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Real Estate Disclosures: What You Need to Know

Disclosures are a crucial part of any real estate translation. Regardless of if you are buying or selling your home, you should be familiar with disclosures and understand that even though they are meant to reveal any defects in a home, not everyone plays by the rules. To learn more about disclosures, contact a New York real estate attorney.

What is a Real Estate Disclosure? 

A real estate disclosure statement is given to buyers to provide significant information about the property. Additionally, the disclosure documents the seller’s experience with the home and the property. Disclosures can include anything from leaky windows to unpermitted work and structural issues to previous termite damage. Disclosures inform the buyer of the potential problems and protect the seller against future legal damage.
If you have questions about real estate disclosures and any legal issues associated with selling a home, contact a NY real estate lawyer.

Things to know about real estate disclosures

The first thing to understand about real estate disclosures is that they are designed to reveal any unseen and hidden defects in a home. Though not always intentional, a homeowner often puts a fresh coat of paint on a house to make it more presentable for showings. The new coat of paint can cover up defects in the home, and the disclosure lets the buyer know what the paint is underneath.
Disclosure laws vary by state, county, and city where the home is located. Most disclosures have several documents, including Natural Hazards Disclosure Statement, State Transfer Disclosure Statements, and other forms related to the condition of the home, property, and surrounding area. Additionally, the statement should include previous home improvements, renovations, and upgrades conducted by the sellers. Other disclosures may consist of nuisance neighbors, troubles in the community, problems with wildlife, and pets on the premises.
Some disclosure statements have a series of yes and no questions for the seller to answer. A real estate attorney can help answer questions about disclosure requirements and help prepare the documents needed.

What to do with a disclosure statement? 

Once given the disclosure statement, buyers should take time to cross-check all disclosures made by the seller with city building permits and zoning reports. Look for any work completed without permits or approvals by the municipality because these repairs or updates may not have been completed up to code. An attorney specializing in New York real estate law can help cross-check and authenticate all disclosures given by the seller.

Is a disclosure statement the same thing as an inspection? 

A disclosure statement is not the same thing as an inspection. The disclosure statement is something the seller writes up or fills out to document their knowledge of the property. An independent inspection is conducted by a third party to reveal defects the seller may or may not have been aware of.

How an attorney can help

A New York City real estate attorney can help cross-check all disclosures with permitting and zoning reports, validating everything was included. Additionally, suppose something was left off the disclosure, resulting in a problem. In that case, the attorney can help file a claim against the previous owner/seller for damages related to not disclosing specific items. As a seller, a real estate attorney can help ensure you have included everything needed in the disclosure, reducing the risk of being held liable for any damages associated with the improper disclosure or failure to disclose something about the property.
When buying or selling a home, consult with NY real estate lawyers to discuss questions and concerns related to the disclosure. If you have questions or need additional information, Call VMW LAW. A real estate attorney will be happy to assist you.