Free Property Disclosure Statements

A Property disclosure statement (PDS) is a document designed to help a property seller disclose all the known information about the item/property being sold to a buyer. Such information may include material defects or any other information that is not readily observable.

Overview

A property disclosure statement helps to protect a property seller from any possible liability issue. Therefore, it is usually designed and filled by both the buyer and the seller before the property sale is completed.  Additionally, it helps a buyer file a lawsuit if they feel that the seller failed to disclose any issues regarding the property.

The information included in the property disclosure statement varies.  Different states, regions or estates have their way of designing the disclosure statements. Also, different types of property may have different forms of property disclosure statements. For instance, a sole property ownership disclosure statement may differ from that of a joint ownership.

Types of Property Disclosure Statements

There are various types of property disclosure statements as explained below:

Strata title property disclosure statement

A strata title property disclosure statement includes a house’s particular issues such as storage allocations, age restrictions, parking, pets, and the building problems if any exists.

Residential property disclosure statement

This type of property disclosure statement covers all the details that owners must disclose to the potential buyers of residential real property.

Rural property disclosure statement

Rural property disclosure statement discloses issues that are related to rural lands, such as septic systems, well water, and flooding problems.

Developer’s disclosure statement

The developer’s disclosure statement refers to a specification sheet with legally binding representations of the developer about the nature of the property on sale.

Property Disclosure Statements by State

Most states require that all the details regarding the condition of the property should be included in the PDS. The property seller is required to report if there are any material or structural defects in the property on sale. The defects may include leaking pipes, leaking roofs, etc.

Different states have policies that may make a property seller liable to any declarations or claims made or not made.

Buyer Beware

The property buyers must be aware that some state regulations do not require sellers to disclose information about their property. For this reason, the buyers won’t be held liable for failure to state the defects associated with their property. The sale of the property being made under such a circumstance is categorized as a “buyer beware” state of a property sale.

Earnest Money

This refers to a unique form of security deposit made in transactions such as real estate deals to demonstrate that the buyer is serious about making a full purchase of the property. In case the buyer feels that some relevant information was not disclosed in a PDS, they are entitled to a refund of their earnest money.

Disclosure Statements by State

Types of Defects that Should be Disclosed in a PDS

There are different types of defects that the seller must disclose before the buyer purchases the property. These can be grouped into two (2) categories:

Patent defects

These are the visible faults on a property, and they can be noticed upon careful/ thorough inspection. They may include:

  • Plumbing leaks-These occur as a result of broken pipes or damaged pipe joints. They may occur on clean water pipes, waste disposal pipes etc.
  • Problems with windows, doors or roofs- Faulty or broken windows, doors, roofs etc. should be listed on the defects lists of the property/ house they are associated with.
  • Lead-based paint-  A PDS should state whether the paint used on a building is lead-based or not
  • Presence of mold- Mold might form on walls or other surfaces of a building. Its presence should be noted on a PDS.
  • Defects in systems like HVAC- The status of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Condition (HVAC) systems and other available systems in the property should be clearly stated on a PDS.
  • Issues with appliances-The issues with appliances such as iron boxes, water heaters, room heaters, microwave, etc. should also be included.
  • Presence of wild animals- Some buildings might be located on areas with wild animals, especially if they are close to game parks or reserves. Such information should be disclosed on a PDS.
  • Termites and pests-These are harmful organisms that can cause damage to items within a property. For instance, some pests are capable of destroying wooden materials, hence can cause damage to ceiling boards and other items within a building.
  • Environmental hazards- Some locations may be prone to environmental hazards such as floods and wildfire. A property seller should disclose this on the PDS.

Latent defects

These are flaws that cannot be discovered through a normal observation or inspection unless the property seller discloses such information to the buyer.  Such information may be about:

  • Insurance claims- A property seller should disclose to the buyer whether there are any insurance claims associated with the property of interest.
  • Zoning violations- This refers to when a property fails to conform to the regulations as directed in the zoning ordinance.
  • Shared neighborhood expenses-These are expenses associated with maintenance of outdoor property and the common areas such as swimming pools, parks and gyms.
  • Liens against the property- These may come from unpaid taxes, unpaid bills or from judgments made in a court of law.
  • Boundary disputes- They are essentially disputes between neighboring home owners. They arise when one neighbor claims that another’s building or fence goes beyond the boundary line.
  • Easements on the property- Property easements are property rights that allow an individual to use another person’s property for a given purpose.
  • Information about the utilities- All utility information regarding the property should be disclosed in a PDS.
  • Restrictions- A property seller should disclose whether there are any restrictions on the property.
  • Mineral rights- These are ownership rights associated to underground resources such as metals, ores, fossil fuels etc.
  • Nearby sexual offenders- A property owner should indicate whether the location of property is identified with sex offenses.
  • Noises or construction near the property- A property seller should disclose whether there are any ongoing constructions or noises from factories that may distract the comfort of the buyer.
  • Illegal drug or criminal activity- A property owner should indicate whether the location of the property is identified with illegal drug and criminal activity.
  • Danger- Whether the property is considered dangerous or not should also be disclosed in a PDS.

What to Include in a Property Disclosure Statement

The following sections should be included when writing a property disclosure system.

Section 1- Parties

This section should include the following:

  • Seller’s name – The name of the rightful owner of the property seller should be clearly written in this section.
  • Property address – An accurate address of the property should be written to indicate the location of the property. This may cover the street name, building number, state and zip-code
  • Notice to seller – This section shows the sellers consent about the status of the property before selling it.
  • Notice to buyer – This section contains relevant information that the buyer should be aware of. Such may include a disclaimer to inform the buyer that they are not restricted to perform further inspection to understand the status of the property on sale.
  • Buyer’s initials – The buyer is required to read the “Notice to buyer” section and then fill the buyer’s initials section after acknowledging that they have read and understood the information in the “Notice to buyer” section.

Section 2- Property Infrastructure and Information

This section should cover the following:

Property details

Detailed and accurate property information should be provided. This will help the buyer get a clear picture of the property they intend to buy. The property details may include:

  • Property type- This describes the nature of the property/ building. A building may be a townhouse, an apartment building, retail establishment etc.
  • Year built – The original construction dates are necessary because they help to know the age of a building or a home.
  • Ownership length – This indicates the duration for which the seller has owned the property.
  • An accurate survey of the property – Under this section, the property seller is required to indicate whether or not the property has had an accurate survey.
  • Dates lived on the property – This section requires the property seller to indicate when they took up residence in the property and when they stopped residing on the property.
  • Other comments – Some space is left to accommodate any other extra remarks regarding the property.

Utilities

This covers the necessities that are available on the property. The utilities may include:

  • Water supply – The disclosure statement should indicate how water is accessed/ supplied to this property.
  • Sewage disposal – It should be indicated where the waste materials are disposed of when residing on the property.  If a septic system is available, it is necessary to indicate whether it is functional or not.
  • Heating – Clearly state whether the rooms can be heated using the available heat source (if any is available).
  • Air conditioning – Clearly state the type of system used to cool or warm the rooms within the property.
  • Hot water – Indicate the presence or absence of a hot water system. If available, give clear details about its functionality and the type of fuel used to run the system.

Physical structure of the property

The physical structure of the property on sale should be well-defined. The state of various physical aspects of the property should be explained in details. Such physical aspects may include:

  • Foundation – The seller must indicate whether the property /building has any issues with its settlement into its foundation and whether it has any problems related to construction and stability.
  • Basement – If the property has a basement, the seller should confirm whether the basement has any leaks or excess humidity.
  • Roof – The seller is required to indicate whether the property roof has any damages such as water leaks, holding excessive moisture etc.
  • Plumbing system – The seller is required to describe the piping used to deliver water into and out of the property. Additionally, they should describe the plumbing system’s condition and indicate whether there are any known defects in the system.
  • Electric systems – All the relevant information about the wiring or other parts of the electric system should be described in details. Also, any known defects in the electric systems should be indicated.

Environmental conditions affecting the property

Under this section, the seller is required to disclose if any environmental conditions affect an individual’s stay on the property. The environmental conditions may include:

  • Insulation – This shows how the property has been protected from adverse environmental conditions. The seller is required to state whether the property has any insulation on the floor, roof or exterior walls.
  • Exterior drainage – The exterior drainage system is comprised of gutters and downspouts. The seller must state whether the systems are available and functional and indicate any defects.
  • Wood-destroying insects – It is necessary to state whether the property has previously or presently been infested with wood-destroying insects. Any other relevant information such as the damages caused by the insects should also be explained.
  • Carbon monoxide alarm-It is a safety device that alerts homeowners when there is a carbon monoxide leakage to help them evade a potential life-threatening situation. If the alarm is available, the seller should explain its status.
  • Hazardous or regulated materials – The seller should disclose the presence of dangerous substances, biological hazards and any unlawful and dangerous structures on the property. Such may include asbestos, drug labs, landfills etc.
  • Fire/wildfire – It is relevant to state whether the property has already installed fireplaces, chimneys and woodstoves and indicate their status. Also, the seller should explain if he/she has had any fire outbreak on the property and also state the possibilities of wildfires.
  • Floods – The seller should indicate whether the property is located in a flood-prone environment.

Section 3-Disclosures

The disclosure section in a property disclosure statement should clearly state and mention any additional legal disclosures that are applicable to the agreement being made and must be kept in consideration by the counterpart during the period of time that the agreement exists. An example of such additional disclosures in the document includes buyer-beware disclosure.

Section 4- Signatures and dates

The property seller, the buyer and the agent (if any is involved) are required to sign, write their names and indicate the date when the transaction was executed. This should be done once the property buyer confirms to be satisfied with the disclosed information about the property.

Free Templates

Sellers-Property-Disclosure-Statement-Template_

California-Real-Estate-Transfer-Disclosure-Statement_

Property-Condition-Disclosure-Statement_

Real-Estate-Agency-Disclosure-Form_

Real-Estate-Property-Disclosure-Form_

Real-Estate-Sales-Disclosure-Form

Real-Estate-Seller-Disclosure-Form_

Residential-rental-property-disclosure-form

Seller's-Property-Disclosure-Statement

Standard-Real-Estate-Disclosure-Form_

    FAQs

    Is the property disclosure included in a real estate contract?

    No, it is not necessary.
    However, it is important that the buyer’s realtor incorporates the property disclosure statement in the contract to ensure that the property is liable for information provided by the PDS.

    What happens when a property disclosure statement is crossed out?

    It is very common that a property seller may not be fully aware of the state of the property, especially if he/she does not live there. In such instances, it is only relevant to work towards uncovering the relevant facts about the property.

    Should I hire a lawyer for a property disclosure statement issue?

    Yes. One may hire a lawyer to advise him/her on the way forward in case any issue about the disclosures made arises.

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