Before committing to a residential real estate purchase, potential buyers have the right to thoroughly inspect a property. New Jersey’s statutes do not require sellers to offer specific disclosures about a property. Sellers must, however, disclose any known material defects or negative issues.
Garden State realtors managing listings may provide a seller’s disclosure form, as noted on NJ.com. The disclosure form generally reveals known issues relative to a property. The form may, for example, describe material defects such as problems with an oil tank or a home’s sewer system.
Spotting signs that a seller may not have disclosed something
According to The Ascent, buyers may find reasons to believe a property owner has not revealed a known issue. Walking through a property that has clutter or debris, for example, may indicate that a seller attempted to hide something. Distractions may cause a potential buyer to overlook certain defects.
Cracks discovered in the sidewalk or driveway may point to water drainage problems. Pooled groundwater may have attracted insects and pests. If a property has a new roof, it may be a seller’s attempt to conceal neglect in the home’s upkeep. The ceiling may have water damage, mold or termites that the seller has not disclosed.
Failing to disclose negative issues may result in a lawsuit
As reported by Zillow, buyers may file lawsuits against sellers who fail to disclose known property issues. A court may award a buyer financial relief. Damages may include payment for medical bills if a property’s hazardous condition affected a buyer’s health. If a buyer had to make unexpected repairs, a court may order a seller to pay for them.
Residential sellers owe a duty of care to reveal known property issues. They may include structural defects, flooding or health hazards. Failing to disclose them could lead to a buyer’s lawsuit.