Sellers asked to reveal defects in their house

April 26, 1992|By Kiplinger's Magazine

The rules of home-selling are changing from buyer beware to seller tell all.

As a result of recent court cases, new state laws and pressure from the National Association of Realtors, sellers are increasingly being asked to disclose known defects right from the start.

And buyers are far more likely to hold sellers responsible for problems discovered after the contract is signed.

But written disclosure statements won't necessarily keep you out of court.

Such disclosures still are voluntary in half the states, with only California and Maine requiring them -- and Maine limits it to sales involving a real estate agent.

Sellers have long been liable for misrepresentations about major defects, including the withholding of information about hidden problems.

And most states hold sellers responsible for any major defect they knew about or could reasonably have known about.

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