Why Are Property Disclosures So Important?
As an American homeowner you're required to follow certain regulations for the benefit of all. One of those requirements is a disclosure relating to lead based paint hazards. If a home was built before 1978 federal law says the homeowner must disclose any lead based paint hazards and provide the new owner a copy of the "Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home". You can see this pamphlet by clicking here. Or you can visit the EPA website for lead by clicking here on the Environmental Protection Agency website here. You must provide any buyer a 10 day window to test the house for lead.
Some of the other disclosures include: meth labs, asbestos, flood plain, woodstove, radon, drainage, mold and anything else what would provide a safety risk. In Oregon, as a Realtor we are required to have the seller sign real estate property disclosures which is a 4 page document that specifies every possible question as it relates to the home. This document is handed to the buyer for to read and sign. The Oregon purchase contract specifies the buyer has 10 days to review and accept the property disclosures unless specified otherwise. The "AS-IS" clause in the contract does not void any of the disclosures required by law.
As a general rule always tell the truth and disclose as many facts as possible because that way the new owner cannot come back at you telling you that it was not disclosed. As an example, if your roof has all sorts of leakage problems and you answered the roof disclosure question untruthfully. When new homeowner finds out the roof has had major leakage problems and they further find out you purposely did not disclose these facts, then the old owner could be held liable many years after the sale.
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