Common Real Estate Disclosures

Dated: January 8 2024

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Real estate disclosures in the United States are documents provided by sellers to potential buyers, revealing information about the property's condition, history, and any other known issues. These disclosures are intended to help buyers make informed decisions about whether to proceed with a purchase. While the specific requirements vary by state, there are many disclosures that are common across the country.

Below are some of the most common real estate disclosures in the U.S.:

Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

For homes built before 1978, federal law requires sellers to disclose information about lead-based paint hazards. Buyers typically receive a lead-based paint disclosure form, and sellers must provide information on any known lead-based paint or hazards.

Seller's Property Disclosure (SPD)

Many states require sellers to complete a disclosure form that covers various aspects of the property, such as its condition, history of repairs or improvements, and any known issues. This form may include details about the roof, plumbing, electrical systems, appliances, and more.

Natural Hazards Disclosure

In areas prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, or wildfires, sellers may be required to disclose information about these hazards. This helps buyers understand potential risks associated with the property.

Homeowners Association (HOA) Disclosures

If the property is part of a homeowners association, sellers typically provide information about the association's rules, fees, and any ongoing legal issues. Buyers can review these documents to understand the obligations and restrictions associated with the property.

Mold Disclosure

In some states, sellers are required to disclose information about mold if they are aware of its presence in the property. This disclosure aims to inform buyers about potential health risks associated with mold.

Radon Gas Disclosure

Some states require sellers to disclose information about radon gas levels in the property. Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that can pose health risks, and testing may be recommended during the home inspection process.

Termite and Pest Inspection Reports

If the property has had termite or pest inspections, sellers may provide reports detailing any findings and treatments. This information helps buyers understand the property's history with pests and any ongoing prevention measures.

Flood Zone Disclosure

Sellers may be required to disclose if the property is located in a designated flood zone. This information is crucial for buyers, as it can affect insurance requirements and potential risks.

Depending on where you live in the US, you may be subject to a 'caveat emptor' rule, meaning the buyer is responsible for learning more about the home and anything that may affect its quality. Known to many as 'buyer beware,' if you live in a caveat emptor state, you will need to do your due diligence and find out what disclosures are required.

What if Something Isn’t Disclosed?

It’s not unheard of to have a seller fail to disclose something to the buyer. If that happens, the buyer can generally cancel the sale and the seller possibly subject to a fee; for most of the US, if the sale goes through, the buyer can take legal action if they believe the seller failed to disclose known issues. For any buyers that may be wary, ensure contingencies are within the purchase and sale agreement that affords the buyer the ability to walk away from the sale without major fees.

Disclosures are important as they protect buyers by helping them understand as much as possible about the condition of the property they want to buy. As a buyer, do your due diligence when it comes to disclosures, and do not forgo an inspection. Disclosures vary state-by-state; consult your real estate agent to learn the local laws and guidelines when it comes to real estate disclosures.

It's a New Year! Are you thinking of buying or selling in 2024? My website has all active properties available today: SoldByCunningham.com. If a new home is on your agenda for 2024, don't hesitate to contact me with your questions, NCunningham@remax.net.

Happy New Year!

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John Cunningham

John W Cunningham with The CUNNINGHAM Group has the experience needed to handle today's real estate market. John has 37 years of experience & is longest tenured RE/MAX agent in the county!! John can h....

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