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Required Disclosures when Selling U.S. Real Estate

You may be forced to disclose certain problems with your home when you intend to sell it. Otherwise, you may be charged with fraudulently hiding flaws in your home.

In general, you are only required to disclose to buyers what you yourself are aware of concerning potential problems with your home. This does not obligate you to have a home inspector come to your house and look for problems. In addition, you are not obligated to fix any of the listed problems either, only to inform the buyer.

It would still be beneficial for you to have a home inspector visit your house as this can help you determine what repairs need to be made and an inspector can help you draw up any required disclosures. Further, this can also be helpful in pricing your home.

When deciding which things to disclose, if you are unsure about a particular item, disclose it anyway. This way you protect yourself and avoid liability. This can also help to increase the buyer's confidence that you are treating them fairly.

Importantly, you are required to abide by federal law if your house was built before 1978.

According to the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, you need to:

  • Disclose all known lead-based paint and hazards in the house
  • Provide buyers with the EPA pamphlet, Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home
  • Mention in the contract that you have completed all requirements
  • Keep signed acknowledgements for three years
  • Provide buyers with a ten-day opportunity to test he house for lead

You can be sued for triple the damages for failing to comply with these requirements by the buyer.

Call the Law Office of Steven R. Sutton, Esq. for advice if you are pursuing selling your home and we can provide you with the legal counsel you need.