What You Need to Know About Your Duty to Disclose


When you sell a home, your real estate agent will let you know what you have a duty to disclose. If you’re selling your home without the assistance of an agent, then you still have to disclose certain issues. Failing to disclose these issues can lead to a lawsuit and sometimes even find you guilty of violating a federal law. You basically have to let any potential buyers know the problems with the house. 

Not problems like a door squeaking when you open it. You have to point out all the major problems that exist or have existed in the past. One big thing is that if you have lead based paint in your home, you are required to notify possible buyers. That’s a federal law. What you have to disclose for other issues is going to depend on the state where the home is located because these disclosure laws do vary. 

If your home is near a fault line, you have to mention that. If it’s in what’s considered a hazard zone for flooding, then you have to note that. If there’s anything coming in the future – like the city is going to take some of the front yard to widen the road in front of the house – you have to share that information. 

The issues that you have to disclose pertain to anything that can harm the buyer or can be destructive to the house. If a home has a checkered past, then you have to give the potential buyer that information in some states. This would be something like a ghost has been rumored to be on the property or there are unexplained happenings. While not all states require this, if someone died in the home, you have to disclose that information. 

The same thing with the roof. If it leaks in spots, you have to tell the potential buyer that – even if it passed inspection, you still have to share that. If you’ve had problems with the electrical wiring, you have to share this information. Damage to the house from termites has to be shared as well. Structural problems like joint cracks, ceiling cracks or foundation cracks have to be shared. Foundation cracks can be extremely expensive to repair as well as be hazardous to the safety of anyone living there. If you’ve had a black mold problem in the house in the past or a problem with pests, then you have to share that information. If there is asbestos, you have to disclose that. If you had a leaky pipe in the walls or a leaky appliance that’s staying with the home, you have to tell potential buyers about that. If you ever had a room flood due to a broken pipe, you have to share that. 

If you have awful neighbors, a lot of neighborhood noise, or you have sex offenders living near you, then in some states you have to disclose this information. A real estate agent can walk you through the legal maze so that you don’t fail to disclose something important.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.