seller perform what they should have.


What Kinds of Things Aren’t Latent Defects?

In this situation, an attorney is the best to consult if you suspect a latent defect in your home that the seller didn’t disclose. Before contacting anyone else or taking action to address the defect, talk to an attorney.

It is necessary to understand that what you consider a defect may not be one. For example, an easement would not constitute a latent defect as it poses no threat to an occupant’s safety or health.

In addition, property lines are not latent defects, although they could indicate fraud on the seller’s part. In different parts of the contract, encroachments deal with, and a competent location survey and visual inspection of the property should help pick them up.


Do We Need to Disclose a Past Problem in the Case of a Repaired House?


Use the Seller’s Property Disclosure to protect yourself from lawsuits.

Although only some people read 10-702 Disclosure Statements, you should include everything you know if you sell your home.

You can use the disclosure to protect yourself from lawsuits by documenting everything you need. You don’t need amazement if the buyer is unreasonable; you don’t need amazement if they blame you when water backs up under the basement door if they fail to clean the leaves out of the basement stairwell.

Repairs don’t negate the fact that you had a problem; they fix it. Even though the defect has been fixed, the house still has a history. And that history can be used against you by unreasonable or unrealistic buyers. It is best to disclose the house’s history as soon as possible.

For instance, you need your yard regarded after poor grading caused water to run into your basement. While that shouldn’t happen again, you still need to disclose it. Keep all receipts and the contract.

It’s common for realtors to tell you to refrain from doing that since they fear a buyer might become discouraged. There are two major differences between lawyers and realtors. Realtors are more concerned with getting the deal to the settlement table. Lawyers are more concerned with the next steps.

Regarding your Disclosure Statement, the best thing to do is to disclose everything properly (because you would be taking a big risk). Consult a lawyer if the realtor cannot handle the issue. Make the realtor write a supplement if there is not enough room.

It is our experience that buyers are more concerned about what the seller fails to disclose than something that occurred but was dealt with appropriately.


You Need Legal Help to Prepare Your Sellers Property Disclosure Statement.

You will have to fill out a standard disclosure form in some states. A disclosure statement must be written and must be straightforward and honest. However, some states allow flexibility in how you communicate your disclosures.

You may hire a real estate attorney if you need legal help preparing the form. Real estate agents can help you complete the Sellers Property Disclosure form in states without attorneys.

You can find a real estate agent that will help you sell your home if you are a hero in a hero profession, such as a firefighter and emergency personnel, law enforcement, military, healthcare professional, or teacher. You’ll be in touch with a local real estate and mortgage specialist automatically.

The specialists will assist you with preparing your seller’s disclosure statement and other necessary documents while saving you money. If your home has a problem, nobody wants to admit it, especially when you want to sell it. By creating an extensive seller’s disclosure statement, you comply with the law and protect yourself from potential future issues.

A seller’s disclosure form is one of the key components of the selling process. It can ensure the deal closes and your family is safe if it goes smoothly.


Can we Sue the Seller for not Disclosing Defects?

Yes, you can sue the seller for not disclosing defects if your attorney proves that the seller knew about the defect and intentionally failed to disclose it.

Sellers are aware of defects but often mask them with paint or carpet. They then try to pass the house along to an unsuspecting buyer. They sometimes get away with it, leaving you with repair costs. In addition to being morally wrong, hiding latent defects is also illegal.

Alec Stroup

ALEC STROUP Associate Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  Alec...

Hedy Ghavidel

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