These laws legally force the seller of a home to disclose to the potential buyer any serious defects of the property. The laws were created to help protect the buyer from any defects that were not noticed until they closed on the house and became the owners. Many times it is hard to enforce real estate disclose laws because what is considered serious defects may be open to interpretation. Because of this, the laws are constantly changing resulting in many states not having effective disclosure laws. If the state does not have mandatory real estate disclosure laws, they will usually have a voluntary disclosure.
These laws can cover many different subjects so you should consult with a qualified lawyer or real estate agent to find out the specifics of what they cover. In regards to real estate disclosure there are both state and federal laws regarding these laws. Some brokerages have additional regulations for listings they accept. In the United States, Federal law requires disclosure in regards to using lead paint in homes constructed before 1978. The disclosure laws generally cover toxic or hazardous materials and the presence of asbestos and radon gas.
These laws are designed to help protect a potential buyer from buying a home that has known defects or issues. For example, if the home you are considering buying has suffered from earthquake or flood damage these laws will typically require the seller to provide you with this information. In addition to real estate disclosure law protection the buyer should also have a home inspection done by a professional. This inspection can possibly find other potential issues. Sometimes, the lender will require that a home inspection be done before they approve the loan.
In some states, there are long questionnaires that the property owner has to fill out before they can sell the property. This questionnaire does ask about any potential issues or defects with the property. These questionnaires typically cover everything from issues with the land to the wiring and plumbing inside the home. Some of the things that the seller has to disclose include, but not limited to, are:
• Water damage caused by a leaking roof
• Presence of wetlands on a part of the property
• Recent deaths on the premises
Generally, these laws only require that the seller reveal issues that they are aware of. This means that they cannot be held responsible for any problems they were unaware of before putting their home on the market but not every state provides this protection. There have been some cases that the seller can be sued by the buyer after the buyer becomes the homeowner. This is why you need to have expert advice about real estate disclosure laws in your state.