What does a Seller NOT have to disclose?

usca51275-bwThere are many facts about a home considered “material” to a buyers decision to purchase that a seller must disclose. And it’s in the sellers best interest to make sure those facts are disclosed within five days of a signed purchase agreement. No seller wants to be the subject of a lawsuit post closing because they didn’t disclose something that the buyer finds out about later. Has the home had plumbing problems in the past? Disclose! Is there a pack of barking dogs next door? Disclose! Have there been scorpions on the property? Disclose! Is there a freeway going in within a few blocks of the home? Disclose!

But what about a home’s history that is related to it’s current or former inhabitants? In many cases in Arizona, facts related to current or previous home owners are not required to be disclosed. Sellers are not obligated to report deaths in the home, be they related to natural causes, suicide, or homicide. Sellers do not have to disclose that a person diagnosed with HIV or the AIDS virus lived in the home. No felony crime that took place on the premises has to be disclosed. And, the proximity of a sex offender in the neighborhood is also not required to be disclosed.

The list of what does need to be disclosed is much longer and the topic of another blog post. However while felony crimes are not required to be disclosed, the presence of a methamphetamine lab (due to potential residual toxins) is a requirement.

But what if a death in the home, criminal activity, serious health conditions or sex offenders in the neighborhood is considered material to a buyer? That’s what the inspection period is for. During the inspection period, the buyer can access information from various sources in order to determine facts about the home that are not required to be disclosed by a buyer or a real estate agent. There are a number of websites identifying the location of sex offenders in Arizona:

www.homefacts.com/offenders/Arizona.htm

www.azdps.gov/…/sex_offender/

For a small fee you can access information about an address such as a death in the home,  criminal history, fire, and meth-lab activity: www.diedinhouse.com.

And of course there’s always the google. Google an address and you may find not just listing information, but any prior news article or publicly reported information about that property.

 

 

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