When you’re selling a home in Virginia, you want to focus on the best aspects of your home. It’s only natural! However, that doesn’t mean you can hide everything that’s less-than-enticing about your house.
As a seller, it’s important to deal in good faith. Consider if you were buying a home — you’d want to be able to trust what you were told and not end up with a significant problem that wasn’t disclosed.
More than that, many disclosures are required by law. Failing to make proper disclosure can result in you being hit with a nasty lawsuit. That’s why it’s helpful to work with a high-quality realtor.
Here are the disclosure requirements when you’re selling Virginia real estate.
Virginia Disclosure Statement
A home buyer has to be given a completed Virginia Disclosure Statement by the home seller. You have to provide the disclosure whether or not you work with a seller’s agent. The responsibility belongs to the home seller, although your agent can help you complete it.
The disclosure itself, as you might notice, doesn’t really tell the seller anything. Instead, it gives notice to the buyer that you:
- Make no representations or warranties about the condition of the property or its attachments
- Make no representations regarding adjacent parcels
- Make no representations about whether historic district ordinances affect the property
- Make no representations regarding whether property is protected under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act
- Make no representations about nearby registered sexual offenders
- Represent that there are no undisclosed pending actions under the Uniform Statewide Building Code, or zoning violations that have not been fixed
- Make no representations about whether the property is in a dam break inundation zone
- Make no representations regarding whether any storm water detention facilities are on the property, and
- Make no representations about the presence of any wastewater system on the property.
You have to provide this signed disclosure to the buyer before the purchase and sales contract take effect. If you don’t the buyer can void the sale contract.
The disclosure form isn’t required in specific cases, such as a sale between co-owners, relatives, or certain bankruptcy or tax-related sales. A builder selling a new property does not need to provide this form, but they do have to give a buyer written notice of any defects in violation of building codes.
Virginia’s “Buyer Beware” Rules
Most states have extensive disclosures that protect home buyers, but Virginia takes the opposite approach. It’s a “Buyer Beware” state, meaning that it’s the buyer’s responsibility to fully research the property and discover any defects themselves.
As you might guess, this means that a savvy buyer will make it a condition of sale that they have a chance to fully investigate and inspect the property. You will probably have to allow these steps and work with the buyer if they uncover follow-up repairs that are needed.
You may not have to say much, but as a seller you can’t lie or actively conceal a problem. You do have to be honest when asked questions about your property. You also cannot say or do anything to lead a buyer away from discovering a known problem.
Additional Required Disclosures
Beyond the disclosure form, there are a few specific situations you will need to let a home buyer know about. In certain areas, you’ll need to give notice of any known mining operations or shafts that affect the property.
If your septic system needs repair, even if you have a waiver allowing you to use it, you have to let the buyer know. The waiver will not apply to them and they will have to have the system repaired.
If the home is near a military base, you have to disclose whether it’s in a noise or accident potential zone. Finally, you have to disclose defective drywall. There are standard disclosure forms you can use for these three issues.
Selling a home in Virginia does not exempt you from federal disclosure requirements, so be sure you’re aware of them. If you sell a home built prior to 1978, you have to disclose any known hazards related to lead-based paint. You have to give an EPA informational brochure to the buyer, along with existing lead reports on the home. You also have to give buyers to option to do a lead-based paint inspection.
Protect Yourself By Selling With a Realtor
Although Virginia puts most of the discovery of issues on the buyer, there are still times when you need to disclose specific information. You’ll need specific language in your purchase and sales agreement as well.
Don’t leave these issues to chance. Instead, get the full-service professional help you need by working with a Clever Partner Agent. Not only will you get help with your disclosures and paperwork, you’ll save significantly on your sales commission.
Don’t wait — let a Clever agent help you sell your Virginia home today.