Disclosure In Real Estate

Definition of "Disclosure in real estate"

Dee Watkins ASSOCIATE BROKER real estate agent

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Dee Watkins ASSOCIATE BROKERelite badge icon

Exp Realty

People can use the term disclosure in ordinary day to day activities. The definition of disclosure is to expose yourself, to show the truth without omitting any important information. People use it in everyday vocabulary, but it is also often used in the legislative system: The prosecutor did not disclose some case sensitive information to the defense team. 

The terms’ uses don’t have more meanings than this, but we’ll further explain how real estate agents used this terminology in real estate transactions.

Disclosure document

The definition of disclosure in real estate encompasses the same idea: not to omit any important information, but this time when a property is concerned. Every seller and buyer deals with disclosure during a property transaction. When the owner of the house decides to sell the property, more often than not, they must disclose any information related to the property in what is called a disclosure document.

 

Generally, this document is a detailed list of information concerning the property that could hurt the value of the house. If the owner does not complete this disclosure document, and the next owners discover problems with the house that they were unaware of before the purchase, the original owner can be sued and even convicted of a crime. The lack of this document does not guarantee the seller from future accusations. If the original owner knew that the house had a problem that would have affected its sale price before the sale, then he/she can be held uncountable and judged as such.

 

Types of disclosure information, as mentioned previously, could be anything that can have a negative impact on the house’s value. Such as the next eight disclosures sellers are required to make:

  • Death in the home - this can raise concerns in regards to the house’s safety rating if the death was as a result of a crime or can cause buyers to backtrack on the purchase due to superstitions or religious beliefs. 
  • Neighborhood Disturbances - it can either be noise from an aggressive neighbor, odor from a compost factory next door, problems with risky neighbors or smoke, or any element that could irritate or endanger the new owners.
  • Threat - if the area where the property is located has a probability or a history of peril of natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, or contamination.
  • Information about Homeowners’ Association - if a Homeowners’ Association governs the home to be purchased, the seller should provide the information to the next owner along with any information related to the HOA meetings if they concern the property.
  • Repairs - if a house had hidden vices or problems that the original owner knows about, they are required to present a clear image of any repairs that are needed, while at the same time provide information concerning previous repairs, any electrical or plumbing repairs or any problems the house has.
  • Water Damage - if there are any leaks, if there is water in places where, it shouldn’t be it can cause extensive damages to the property, the structure of the house itself, and damage to personal belongings which is why the seller should disclose past or present leaks.
  • Absent Items - if a house is purchased and during the negotiation, it is mentioned that it comes with a fully equipped kitchen. Still, upon relocation, the buyers are missing a fridge, a sink, or cabinets, a disclosure document needs to specify what items the seller includes in the purchasing price.
  • Other disclosures - if the house is in a historic district, it would require special repairs or renovations; if the house has termites, changes without a permit, problematic boundaries, etc, the seller should mention it in a disclosure document.

 

To better understand how disclosure in real estate can be implemented or how sellers should implement disclosure, it is essential to check your state’s requirements. State jurisdictional laws or even local ones do not follow the same pattern nationally. Hence, you must understand the disclosure legalities in your town and how they apply to your house.

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