10/17/2017

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Disclosing Facts About Your Property

It's important to remember that disclosure laws have not always been there and if they were, they were not enforced as strongly as they are today.

If you are considering putting your property on the market for sale, it may be a good idea to find out all you can about the history of the home. Many homes are hundreds of years old and have had many owners, tenents, or squatters during that time.

You may never be able to find out who lived in your home or on the property grounds before you bought it, but you should learn as much about your property as you can.

Even though some material facts can be readily seen with the naked eye, other's can't, and just because you can't see things doesn't mean that they are not present or they could have been hidden years ago. You can live in a home for years and not have a clue about things that went on in it before you bought it.

This is why most realtors will do an inspection of a property before listing it for sale. Then they will ask if you know of any material fact that you know about such as a leaking roof, plumbing or electrical problems, damage to floors, walls, or anything that may not be seen with the naked eye.

In most transactions, title searches, termite reports and completions are ordered to protect sellers, buyers, realtors, lenders, and others involved in the transaction. On top of that, most realtors will insist on having their buyers have a physical inspection performed by a state licensed physical inspector before the closing of an escrow.

But even with that, there may be things that may have happened years ago that may not be easy to uncover such as a murder, suicide, or natural death inside a home, garage, or on the property. There may have been skeletal remains found on the property, buried under the home or in the back yard.

The home may have been used as a drug house. This could create a major problem even though the current owner may, or may not, have knowledge of it. Drugs may linger in homes for years behind walls, under floor boards, in attics, and it may seep into drywall, insulation, or find it's way into the soil.

It is estimated that millions of properties around the country are contaminated with drugs or their chemical components. This makes for dangerous conditions for babies, elderly people, people with respiratory illnesses, neurological problems, and people with mental and physical disabilities.

Disclosure laws are written to inform potential home buyers of dangerous conditions in homes, apartments, and farm and ranch lands. The failure to disclose material facts, known or unknown, about property is illegal in most states and could cost you thousands of dollars in law suits, attorney's fees, court costs, and judgments.

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