One of the most common causes for disputes occurring after the sale of a home arise from the buyer finding defects in the property, defects which were not disclosed to him by the owner before the sale of the property. If you are the owner of a home that you are looking to sell, please be aware that you may be held liable for not disclosing any known defects in your home.
The statutes governing seller obligations vary with each state. Some states require a seller to complete a questionnaire about their property's condition; in other states, disclosures can be made verbally. In some states, seller disclosures are voluntary. The only sellers excluded from disclosure laws are banks and mortgage companies with foreclosure properties. In addition to the state laws, there are certain federal laws as well which govern what needs to be disclosed. For instance, federal law requires sellers of homes built before 1978 to disclose any known lead hazards. Some real estate companies may also ask you to disclose all known material facts about your home before they decide to take up your home listing.
Some facts may affect one buyer while it may not affect the other. If you're confused about what you need to disclose, then consult your real estate agent or property attorney. To keep it simple, as an owner you should put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and decide what you would need to know about the house before you decided to make the purchase. If you have to make the sale, make sure it goes through smoothly. There have been many instances of lawsuits arising from owners not disclosing important material facts about their home.
Sameer S Panjwani is the CEO and Founder of ChoiceOfHomes.com - Real estate listings of homes on sale and rent.