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Disclosure Laws: What You Need to Disclose When you Sell Your Home

When homeowners want to sell their house, there are laws requiring them to disclose specific information about their property. These laws are in place to protect both the buyer and the seller. Since purchasing a home is likely the most significant single expense many people will make, they must have all the information they need to make the best purchase for their needs.

When you want to sell your property, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind about disclosures. There are some details you’re required to disclose, others you really shouldn’t.

6 Things You Must Disclose

Presence of lead paint: While many disclosure requirements are determined at the state level, this requirement is a federal law. If your property was built before 1978, you must have your home inspected and provide a disclosure form.

The potential presence of methamphetamines: If your house property was ever used to produce or store methamphetamine, Utah state laws require that sellers notify buyers of the potential risk of contamination.

Note: State laws vary about whether sellers must disclose the presence of asbestos. You should check with your state housing authority to determine what your state requires.

Major repairs or additions: These should be disclosed before the sale if you’ve made any additions to your house or property. Additions can change property tax value and create problems for future owners if they’re unpermitted. Major repairs like a new roof or new water heater, or a new garage can increase the property value and make it more attractive to a buyer.

HOA status: If the house is located within an HOA community, you must disclose this information to the buyer. In addition, you should provide access to HOA bylaws and fees.

Zoning regulations: Some neighborhoods have rules about building new garages or fences. If your community has special zoning rules, include this information on your disclosure form. Additionally, include this information if the property has any limitations or easements.

Whether appliances are included: Sellers must disclose whether the sale includes large appliances (like a stove and refrigerator) or if they’ll take those items with them.

4 Things You Don’t Have to Disclose but Might Want to

Death, suicide, or homicide: In most states, it’s not required to disclose any murders, natural deaths, or suicides that occurred on the property. Some states, like California, stipulate that the seller must disclose the information if the incident happened in the last three years or if the seller asks.

Hauntings: Most states do not require owners to disclose if a home is “haunted.” However, some states require sellers to disclose all material facts, and paranormal activity could be grounds for a buyer to back out of a sale.

Repairs needed: While you’re not required to disclose every leaky faucet, it can be helpful to point out problem areas so buyers have a better picture of what they’re seeing. Transparency can save you time since many problem areas will be spotted in an inspection anyway.

Miscellaneous information:  You may want to disclose information that could be potentially problematic later, even if you’re not legally required to do so. Revealing the information up front may turn some potential buyers away. Still, it could also save you from a lawsuit later.

Things You Cannot Disclose

You can disclose any information pertinent to the house or property as a seller. However, real estate agents cannot disclose race, gender, religion, or socioeconomic status information. Even disclosing whether the schools are considered “good” could be an issue in some areas.

As a seller, you can answer these questions if a buyer asks. But you shouldn’t reference race, religion, gender, sexual preference, income, or socioeconomic status in your disclosures or listings.

What happens if you don’t disclose the required information?

If you knowingly omit information from disclosures, you can be held in breach of contract. The seller can ask to void the sale or sue for funds to make necessary repairs. Buyers may be able to ask for more than the cost of their home or repairs as compensation, including attorney’s fees.

You can sell your home as-is, which means you won’t make any repairs, but you must disclose significant issues like those mentioned above. Selling your house as-is can be tough on the traditional market. If you want to sell your home quickly and are not ready to make any repairs, consider a cash offer from Brick. We buy houses in any condition. Reach out today to find out how much we can offer for your property.

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