When selling a home it is always good policy to disclose any known material facts about a house. Hiding something that may be important to a buyer simply because “they didn’t ask” has the potential to cause problems down the road and maybe even end up in a legal battle.
Disclosure laws differ by state so what must be disclosed in some states may not be required in others. To help home sellers meet their disclosure obligations the state REALTOR® Associations have developed forms that the seller can use. The forms cover the most common items that might be asked by a buyer. But often there may be other unique things about a property that are not covered on the standard form. As a seller, should you wait to see if the buyer will ask you directly about the planned toxic waste dump on the property next door? Probably not.
Even in states that have very liberal disclosure laws a seller can be held accountable for failing to disclose something that might affect the future enjoyment of the buyer. Under the rules of common law, the courts have often sided with buyers who after purchasing a home discovered that a seller hid important information about the property.
In Arizona, the laws on disclosure are very stringent. Even in cases where the seller is not required to disclose they may still wish to disclose to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Because even if the buyer doesn’t ask, the seller may still be responsible.
Today, we live in a highly litigious society. A lawsuit may end up costing more than the loss you would have suffered had you disclosed.
In summary, the rule is universal, honesty is the best policy. If you know something you should disclose.
Joe Domino is a Realtor® serving the Phoenix & Scottsdale metro area. You can find more great information by visiting his website at www.Scottsdale-AZHomes.com.