When selling your home, you are responsible for disclosing known issues with the property. You may be hesitant to reveal certain defects, especially if you think they will impact the final sale price. While it’s morally ethical to warn home buyers of pertinent problems, did you know you can also find yourself in legal trouble by withholding information?
You may be confused about exactly what to disclose during a sale in North Dakota. It’s unique as it is one of the few states that practices caveat emptor which means there are no laws protecting a home buyer from purchasing a property without being informed of issues.
Of course, this doesn’t mean sellers are off the hook of disclosing information, as there are exceptions. Teaming up with a local real estate expert will help ensure your home is sold morally and in accordance with North Dakota’s expectations.
Here is what you can expect when discussing defects on your property with potential buyers.
While the state of North Dakota doesn’t force sellers to provide a disclosure during a real estate transaction, there are federal requirements in place.
If your home was built before 1978, more than half are, you are legally required to inform buyers of any known lead-based paint. Your real estate agent is obligated to provide an EPA-approved informative pamphlet to a buyer as part of the contract.
Buyers are then permitted a 10-day period to conduct an inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint in the property. This is their decision and can be omitted if they choose. However, if a home buyer insists on lengthening the time period for inspection, both parties must mutually agree in writing.
To avoid this extra waiting period before a sale, you can get the home pre-inspected and receive a certificate showing the property is lead-free. Make sure you have copies of this document to share with potential buyers.
The most effective way to understand what you should disclose in a caveat emptor state is by asking a qualified agent. While North Dakota leans mostly in favor of homsellers during property transactions, there is cause that falsifying or withholding knowledge of defects can lead to court battles and ultimately, the recission of a sale or paying restitution fees.
Even without state disclosure laws in tact, the North Dakota Supreme Court has historically ruled in favor of home buyers who were obviously misled.
In many cases, the biggest factors that contribute to courts siding with buyers is:
- When defects are material and not reasonably discoverable;
- Signs of constructive fraud caused by a seller misleading a prospective buyer; and
- Sellers using deceitful tactics to entrap a home buyer without knowledge of significant issues.
Many people decide to sell their home as-is and avoid legal complications due to a state’s clear and concise disclosure laws. However, in a caveat emptor state, working with an agent who has knowledge in the sometimes blurry responsibilities a seller faces is an advantage.
Home buyers with licensed agents in North Dakota aren’t oblivious to the state’s lax laws on property disclosure. To protect themselves from deceitful listings, they will typically hire an expert to perform a thorough inspection of the home’s integrity.
Even if you knowingly withhold information, an inspection will reveal obvious defects and paint you in a bad light as a homeseller. Buyers will likely lose trust, ultimately eliminating their interest in the transaction.
Best Route for Seller
To avoid appearing dishonest to a home buyer and complete a sale without unexpected delays, a pre-sale inspection is a safe bet. Allow your real estate expert to analyze the presented issues to determine which should be mentioned to buyers or repaired before listing.
An inspection is also necessary to properly value your home. Once the negotiation process begins, a buyer’s agent will consider repair costs into their offer.
Many older homes may have minor damage but major issues like a damaged roof, flooding basements, and property disputes should be laid out honestly.
If you’re prepared to begin the home selling process, a top-rated Clever Partner Agent in North Dakota is ready to offer their full service for a discounted commission. Fill out this online form to team up with an expert for a flat $3,000 or 1% on a sale over $350,000, after the transaction is final.