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Disclosure Forms

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Seller's Disclosure Forms - When They are Required

Without a required seller disclosure form, a seller can be held liable. A seller's disclosure form is a legally required statement that discloses important or relevant information to a real property buyer. A sellers property disclosure form is governed by state and federal laws. The parties to a seller disclosure agreement are the seller of the real property and prospective buyer. A seller disclosure form must be signed by both parties of the seller disclosure agreement. By signing the home seller disclosure, a seller guarantees that all lawfully needed information is included in the house disclosure. A buyer's signature indicates that the buyer has received the disclosure statement.

Disclosure statements used in real estate transactions are called sellers property disclosure statements. Usually, a real estate disclosure statement will be enclosed within the transaction document and the parties need not sign a separate disclosure document. In real estate disclosure, a seller has to disclose to a buyer the latent defects in the property. A latent defect is a defect in a property that cannot be noticed with a reasonable inspection. However, sellers need not disclose patent defects in property disclosures. Patent defects are defects that can be detected by normal inspection.

A residential disclosure statement is a disclosure statement made by a home seller to a buyer while selling a home. A home seller disclosure statement should contain all identified issues with the property and other relevant property information, like faulty wiring and presence of lead based paint. Property seller disclosure house forms disclose honest and accurate information about problems related to the house.

Some states like California require sellers to give buyers a natural hazard disclosure statement when the property to be sold lies within hazardous areas, such as flood zones, earthquake fault zones, or fire zones. Lead based paint disclosure statutes require home owners to disclose the presence of lead-based paint in the property to prospective buyers or tenants. In some jurisdictions, certain transactions like transfer between relatives or a foreclosure sale are exempt from the duty of providing seller disclosure statements.

A seller who provides false information through property disclosure statements can be prosecuted for misrepresentation. No sellers disclosure when required may lead to civil damages. If the seller fails to provide a copy of the house disclosure statement to the buyer, some jurisdictions allow buyers to rescind a transaction.

For proper disclosure, houses aren't required to have every flaw described on sellers disclosure statements. A well-drafted seller's disclosure form will disclose all the material defects in a property and relieve sellers from liability. Some of the property information required in a home disclosure form includes:

  • known defects
  • easements or encroachments on the property
  • presence of lead paint or other toxins
  • floodplain or wetland classification

Seller Disclosure Forms FAQs

What is a seller disclosure form?

A seller disclosure form is a disclosure statement prepared by a seller in compliance with seller disclosure statutes. A seller disclosure form discloses the condition of a property to be sold. A seller has to disclose all relevant and material information known to him/her about the property to be sold. However, a home disclosure form is not a warranty by the seller and it is not an alternative to inspections a buyer may wish to take. In order to be legally valid, a disclosure form must be signed by the seller and a prospective buyer. A seller's signature in a disclosure form is an assurance that all statutorily required information is included in the form.

What is a house disclosure?

A real estate home disclosure statement is a statement made by a seller in a real estate transaction. A home disclosure statement contains all relevant information about a property within the seller's knowledge that may materially affect the value of the property. A house disclosure statement is also called sellers property disclosure statement.

Am I legally liable if I fail to disclose material defects in a home disclosure?

A buyer is legally entitled to find out all relevant information and any material defects in the property that s/he is going to purchase. A seller has a statutory duty to disclose all relevant facts about the property, such as flooding or lead paint. However, a seller is not legally responsible if s/he fails to disclose any defects that a buyer can discover by ordinary inspection. Thus, in property disclosures, a seller is legally responsible to disclose only latent defects in a property and not patent defects. Latent defects are faults in a property that are unnoticeable through ordinary inspection. A patent defect is a fault in the property that can be noticed through ordinary inspection. A buyer can prosecute a seller for non disclosure of material information. The offense of non disclosure of information is called a no sellers disclosure offense.

What is a natural hazard sellers property disclosure?

A natural hazard disclosure statement, also called a natural hazard sellers disclosure form, is a statement prepared by a seller when a property to be sold lies within natural hazard prone areas like fire zones, flood zones, and earthquake zones. States like California require sellers to furnish natural hazard disclosure statements to prospective buyers when the property to be sold lies within a natural hazard zone. Some states provide a standardized disclosure format to comply with the law and allow sellers to seek out a third party disclosure house to prepare this report for them. The seller and the prospective buyer both should sign a natural hazard disclosure statement.

What is a residential disclosure form?

A residential disclosure form is a disclosure statement prepared by a home owner describing all known defects in a residential property to a prospective buyer or a tenant. A residential seller's disclosure form or a home seller disclosure form must furnish all relevant property information required by disclosure statutes. Property information, such as presence of lead based paint or faulty wiring that a buyer cannot find out through ordinary inspection, should be disclosed in a home disclosure or property disclosure statement. By providing a house disclosure statement to a buyer, a seller guarantees that all material defects and other relevant information about the property are disclosed.

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