Selling a property can be quite an arduous task. While it’s also crucial to prepare your home to look appealing, it’s just as important to learn how to prepare for your closing. Remember, different real estate rules vary from countries and states. However, like most of the states, the Indiana law requires home sellers to disclose any known major defects before closing.
If you are selling a property in Indiana, here are all the seller disclosure requirements you need to know:
- Federal Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards
- General Disclosure Requirements
Federal Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards
The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act passed in 1992 requires the disclosure of any lead-based paint or chipped paint in any housing built before 1978.
Lead paint can cause serious major health risks. The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act requires sellers to provide details about lead paint (lead from paint, dust, and soil, or lead poisoning) before selling the property. If you want to know more about the harmful effects of lead, you can read the Indiana Lead and Healthy Homes Program (rules and federal regulations). You can also review and read about the Lead-Based Paint: The Law in Indiana to know more about issues concerning lead hazards in Indiana.
The seller should inform the buyer about the lead-based paint hazards and provide 10 days for the buyer to do a risk assessment or paint inspection for lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards. For safety purposes, the homebuyers may look for a lead hazard inspection firm by following this link.
Seller’s Residential Real Estate Disclosure
According to Indiana’s Residential Real Estate Disclosure Law, Ind. Code §32-21-5-2 sellers are obligated to comply with the standard disclosure form. In this form, sellers need to disclose any known material defects in the house—structure and other systems that could affect the buyer’s decision. Also, the form must be based on the seller’s current actual knowledge about the property’s condition such as lead-based paint, flooding, cracked floors, damaged ceiling, and even appliances.
The disclosure form must not be treated as a contract deal, but simply a document to protect the buyer from any fraud—and must-known major defects that could change the property’s value. The form has included different conditions that the seller should answer honestly whether it’s “None/Not Included/Rented, Defective, Not Defective, or Do Not Know”. Here, it is clearly stated in the form that the “Defect means a condition that would have a significant adverse effect on the value of the property, that would significantly impair the health or safety of future occupants of the property, or that if not repaired, removed or replaced would significantly shorten or adversely affect the expected normal life of the premises.” Nonetheless, the buyer has the right to perform an inspection of the property to verify the form and the home’s condition.
In the state of Indiana, however, sellers aren’t required to disclose paranormal, suicide, natural death and such about the property. For example, it’s unnecessary to notify the new homeowner about previous occupants who have suffered from HIV or AIDS. Indiana’s Residential Real Estate Disclosure Law, Ind. Code §32-21-5-2 only requires sellers to complete the form which contains property condition defects. It clearly does not mention any statements about the supernatural of that sort.
As a seller and as the only source of all the information in this form, here are the statutory disclosure requirements you are obliged to state:
- Electrical System
- Water and Sewer System
- Heating and Cooling System
- Roof leak
- Hazardous Conditions
- Methane gas, lead paint, radon gas, radioactive material, and other biological contaminants
- Manufacture of methamphetamine in a residential property
- Structural Foundation
- Zoning violations, building codes, or restrictive use
- Water problems in the basement
- Wood destroying insects
- Furnace/Woodstove/Chimney/Flue issues
- Threatened or existing litigation
What if the seller fails to disclose any of this information to the buyer?
In case such as failure to truthfully completing the Seller’s Residential Real Estate Disclosure Form, the buyer could take legal action against the seller for committing fraud or to liability for misrepresentation. For instance, the seller intentionally hides the sewer system defects and did not tell the agent or the buyer. The seller, in the said circumstance, must pay actual damages and attorney’s fees hired by a buyer in pursuing a lawsuit against the seller.
To avoid serious legal trouble, it’s advised to carefully complete the form and review each section before filling in the checkboxes. Litigation is not only a costly process but could void the sale under such circumstances. Contact your real estate attorney or agent if you have doubts. Seek a professional opinion or advice.
Note: All the information mentioned above is just a guide for real estate sellers in Indiana. It is still best to seek legal advice from experts if you have any clarifications.
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