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Property Disclosure Statement

property disclosure statement is a form used for listing any existing issues and/or defects with a residential property. It is completed by the seller and sent to the buyer before entering into a purchase agreement. While nearly all states require the form to be completed, they often differ in the exact information they necessitate to be disclosed.

Disclosure Forms: By State


Lead-Disclosure Statement

This form is mandated by the Federal government and must be attached to the Purchase Agreement.

Download: Adobe PDF


Contents

What is a Property Disclosure Statement?

property disclosure statement is a document that is provided to the buyer of a property after an offer will (or has been) made. It is a requirement for those intending on entering into a purchase agreement and is often attached as an addendum to the form itself.

The contract lets the buyer know of any serious issues that affect the property as well as issues that have recently been addressed. It is the seller’s duty to inform the buyer of any issues they know about. In other words, if the seller did not disclose an issue that they were unaware of, they cannot be held liable for not informing the buyer of it.

What Must be Disclosed?

Although the information a seller must disclose to the buyer varies from state to state, sellers generally need to disclose if there is (or recently was) any of the following:

  • Issues with water/heating/air conditioning systems;
  • Plumbing clogs or leaks;
  • Liens against the property;
  • Bugs, termites, or other pests;
  • Zoning violations;
  • Hazards such as lead paint, mold, asbestos, etc;
  • Property line disputes;
  • Repairs and renovations that were done without a permit;
  • Any leaky windows or doors;
  • Roof damage or leaks;
  • If the property is in a flood zone;
  • Whether someone died or was murdered;
  • A crime that recently occurred (such as a meth lab on the property); and
  • General information on the property (utilities, ownership history, year built, etc.).

Note on “Buyer Beware”

Also known as “caveat emptor”, buyer-beware is a statement that means a buyer is purchasing a property “as-is”.  Several states are considered “buyer beware”, effectively placing the responsibility of finding issues with a property on the buyer.

With the exception of toxic/dangerous issues (such as asbestos), the seller is not obligated to disclose damage and issues with the property. The following states employ laws that can be interpreted as buyer beware:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

How to Use (4 Steps)

Using the disclosure form is a fairly straightforward process; so long the seller makes a conscious effort to disclose all known issues with the property, they will be free from

Step 1 – Download the form

Click on the state (above) that corresponds to the state the property is located in. This is very important, as each state has specific requirements as to what the seller will be required to disclose to the buyer. The document can be completed step-by-step by clicking on the PDF form and by filling in on a computer, or printed and completed by hand with a pen (a pencil should not be used).

Step 2 – Go through the property

Using the disclosure form as a guide, the seller will need to walk through the property and visually inspect each element for signs of damage or wear. Test out appliances and utilities to ensure they work (flush the toilet, open/close windows, run the hot water, and so on). Inspect the walls, foundation, roof, and other major areas.

Being honest and upfront will improve the buyer’s trust in the seller, especially since a home inspection will reveal nearly everything that would be reported in the disclosure anyway. If the seller doesn’t live in a “buyer beware” state and they purposefully withhold a known issue with the property from the form, they could be liable for it later on.

Step 3 – Sign it

Once the seller has answered each question honestly and to the full extent of their knowledge, they can sign the disclosure. Their signature can be recorded by printing the form and signing by hand, or by uploading the completed form to eSign and signing it electronically.

Step 4 – Send / attach to the agreement

The seller will need to send the signed disclosure to the buyer via mail and/or via email. Once the buyer has reviewed each page of the agreement, they will need to initial on the first page and sign their name on the last page. If the parties will be entering into a purchase agreement, the disclosure should be attached to the end of the contract.

Disclosure Laws: By State

STATE STATUTES
Alabama No statute (buyer beware)
Alaska AS 34.70.010, AS 34.70.050
Arizona Hill vs. Jones, § 32-2156
Arkansas No statute (buyer beware)
California §§ 1102 to 1102.19
Colorado Article 35.7
Connecticut § 20-327b
Delaware §§ 2570 to 2578
Florida Johnson vs. Davis, § 161.57, § 404.056, § 689.261, § 720.401, § 718.503
Georgia § 44-1-16
Hawaii § 508D-5
Idaho § 55-2508
Illinois 765 ILCS 77
Indiana IC 32-21-5
Iowa § 558A.2
Kansas § 58-30,106
Kentucky § 324.360
Louisiana § 3198
Maine § 172, § 173
Maryland § 10-702
Massachusetts § 15.301, § 197A
Michigan §§ 565.951 to 565.966
Minnesota § 513.54, § 513.55
Mississippi §§ 89-1-501 to 89-1-527
Missouri § 442.600, § 442.606, § 260.213
Montana § 37-51-313
Nebraska § 76-2-120
Nevada § 113.120, § 113.130
New Hampshire § 477:4-a, § 477:4-d
New Jersey § 46:3C-10
New Mexico §§ 47-13-1 to 47-13-5
New York Art. 14, § 462
North Carolina §§ G.S. 47E-1 to 47E-10
North Dakota § 47-10-02.1
Ohio § 5302.30
Oklahoma 60, § 833, 60, § 834
Oregon § 105.464, § 105.465
Pennsylvania §§ 7301 to 7315
Rhode Island §§ 5-20.8-1 to 8-13
South Carolina §§ 27-50-10 to 27-50-270
South Dakota § 43-4-42, § 43-4-43, § 43-4-44
Tennessee §§ 66-5-201 to 66-5-213
Texas § 5.008
Utah § 57-27-201
Vermont § 2296.4
Virginia §§ 55.1-700 to 714
Washington §§ 64.06.005 to .900
West Virginia No statute (buyer beware)
Wisconsin §§ 709.001 to .08
Wyoming § 33-28-303 (agents only)

Sample

Download: Adobe PDF, MS Word (.docx), OpenDocument (.odt)