Can a seller sue a house inspector?

Talkin go money

Investors who flip houses are the unsung heroes of real estate. They take on neglected, shabby, and sometimes deliberately damaged properties and make them liveable again, even beautiful. If you want to flip properties, you probably already know about pitfalls such as hidden problems and cost overruns. But did you know that when you sell a property, you need to disclose information about its condition that could negatively affect its value? If you deliberately conceal such information, you could be convicted of fraud in addition to a conviction. Selling the property "as is" does not exempt you from this disclosure.

(For more information on buying a home, see: A Guide To Buying A Home In The United States.)

These rules affect anyone who sells a home; However, they are more dependent on pinball machines, which often deal with properties in poor condition. Learn your country's specific laws about required disclosures from your state real estate and local planning departments. Some states are more lenient than others with their disclosure requirements. Here are some types of information you may need to disclose - or you may want to disclose even if your state's laws don't require it - so that your buyer has no reason to file a lawsuit against you.

1. Death in the house

Some buyers have concerns or superstitions when buying a home where someone has died. Therefore, it is important to know if your state requires salespeople to report a previous household death.

"Every state has slightly different disclosure requirements," says Jim Olenbush, a real estate agent in Texas. "For example, in Texas, deaths from natural causes, suicides, or non-property accidents do not have to be disclosed."

“A seller is required to report deaths related to the condition of the property or violent crime.” For example, if a child of a previous inmate drowned in a swimming pool because they did not have the proper safety fence, the seller would die after removal Must Reveal The Safety Issue By Installing Proper Pool Enclosure However, there are circumstances where sellers are not required to disclose a death on the property.

"There are no states that have an obligation to disclose the death of a person." Those who died naturally, "says attorney Matthew Reischer, CEO of" However, some states write a stigmatized house or apartment in which there has been suicide or murder. Some states even go so far as to make an affirmative duty to a seller knowing their homes are haunted by the dead. "

Even if disclosure isn't required - for example, Georgia doesn't require homicide or suicide disclosure - you should be mistaken in reporting a death on the property to the buyer. "If a seller is concerned about liability, the best advice is to go ahead and disclose everything upfront, even if it's not required by law," says Olenbush. "Buyers will always find out about their neighbors, and the surprise could lead them to withdraw from a sales contract or wonder what the seller isn't telling them otherwise."

2. Neighborhood Nuisances

A nuisance is a noise or smell from a source outside the property that could irritate the residents of the property. North Carolina requires vendors to disclose noises, smells, smoke, or other nuisance from commercial, industrial, or military sources affecting their property. Michigan requires sellers to disclose nearby farms, farms, landfills, airports, shooting ranges, and other nuisance, but Pennsylvania leaves it to the buyer to determine the presence of farm nuisances.

3. Environmental and natural hazards

If the home is at increased risk of damage from a natural disaster or known or potential environmental pollution, you may need to share this information with the buyer.

Texas law requires merchants to disclose the presence of hazardous or toxic waste, asbestos, urea-formaldehyde insulation, radon gas, lead paint, and prior use of the premises to manufacture methamphetamine.

Under New York's Real Estate Terms and Conditions Disclosure Act, sellers must notify buyers of whether the property is in a floodplain, wetland, or agricultural area; whether it was ever a landfill; if there has ever been fuel tanks above or below ground on the property; whether and where the structure contains asbestos; if there are lead lines; whether the house has been tested for radon; and whether fuel, oil, hazardous or toxic substances have been spilled or leaked on the property.

States may also require disclosure of subsidence, underground pits, settlement, landslide, upheaval, or other earth stability defects. California's Natural Hazards Disclosure Act requires sellers to disclose whether the property is in a seismic hazard zone and could therefore be liquefied after an earthquake or rocked by landslides.

While most disclosure requirements are regulated by the states, the federal government requires one: the disclosure that lead-containing paint can be present on any property built before 1978.

4. Homeowners Association Information

If the home is managed by a Home Owners Association (HOA) you should disclose this. You also need to know about the HOA's financial health and provide that information to the buyer so they can make an informed purchase decision.

"A buyer I know bought a condo and the seller accidentally forgot to give the buyer the last 12 months of the meeting notes," said Ed Kaminsky, president and CEO of SportStar relocation in Manhattan Beach, California. "Seven months later The buyer was valued at $ 30,000 for real estate improvements. The buyer was sued by the buyer for failing to disclose this important notice. "

5. Repairs

What did you fix and why? Buyers need to know the home's repair history so that their home inspector can pay special attention to problem areas and be aware of potential future problems. Texas law, for example, requires vendors to disclose previous structural or roof repairs; Landfill, sedimentation, ground movement or faults; and defects or malfunctions in walls, roof, fences, foundation, floors, sidewalks, and other current or past problems that affect the structural integrity of the home. You may also need to disclose electrical or plumbing repairs and other issues that you want to know about in order to buy and live in the house.

6. Water damage

If water gets in where it shouldn't, it can damage personal possessions, undermine the structure of the home, and even create a health hazard if it encourages mold growth. Sellers should disclose past or present leaks or water damage. Michigan, for example, requires vendors to disclose evidence of water in a basement or crawl space, roof leaks, major damage from flooding, the type of water supply system (e.g. galvanized, copper, other), and known plumbing problems. It can be difficult to know about water problems (and many other types of problems) when you turn the house around and only own it for a month or two.

"There are many risks to pinball or anyone else involved in a house close where some work is needed on the property that isn't obvious when walking through it, especially in winter or during a dry spell," says Bill Price. Illinois business lawyer. "In winter, a roof that is leaking or has very old shingles cannot be inspected by the buyer or their home inspector. Similarly, a dry spell can hide problems with a leaky basement." In situations like this, check how much protection the laws of your state provide for disclosing information that you would otherwise not know.

7. Missing items

Sometimes home buyers have so much on their minds that they may not realize that a home is missing an essential component until they move into it. Some states' disclosure laws attempt to prevent this problem from occurring. Texas and Michigan, for example, require vendors to show long lists of items, including kitchen appliances, central air conditioning and heating, rain gutters, exhaust fans, and water heaters.

8. Other possible information

Buyers need to know if the home is in a particular historic neighborhood as it will affect their ability to make repairs and alterations, and it could also add to the cost of those activities.

Texas law requires vendors to disclose active termites or other wood-destroying insects, termite or wood rot damage in need of repair, previous termite damage, and previous termite treatments. Michigan and North Carolina law also requires vendors to disclose any history of infestation . Consult the laws of your state to determine whether you need to disclose information about pests.

You may also need to disclose drainage or classification issues, zoning, pending litigation, unauthorized changes, boundary disputes, and reliefs.


Some states, such as Michigan and North Carolina, require sellers to use a specific disclosure form. If not, your State Department or Real Estate Commission or State Real Estate Association will usually have a recommended form you can use. The form can be more or less comprehensive than what state law requires. If the form is not comprehensive enough for your situation, add a list of the additional items you want to disclose. The seller should make all disclosures in writing to the buyer, and both the buyer and seller should sign and date the document. Be sure to double-check what to disclose and how it should be worded with a real estate attorney.

The bottom line

Even if certain disclosure isn't required in your area and you have information about a home that could make a buyer unhappy, you may still want to disclose it. In addition to the moral reasons for being honest with prospective buyers - and the desire to avoid the cost and hassle of filing a lawsuit - you have a reputation for protection. If you are concerned about correctly reporting the condition of the property, check with a real estate attorney in your state.