Uncovering Secrets In Your New Home

Real Estate Blog

If you've been in the market for a home for a while, you probably already realize that there is no such thing as a home without flaws. Some flaws are just more forgivable than others. What's important when viewing a home with an eye towards making it your own is knowledge. Fortunately, real estate laws and practices are usually on the buyer's side when it comes to finding out a home's secrets. Read on to find out more.

Federal Disclosures

You'll find that what must be revealed about a home's past history varies quite a bit from state to state, but there is one federal disclosure that covers all states. You must be informed, in writing, if there's any possibility of lead-based paint on the property (for homes built before 1978, that is). Other than that, there are what are called material facts that dictate what has to be disclosed in all states. Each state has its own material facts.

Location Matters

Certain areas of the country can also influence what disclosures are required by law. If you live in an earthquake-prone location, you might be provided with a disclosure addressing that issue. Most states require the seller to disclose homes that lie in certain flood zones and hurricane zones. Others might require the owner to reveal environmental problems with the water, air, or noise problems. It's vital that buyers be aware of what disclosures must be made and to perform their own due diligence to discover issues that exist but that may not be required by law to be disclosed.

Material Facts

This catch-all phrase simply (and vaguely) means that if the seller believes it will influence the buyer's decision about the home, it must be disclosed. Since the laws vary on what has to be disclosed, this list should serve as reminders to buyers to do some digging and know what they are purchasing. Some of those material facts include:

  1. Zoning — If you know the empty land behind your home is about to become multi-family housing, a landfill, or a manufacturing plant, you need to know about it.
  2. Noise — Visit the home during a variety of times and days to determine facts about highway or airplane noise.
  3. Deaths in the home — Not all states require this disclosure, but you can probably find out about it if it's an issue for you.
  4. Pests — In areas of the country where termites are a big problem, the seller may be required to reveal the presence of pests or any past infestation issues.
  5. Mold — This may not be required, and as long as it's completely eradicated, it may not be an issue (if the moisture source has been eliminated).

To find out more about disclosures for single-family homes, speak to your real estate agent.

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