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Monday, July 6, 2015

Residential Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law in Georgia

Prospective homebuyers have a lot to take into consideration, such as a new daily commute, local schools and the condition of the home. Everyone is different – some do-it-yourselfers are looking for a home improvement project, while others want a turnkey solution. But one thing remains the same: nobody likes to be surprised by a defect in the home that was undisclosed at the time of purchase.

Under Georgia law, home sellers are required to disclose any known defects to potential homebuyers. While sellers want to trade their home at the highest possible value, it’s best to fully disclose any known defects and answer questions truthfully to avoid potential lawsuits. Residential real estate "Failure to Disclose" cases arise when sellers cover up problems in an effort to sell the property for more than it's worth.

The standard real estate sales contract used by most agents contains a fill in the blank checklist for a seller to disclosed problems. Even if you are not using an agent, sellers should provide some sort of disclosure statement that lists known defects. Types of defects that should be included on a disclosure statement include, but aren't limited to:
• Termite damage
• Mold problems
• Foundation issues
• A leaky basement or roof
• Defects with major systems (such as the HVAC system)

Even with a detailed seller disclosure in place, it’s still smart for home buyers to go the extra mile and do their own research, such as looking into local crime stats or talking with the neighbors.

Overall, sellers should be well aware the lack of proper disclosure can result in a lawsuit. But sellers can prevent accusations fraud or misrepresentation by erring on the side of caution and fully disclosing any potential issues. If you are a seller with questions about the legality of your disclosure, or if you’ve recently purchased a home are experiencing issues that were not fully disclosed, contact Scott Mayfield today at smayfield@smithwelchlaw.com or call him at 770-358-3630.

Smith, Welch, Webb and White is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia. We have an uncompromising commitment to serving our clients and our community. Our team of experts routinely handles a wide range of legal matters, and will provide outstanding service for you, your family or your business.

 

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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