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Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

What is a seller’s disclosure?

Buying a new property is an investment in your future. However, there are lots of things that can go wrong during the process. That is why homebuyers must protect themselves throughout the transaction.

Sellers also have a responsibility during real estate transactions. According to Nerd Wallet, one of these obligations is the seller’s disclosure. Here are a few things you should know if you are shopping around for a new home.

What is a seller’s disclosure?

Sellers must disclose any problems with the property that will impact its value. This information is vital for homebuyers to make a reasonable decision on whether to purchase a property. Seller’s often complete disclosure forms, which the buyer receives with other official documentation. While forms often feature yes or no questions, they can also contain spaces for explanations.

What laws require sellers to disclose certain information?

On the federal level, sellers must disclose whether a home built prior to 1978 contains lead-based paint. Even if a home does not contain lead-based paint, sellers must still provide certain documentation for homes constructed prior to 1978. They must also provide a ten-day period for the potential buyer to conduct an inspection of the paint within the property.

What information should sellers disclose?

There are a number of other issues that can appear on a seller’s disclosure. Problems with the roof can affect many other areas of the home, so sellers should disclose them. The same standards apply to problems with the plumbing or electrical system, which can pose safety issues to inhabitants. Other common items on seller’s disclosures include problems with the sewage or septic system, water leaks, and insect infestation.

Sellers are only required to disclose information they were aware of previously. If they fail to do so and the buyer discovers the defect, the buyer would need to prove the seller was aware of the problem and chose not to disclose it.