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Home > Blog > Real Estate > Real Estate Disclosures by Sellers Prior to Sale

Real Estate Disclosures by Sellers Prior to Sale


Buying a real estate property is a rollercoaster ride of hopes and disappointments.  You find a listing for your dream home, but when your real estate agent contacts the seller about it, you find out that it is already under contract.  You find one that is still available, and you make an offer but find yourself engaged in a bidding war with other prospective buyers.  When you finally find an available property at a price you can afford and jump through numerous hoops to get to closing, you are unpleasantly surprised to find out how many repairs the property still needs.  Doesn’t the law require sellers to notify buyers about the condition of their property, including anything that might need repair in the near future?  Isn’t there something analogous to a lemon law for real estate purchases?  Yes and no.  You think you are on firm footing until you read the fine print, as with so much else in the world of real estate transactions.  For help doing your due diligence about finding out the condition of a real estate property before you agree to buy it, contact a Bronx real estate attorney.

Which Defects of the Real Estate Property Must the Seller Disclose?

New York’s Property Condition Disclosure Act (PCDA) does not require sellers to provide information to the buyer about the condition of a real estate property, but it gives them a financial incentive to do so.  Therefore, when you receive a copy of the form, all six pages of it, with boxes checked and phrases scrawled or typed in the blanks, you feel confident about buying.  The good news is that the form asks sellers to report material defects of many aspects of the property.  The bad news is that it does not require them to inspect the property very carefully or research public records about its history of damage and repair.  Furthermore, the PCDA only applies to disclosures about material defects, which means major problems.  The seller might have noticed a problem with a wall, pipe, or appliance but decided that it was no big deal.

When Is the Seller Exempt From Making Disclosures?

The worse news is that New York law allows for many loopholes that exempt sellers from disclosing any information about the condition of the property.  For example, a seller can get an exemption from the requirement to fill out the disclosure form simply by giving the buyer a $500 credit toward closing costs.  Furthermore, the seller does not need to provide any disclosures at all if the seller gained possession of the house through probate proceedings, foreclosure, or a bankruptcy case; in these cases, the seller has no responsibility to find out about the condition of the house.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Bronx Real Estate Attorney

A real estate lawyer can help you proceed with caution when you are considering buying a real estate property that might be costly to repair.  Contact Cavallo & Cavallo in the Bronx, New York to set up a consultation.



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