Buying or selling a house is a major undertaking. Buyers and sellers don’t decide to take this step lightly, especially given the legalities involved with real estate transactions.
Did you know there are real estate laws? Let’s walk through some of those laws, specifically those related to sellers’ disclosure requirements.
What Are Sellers’ Disclosure Obligations?
Legally, sellers are required to disclose information about the home’s conditions, specifically any known defects. If sellers fail to share any defects with the buyers, there can be consequences.
What Is the Property Condition Disclosure Act?
Because of the Property Condition Disclosure Act (PCDA), sellers must make certain disclosures. New York Property Law § 460-467, the PCDA, outlines seller obligations in detail.
For a summary, the PCDA asks residential property sellers to complete a property condition disclosure statement, which both the seller and buyer sign. The statement asks the seller to reveal information including but not limited to:
- The length of time they owned the property
- How long the property was occupied
- How old the structure is
- Electric or gas utility surcharges
- Damage from termites, insects, rodents, or pest infestations
- Water, rot, fire, or smoke damage
- Any known defects involving beams, columns, footings, girders, lintels, or partitions
Why You Need a Real Estate Attorney
Real estate transactions are legally complex. There are a lot of documents and legalities to be considered. Additionally, there are exemptions from the property disclosure laws (New York Property Law § 463), such as transfers:
- Ordered by the court following a lawsuit (like bankruptcy or foreclosure)
- Of new constructions that have not been occupied
- To state or local government agencies
- To relatives, spouses, or a co-owner of the property
- Made as part of a divorce or separation settlement
- Made to a lender, satisfying a mortgage payment, or preventing foreclosure
- Made to any estate or trust beneficiaries
Among the many other benefits of employing an attorney, a real estate lawyer will review your contracts and help with negotiations. It’s never a bad idea to have someone else in your corner.
Whether you are a buyer or seller entering a real estate transaction, your interests should be protected. An experienced attorney will fight for you and your interests.
Are you involved (or will soon be involved) in a real estate transaction? Known for our attention to detail and dedication to personalized legal aid, our real estate attorneys—at Letterio & Haug, LLP—are prepared to help you wherever you are in the home buying or selling process.
You can trust our firm to protect your interests and make this process as smooth as possible. Call us today at (845) 203-0997 or reach out online.