Whenever you sell a home in Kansas, there are certain property conditions you must disclose to the buyer. Failing to disclose these conditions can lead to financial and legal trouble and are generally unethical. Here's what every Kansas home seller needs to know.
Disclosure requirements are the legal requirements that indicate what types of property conditions a seller has to tell a potential buyer about. For instance, you might be required to disclose that your front porch has water damage or that there's mold in the attic.
Various states have their own disclosure requirements, and if you're going to sell a home, you'd better know what the disclosure requirements are in your state to avoid legal trouble.
In addition, there are federal disclosure requirements that all sellers are subject to, regardless of whether or not their state has specific disclosure requirements that echo them.
Kansas has multiple laws in effect regarding real estate disclosure. You need to know what your responsibility as a seller is in order to have the most successful and amicable sale possible.
If you're selling a home in Kansas, it's critical to partner with an experienced real local agent who can guide you through the entire process. However, it's up to you to know what you're required to disclose, so having a basic understanding of Kansas real estate disclosure requirements is a good starting point.
Kansas Disclosure Requirements
In Kansas, there's a general disclosure requirement and a couple of more specific ones you should know about. While you don't have to know the laws inside and out, you should be aware of what they entail.
Hazards, Conditions, and Material Defects
Kansas Statute 58-30.106 states that you, or your real estate agent on your behalf, must disclose any environmental hazards that exist within or on the property. This could be something like mold in the walls that might cause lung issues or anything in the environment that could pose a risk.
Additionally, you have to disclose the physical condition of the property, any material defects in the property (material meaning pertinent or important), and material defects in the title (such as liens).
Material limitations on your ability to uphold your terms of the purchase contract must also be included.
Remember, something that is “material” means that it's pertinent to the issue at hand, so while there are no specific lists of what's considered material, assume that anything you know about needs to be disclosed.
Radon Gas and Convicted Criminals
The law governing this disclosure requirement, Kansas Statute 58-3078, indicates that you have to disclose the presence of radon gas in the home if any exists. The buyer's ability to find information on certain types of convicted criminals in the area must also be disclosed. You can do this by simply directing the buyer to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Finally, if the property is subject to any special assessments you have to tell the buyer what those assessments are and about how much they can expect to pay for them so that they can accurately factor that into their financial considerations.
A special assessment occurs in certain developments in Kansas (and sometimes certain cities) where developers have decided that the area of land under their purview requires certain upgrades. This can include anything from updating the sewage system or water lines to installing new traffic lights.
The assessment is then divided in a manner that is decided locally and each person who lives in that area has to pay a portion to cover costs.
Various cities have special assessments, such as Derby and Kansas City, but the way in which they're decided, how much they cost, how they're divided amongst the residents, and other specifications vary greatly from city to city and sometimes from neighborhood to neighborhood.
While it's difficult to narrow down how much you could be charged for these assessments, real estate agents in the area will have a table that breaks down exactly what residents should expect to pay. When you sell a property, you'll likely know how much those special assessments cost because you will have been paying them.
Simply include that information in the communication between you and the buyer, and this disclosure requirement will be met.
What You're Not Required to Do (But Probably Should)
The state of Kansas doesn't require sellers to hire an inspector for the specific purpose of disclosure. You have to officially verify any information that you're aware of in a disclosure form, and you're only required to disclose information that you know about.
The problem is, buyers can sue you for issues they find by claiming that you should have known. While that's not always valid in a court, in some situations it can be taken into consideration. What's more, when the “should have known” idea does and doesn't work isn't always clear.
That being said, to protect yourself, it's usually worth it to hire an inspector to make sure you've disclosed everything you can. While it's advisable for buyers to hire an inspector, too, the legal burden is not on them to discover material issues — it's on you to disclose them.
Federal Disclosure Requirements
It's also worth noting that there's a federal disclosure requirement in place that says you have to disclose the presence of asbestos. Even though there's no specific state law that requires this, the federal law is in place, so you need to make sure you disclose any asbestos in the home.
If you hire an inspector for nothing else, it's worth it to hire an asbestos inspector to make sure you're providing information that will meet federal requirements and keep your buyers safe.
Disclosure Resources for Home Sellers in Kansas
If you're selling your home and you're not sure what you need to disclose or whether you should hire an inspector, working closely with a real estate agent can help. A local, experienced real realtor will have the information and expertise to guide you through the home selling process, including disclosure requirements, successfully.
With legal issues, it's always best to obtain professional advice, and since real estate agents work with disclosure issues every day, they can help you protect yourself, protect your buyer, and meet ethical standards to avoid legal issues, while enjoying a successful sale.