Disclosures are an important part of the home buying process for both the buyer and the seller. It allows the seller to present any known issues about the house before the buyer agrees to go into formal agreement to purchase the home. What to disclose can be tricky to figure out, contact an agent at CENTURY 21 North East to answer any questions you may have.
What is a Disclosure?
A disclosure is a form that is often required for a seller to fill out and share with a potential buyer before moving forward with a sale. It refers to any defects in the home that you must disclose when in the process of selling your home. These defects include the foundation of your home, skylights, plumbing, HVAC, etc. Disclosures can differ from state to state. Below you will find a short summary of the disclosure laws for each of the states you can find a home through Century 21 North East.
Why Does a Disclosure Matter When You Sell Your Home?
If you're aware of a major problem such as a large crack in the foundation or if the roof leaks when it snows or rains, those problems need to be brought to the attention of the buyer before they purchase the house. Disclosing these items allows for the buyer to decide if they want to move forward with the purchase with the issues that may be present or walk away from the sale. Find some important state disclosure information in our resources section, here.
Massachusetts Disclosure Laws:
Massachusetts is a caveat emptor state, meaning the buyer is required to ask the correct questions and perform a home inspection in order to determine the property's physical condition and features. The only required disclosures a seller must make in Massachusetts are the presence of lead paint and of a septic system.
If you're selling a home in Massachusetts that was built before 1978, it is required that you disclose the presence of lead paint. Massachusetts has a Property Transfer Notification Certification, that must be completed and supplied before a formal agreement is entered between a buyer and a seller. The Property Transfer Notification Certification must be signed by all parties involved in the sale, including the real estate agents.
In addition to lead paint, sellers of homes that have septic tanks must disclose to the buyer per Title 5 of the Massachusetts State Environmental Code. In addition to disclosing that a septic take is present, the code requires that the tank has been inspected within two years leading up to the sale.
While lead paint and the presence of a septic system are the only two required disclosures, sellers must present accurate information for any additional questions a buyer may have about the home before entering an agreement.
Maine Disclosure Laws:
Maine requires that a seller presents a formal written disclosure form accounting for any known issue on the property. This is all problems from a leaky window to something as large as a cracked foundation.
While it is best practice to point out every known issue, Maine requires that all of the following items are apart of the disclosure report. The report must include, the age, type of system, location, date of the last test, any issues with previous tests and any malfunctions of the system.
- Lead paint usage
- Smoke detector certificate
- Water supply system
- Heating system or source
- Waste disposal system
- Hazardous materials
- Access to the property
New Hampshire Disclosure Laws:
New Hampshire is more flexible than most states when it comes to real estate disclosure laws. Sellers in New Hampshire must disclose information about the property's insulation, the private water supply system, and the sewage system. It is also required that sellers notify the potential buyers of the presence of radon gas, arsenic, or lead.
In addition to sellers providing written disclosure of above, New Hampshire requires real estate agents to disclose any defects that they have been told or have noticed while walking through the home. If an agent fails to disclose, they could lose their professional license.
Rhode Island Disclosure Laws:
The disclosure form for Rhode Island is detailed and quite lengthy. Below is a list of items that must be listed on the disclosure form.
- Age of the roof and how many layers of shingles are on the existing roof
- Maintenance history of all fireplaces in the house
- Details of the home's insulation
- Existence of radon and lead
- Information on the electrical system, the heating system, and the hot water tank
- How much the seller currently pays for sewage or wastewater system and about the water supply in the area
- The tax rate for your home and restrictions for the property including if any building codes are being violated
- If the home is located in a flood plain or if parts of the property are on wetlands, a bog, marsh or swamp and if the home requires flood insurance
- If there are any convicted felons living in the neighborhood
- If condo or homeowner association fees are required
- Maintenance history if there is a pool on the property
- The presence of carbon and smoke detectors
In addition to the list above, the form requires the seller to disclose the general condition of the structure of the property.