Sellers are required to disclose certain things about the property their selling. If they don’t, whether purposely or inadvertently, they could wind up in some legal hot water. You probably know that you have to disclose to a buyer such obvious things as structural defects, but some of the other disclosures requirements may surprise you. But you have to be in compliance with state and local laws nonetheless. Read on to find out about the top 5 things you need to disclose when selling a house in Atlanta.
1. Neighborhood Nuisances
This first one may come as a surprise, but when selling a house in Atlanta, you’ll have to tell the buyer about neighborhood nuisances. Nuisances that typically fall within disclosure requirements typically such things as “a noise or odor from a source outside the property that could irritate the property’s occupants.” Here are a couple of examples . . .
“North Carolina requires sellers to disclose noises, odors, smoke, or other nuisances from commercial, industrial, or military sources that affect the property.”
“Michigan requires sellers to disclose farms, farm operations, landfills, airports, shooting ranges, and other nuisances in the vicinity, but Pennsylvania leaves it up to the buyer to determine the presence of agricultural nuisances.”
The neighborhood-nuisance disclosure requirement, then, varies from locality to locality and is also susceptible to interpretation. So if you have any questions about this, be sure to contact a Atlanta agent at (404) 977-5054.
2. Health Hazards
As you likely know, you also need to disclose health hazards when selling a house in Atlanta, especially an older house.
According to industry experts, lead paint is a frequent issue in this area. “This is an important issue to be addressed, especially if your house was built before 1978. It doesn’t even matter if the lead paint has been removed or not; you have to inform the potential buyers about the fact that your property was once painted with lead. The lead paint disclosure is a federal law.”
But the law requires you to disclose only those issues that you’re aware of. “As the seller, you are not required to investigate whether or not lead paint has been used inside the home.”
Other common health hazards/toxic materials dealt with in disclosures are radon and asbestos. “If you as a seller are aware of any of these toxic materials, it would be in your best interest to tell the buyer.”
3. Death in the House
This disclosure requirement varies from state to state in the details, but you may need to disclose the fact that someone died in the home if you’re selling a house in Atlanta.
Typically, “a seller is required to disclose deaths related to the condition of the property or violent crimes . . . If a previous occupant’s child drowned in the swimming pool because the pool didn’t have a safety fence, for example, the seller would need to disclose the death even if the safety issue has been remedied.”
You do not, however, have to disclose a death in the home if the deceased person died under “natural conditions.” But it may be better to be open about it anyway. “Buyers will always hear about things from the neighbors, and the surprise could cause them to back out of a purchase contract or wonder what else the seller is not telling them.”
4. Draining Issues and Water Damage
When selling a house in Atlanta or anywhere else, you’re required to disclose any drainage problems and/or water damage. It’s a common problem, and also one that sellers often try to cover up – but they shouldn’t.
“Water damage arising from drainage issues is common in houses, and it also happens to be one of the problems that homeowners try to hide the most when selling. This is not advisable, however, as it can easily cause mold over time for the new occupants of the property. The best thing to do in this case is to come clean to the potential buyer by disclosing any past and present drainage issues you might have had or are currently having. This way, the buyer can be informed and can prepare adequately for it.”
5. Structural Defects and Systems Issues
And anyone selling a house in Atlanta not only should but also has to disclose any structural defects and problems with the major systems.
Ideally, you (as a seller) would take of structural problems before listing, but you may not be able to. In that case, you’ll have to include those things in the disclosure – such things as cracks in the foundation, sinking, and roof leaks. “You should also state whether or not you have had to deal with these issues before. Nobody wants to buy a structurally weak property.”
And then there are the major home systems – plumbing, electrical, HVAC. Because problems with these systems can be very costly to fix, you’ll have to include them in the disclosure.
Get the Assistance You Need for Selling a House in Atlanta
As we mentioned early on, a full disclosure concerning any problems with your home is a legal requirement. And what we’ve listed here, while important, isn’t everything. You Atlanta agent, though, can help you, providing the guidance you’ll need to be sure you’re in compliance with local and state laws. So if selling a house in Atlanta is on the horizon for you, be sure to contact us today at (404) 977-5054.