Before you put that “fixer-upper” on the market, you should stop to consider the consequences of lying on your property disclosure statement.
Do you remember the time that you did some repairs to the windows and your contractor took you aside and quietly said that he had encountered something that resembled the dreaded four-letter word M-O-L-D in your home? Do you remember averting your eyes as the wall was resealed without the proper steps having been taken to deal with the chronic moisture? Do you recall skimming over the question 5B on your PA Sellers Property Disclosure Statement about water infiltration?
While it behooves the buyer to do their due diligence, starting with professional housing inspections and extending to chatting up the neighbors, it is also the responsibility of the seller to document, to the best of their ability, any incidents which might affect the value of the property.
A seller’s property disclosure statement is something given to the buyer by the seller documenting their knowledge of potential issues with the property. It is not the same thing as an inspection; because there are things the seller may not be aware of that an inspection can bring to light. The statement covers things like repairs or issues with the roof and/or basement, the seller’s awareness of termite damage, structural issues with the property, water supply, sewage and heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, land and flooding problems, hazardous waste issues, and finally any legal restrictions.
Lying on your statement may open you up to lawsuits down the road, especially if a buyer is able to gather evidence which points to your prior knowledge of a problem. Each state has its own disclosure requirements, and municipalities within the state may have their own additional requirements. Click here for more on PA’s legal code related to property disclosure from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and get started filling out your PA Sellers Property Disclosure Statement form with PDFfiller now.