Buying a home for the first time is an exciting but complex process. You may have thought the most difficult part would be finding a location you felt you could call home, but even after you find the right place, there is a still a lot on the line. Unfortunately, real estate transactions are tricky, and several issues could result in a buyer or seller no longer being interested in closing the deal.
Even if you have fallen in love with a home, it is important that you understand any problems that may exist with the property. Amid the excitement of finding a place and your mind jumping to various pictures of you living your life there, it is easy to overlook problems with a home. However, it is crucial that you consider any issues carefully because they could mean you need to keep looking.
While you, as a buyer, should certainly do your research on a property and have a thorough inspection conducted before signing the closing papers, the seller also has obligations under federal and Pennsylvania state laws regarding the disclosure of property issues. Some information you may find in a seller’s disclosure statement includes the following:
- Problems or important details relating to neighbors or neighboring property, such as boundary disputes, homeowners’ association rules or loud noise
- Repairs that the owner made to the home and repairs that still need addressing
- Issues that could put the homeowner’s safety at risk, like lead paint, mold, significant risk of natural disasters and others
- Deaths that have occurred on the property
- Easements, liens or other restrictions currently applicable to the property
You may also want to keep in mind that state laws differ when it comes to what a seller must legally disclose. For example, in some states, it is a requirement to disclose any type of death that occurred on the property, and in other states, that disclosure may only be a requirement if the death occurred due to violent means. If you feel uncertain about whether you are aware of certain information, you can always broach the subject yourself and ask about any concerns you have.
Make or break a deal
It is not unusual for buyers to no longer feel interested in a home because of the issues presented in the seller’s disclosure form. If you see something that you would rather not deal with, you have the option of not making an offer. However, if you review a disclosure form and do not see anything that seems unacceptable, you may feel ready to move forward with the purchase. Closing on a property can be complicated but worth it once you have the keys to your new home in hand.