Disclosure

Disclosure statements are documents provided to real estate buyers by a seller or broker that documents negative facts relating to the legal status and physical condition of a property. This information can include; non-permit additions/renovations/work, system or appliance defects, property liens, bankruptcy proceedings, neighborhood nuisances and more. Most states require sellers to provide Disclosure statements as part of the residential real estate sale process, after a buyer has accepted an offer (prior to accepting a loan). If the buyer elects to withdraw from an agreement after discovering negative information, they are usually entitled to a refund of escrow without penalty. When mandated, buyers are required to deny or accept the Disclosure statement by signing-off on it. Certain states and municipalities/counties require the disclosure of environmental hazards which include earthquake fault zones, wild-land fire regions, flood hazard areas, dam inundation areas and more. Other defects listed on Disclosure forms may include the status of the foundation, sewer systems, roofing, moisture, water systems and others. In some cases real estate agents are required to disclose if they represent the interest of the seller or buyer. Disclosure statements can be very detailed. Disclosure statements can protect buyers from purchasing property, they otherwise would not have, if they were aware of anomalies associated with the residence.