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Importance of real estate disclosures in property transactions

On Behalf of | Feb 18, 2021 | Real Estate |

A home is the largest purchase that many people living in Georgia will make in their lives. Understandably, there can be a great deal of anxiety involved with the process of buying or selling a residence. A real estate disclosure is one measure used to alleviate some of this anxiety. A disclosure statement also serves to keep people honest when transferring the ownership of real property.

What are disclosure statements?

Real estate disclosure statements are legally binding documents governed by the statutes of a state’s real estate law. The seller must to list every fact about a property that may influence buying decisions. The buyer must sign the document in acknowledgment of the facts disclosed. The document emphasizes existing conditions with a property that may cost a new buyer significant money down the line. Items listed may include:

  • Defects in major household systems
  • Paint hazards
  • Water damage
  • Pest problems
  • Structural flaws
  • Issues with neighbors or the neighborhood

Who drafts a disclosure statement?

The responsibility for drafting a real estate disclosure statement rests with the seller. Several templates are available that can guide a seller’s efforts while drafting the document. Copies of disclosure forms are available through a realtor or real estate regulatory agency.

Disclosure statements and inspections

Some property buyers mistakenly believe a disclosure statement is not as relevant to them if an inspection by a professional. A real estate inspector will perform an exhaustive check of the property and compile a list of the potential problems. However, real estate inspections only cover physical property features and not “invisible” factors like deed restrictions and any liens on the property.

Buying and selling a home requires a large commitment of time and other resources from both parties. Individuals involved with any stage of the real estate process may benefit from speaking with an attorney.

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