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What do I have to disclose in a residential home sale?

Selling your North Carolina home can be exciting. But while the process might seem relatively straightforward, it can be quite complex. This can leave you slightly on edge, especially once you realize that a mistake in the process can prove costly and could even derail the transaction altogether.

This is especially true when issues pertaining to disclosure arise. In this post we want to look at some of the mandatory disclosures that North Carolina home sellers have to make.

What are homeowners required to disclose when selling a home?

Before or at the time an offer is made to purchase your home, you must provide a prospective buyer with a disclosure form that complies with North Carolina law. You’ll complete this form that requires you to answer “yes” or “no” to a series of questions. The disclosure form covers issues with:

  • Electrical systems
  • HVAC systems
  • Plumbing
  • Structural integrity
  • Sewage lines
  • Fixtures
  • Zoning
  • Environmental concerns

Answering these questions can seem simple enough, but you might find yourself wondering if there are other issues you need to disclose that aren’t covered by the disclosure form. Hazards like the existence of radon and asbestos must be disclosed, but so, too, should any history that could pose a risk to the homeowner, such as whether the home previously had any health and safety issues. For example, it must be disclosed if methamphetamine was previously manufactured in the home.

You should also disclose any upcoming construction projects that you’re aware of that will occur nearby, as well as any pending litigation against the community. You should also disclose other factors that may impact the homeowner’s lifestyle, such as excessive noise and pollutants. Disclosure of any defects that you know of that exist on the property should also be made.

Is there anything that doesn’t have to be disclosed?

Yes. You don’t have to disclose if there’s been a death in the home, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it. You also don’t have to let buyers know of items that are missing from the home, especially if they’re easily noticeable upon inspection. Some other issues that don’t have to be disclosed include:

  • Flood and fire damage, so long as repairs were made pursuant to local code.
  • Whether any sex offenders live nearby.
  • The square footage of the home.
  • Your financial positioning as it relates to the home’s mortgage.
  • Any concerns about the home being haunted.

As you can see, there are some intricacies here. You have to strike a balance between complying with the state’s disclosure laws while also not overly disclosing to the point that you miss out on a sale. That’s why you must be careful as you navigate the disclosure process.

Do you have questions about disclosures in your real estate transaction?

If so, then now is the time to seek out answers. You don’t want to wait so long that you’re then in a legal predicament. After all, failing to disclose information that must be disclosed pursuant to law could open you up to liability.

Please keep in mind that this post isn’t meant to be exhaustive when it comes to mandatory disclosures. If you’re unsure about what you need to disclose or whether a specific fact needs to be disclosed, then please reach out to a professional to discuss the matter. You don’t want your home sale or your future to be jeopardized simply because you didn’t ask a question. So, be diligent, be thorough, and ensure that you’re following the law throughout every aspect of your residential home sale.