Disclosures a Seller Must Make Before You Buy a Home

When you buy a home, the reality is that you’re likely buying it “used.” Unless you’re buying a newly constructed home, there will have been at least one previous owner. With any home that’s been lived in, there will be some things the new owner needs to know about the home and its history.

There are legally required Texas real estate disclosures that a seller needs to pass along to the buyer, according to Texas property code. This must come in the form of written notice and must include the seller’s knowledge of the property’s condition.

One reason for this is to assure the buyer is aware of any defects or issues with the property that might affect its value or influence the decision to purchase. Here are some of the specific issues that must be disclosed according to Texas property code.

Required disclosures

There is a standard form from the Texas Real Estate Commission that must be filled out by the seller that includes required disclosures. This form must be returned to the buyer by the time of the “effective date” of purchase.

If the seller neglects this duty, or does not complete it by the required date, the buyer can terminate the sale without having to suffer any financial consequences. The disclosures are only required to be completed “to the best of seller’s belief and knowledge,” according to Texas property code.

Here are some of the required disclosures on the form:

  • History of termite damage: This includes active termite issues, damage from termites that requires repair, previous termite damage and previous termite treatment.
  • History of structural damage: This does not only refer to the walls or framing of the home, but includes foundation repairs and roof repairs as well.
  • Evidence of toxic substances: This covers the entire property and includes harmful gases like radon.
  • Previous fires: If it is known that there was a fire in the home at some point, that must be disclosed, as well as if it was a result of a mechanical issue in the home.
  • Previous flooding: Water damage must be disclosed when selling a home. This includes water penetration and any flooding on the property.

Home sales will also require an inspection that will cover many of the issues listed in the Texas property code, but the inspector can only check what they see during the inspection. For example, they might not be able to check for roof leaks if it’s not raining.

While some buyers may want to know if anyone passed away inside the home, it’s not required to disclose “a death by natural causes, suicide or accident unrelated to the condition of the property,” according to Texas property code. The potential presence of ghosts is also not a required disclosure.

When you’re ready to buy or sell a home in Alpine, TX, call Carpenter Real Estate to make sure you check off all the required boxes on the Texas real estate disclosure forms and complete the process right the first time.