What do property sellers need to disclose to buyers?

| Jul 16, 2021 | Real Estate |

When purchasing real estate, sometimes you only find out about issues when it is too late. That is to say — only after the sale has gone through.

While contingency clauses allow you to back out of a purchase if you discover issues in the closing process, they will not protect you once the property is yours. For that, you will need to pursue alternative legal means.

You may be able to take action if a seller has failed to disclose certain things

The law does not require a seller to disclose every single detail about a property.  However, it does make the disclosure of some things mandatory. All sellers must complete Wisconsin’s Real Estate Condition Report. Here are some of the things they must confirm or negate in the form:

  • Lead-based paint and other toxic substances: Modern homes do not use lead-based paint, but it was common until the late 1970s. A seller should also disclose the presence of asbestos and other dangerous substances.
  • Structural damage: Few houses are flawless. Yet some problems will prove expensive to repair, make the structure unsafe to live in or shorten its lifespan. As long as you know about them, you can make an informed decision.
  • Location in a flood-prone site: A seller must tell you if the real estate lies on a wetland or other such place where water damage could be an issue

Issues with zoning, usage, rights of way or easement: Sometimes, others have the right to pass over your property. Being clear about this avoids you getting into legal issues later. 

The more information you have about a property, the more informed a decision you can make. If you feel the seller hid things from you, it is crucial to understand your legal options. When you purchase real estate, you need it to be value for money, not fraught with problems.