Should I disclose information about my home to a buyer?

Alabama has a rule of caveat emptor, or “let the buyer beware,” which comes into force during the sale of your residential property, according to the Alabama Real Estate Institute. Essentially, the buyer purchases the property understanding that you are not including a warranty, and it is his or her responsibility to discover any defects. In general, buyers do this by hiring a professional home inspector to uncover any potential issues.

However, when you are selling real estate, the law does not entirely excuse you from alerting your potential buyer to matters regarding your property. The law requires you to disclose defects to the buyer under certain conditions.

The house has a health or safety concern

You need to alert the buyer if you know there is something in the property you are selling that poses a health risk. A good example would be if the home has asbestos or paint that includes lead; you should ensure that the buyer has this information.

The buyer asks specific questions about the house defects

You need to answer truthfully all the questions a buyer poses to you. If the buyer raises issues regarding pest infestation, you need to explain truthfully about any termite infestation and remediation that you may have done. Failure to mention it will be a violation of the law, and the buyer could sue you for misrepresentation, suppression of material facts and negligence, and even fraud.

This information regarding caveat emptor and the sale of real estate is only for educational purposes and not intended for use as legal advice.

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