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What do sellers have to disclose to new home buyers?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2021 | Real Estate Closing |

As someone who is interested in buying a home, you’re on the path to homeownership. This is an exciting time in your life, but it can also be scary. You’re going to spend thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars on a property, so you want to know everything you can about it before you buy.

Usually, sellers are required to make disclosures about any defects that they know of. However, they are not required to do their own inspection or to make you aware of possible hidden issues.

What do sellers have to disclose before selling a home?

Sellers are supposed to disclose any inspection reports that they have. They should also go over obvious material defects, like damage to walls or the foundation, for example, to make sure that the buyer is aware before purchasing the property. Even if the property is being sold as-is, it’s essential that the disclosures are made.

What aren’t sellers required to disclose to buyers?

Sellers aren’t required to guess about potential damage to the property or to disclose material defects that they might not know about. For example, the current owner of a property may not know about mold in a crawlspace they don’t use, so they won’t need to disclose it. However, if there is an inspection report that shows that mold is present, then that should be disclosed to the buyer.

Sellers also don’t have to guess about damage. They might have seen carpenter bees on their porch, but if they don’t know about damage, they don’t have to guess that damage has occurred.

What can you do to protect yourself as a buyer?

If you would like to protect yourself as a buyer, one of the best things you can do is to ask to have your own inspection of the property. Look at past inspections, if they’re available, and look closely for damage when you browse properties.

If you find out about a material defect that you believe that the seller should have known about after you buy a property, you might be able to hold them legally accountable.