Whether you are purchasing your first home or moving into a new house that will better suit your family’s needs and size than where you currently live, a real estate transaction is a major undertaking. Not only do you have to negotiate the terms of the purchase, but you also have to be very proactive in protecting your best interest.
The last thing you want to do is to unintentionally purchase a money pit. You don’t want to offer a move-in ready home price for a property that will require tens of thousands of dollars worth of repairs just to have an insurance policy placed on it.
A seller’s disclosure protects you and your investment
There are layers of protection for buyers looking at real estate in Alabama. Your real estate professional helps you determine if there are potential defects in a property as part of the viewing or inspection process.
Additionally, if you finance the purchase, your lender will likely require an appraisal and an inspection to ensure the property is worth what someone wants to sell it for and to locate any issues that the seller didn’t disclose. After all, the seller has an obligation to inform a potential buyer about any defects in the property on a standard form known as a seller’s disclosure.
How does a seller’s disclosure work?
As one of many forms that are part of a real estate closing, the seller’s disclosure impacts the validity of the purchase agreement and, theoretically, protects the seller from liability regarding defects in the property. However, for the seller to avoid claims in the future, they must report known defects and problems with the property.
The seller must affirm that the information is true to the best of their knowledge. If they have a real estate professional representing them, that person’s professional reputation and insurance also help serve as a buffer between you and unscrupulous people who would withhold important information about a property.
What are your rights when a seller doesn’t tell you about an issue?
Discovering that the furnace doesn’t work or that the foundation has begun to sink after you already complete a purchase of the property can be frustrating and disheartening. However, if you can show that the seller would have had to know about the issue, you can potentially take them to court.
In some cases, you can seek the cost of correcting the issue. Other times, you may have to seek compensation for how much it reduces the property value. The more egregious the oversight and obvious the attempt at a cover-up, the more options you will have to hold the seller accountable.
For the most part, as a buyer, provided that you have adequate representation of your own, you can trust that, even if a seller engages in underhanded tactics, you will have the support you need to address the issue.