PA seller disclosure law requires home sellers to reveal material defects when selling their houses. Disclosures also vary according to the area your property is in, or the type of residence you’re selling. Hence, it’s important to know which disclosures you must provide when selling your own house in Pennsylvania.
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In addition, you should also have the settlement agent review the paperwork so you cover all bases.
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*Seller disclosures are primarily the responsibility of a home seller. Regardless of the service, you engage in, you are required to ensure seller disclosures provided by you are complete and accurate to your best knowledge. Houzeo is not a brokerage or a licensed agent. It is a tech platform, and the tips presented here should not be construed as advice for which a real estate or attorney license is required.
» Jump To:
- What Are Seller Disclosures?
- Importance Of Disclosures
- Pennsylvania Seller Disclosure Law
- Who Are Exempted From Providing Disclosures In Pennsylvania?
- Penalty For Lying On Seller’s Disclosure
- Most Common Mistakes By FSBO Sellers In Disclosures
- Tips To Minimize Problems in Disclosures
- Final Word
What Are Seller Disclosures?
The Seller’s Property Disclosure Form PA is a standard checklist form containing material defects and features of the property. It provides information about the property that may negatively affect the value of the house.
If there are material defects in a property that may impact the value of the property and the seller is aware of them, the seller must disclose them. However, sellers should report these defects to the best of their knowledge and understanding.
📝 Note: You shall disclose any known information about your Pennsylvania house from pest infestation to pending legal issues. This will help you avoid future disputes.
Usually, the disclosure form is completed along with the listing paperwork – especially in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) provided by the listing agent.
Importance Of Seller Disclosures
Sellers’ disclosures serve the following purpose in real estate transactions:
|🔎||Give Complete Information About The Property||Disclosures help communicate the defects present on the property. They ensure that all the stakeholders involved in the transaction are well aware of the property's history.|
|⚖️||Protects Sellers Against Legal Liabilities||Once you disclose all the known defects present in the house or which come to light during the inspection, you could be immune from any future liability against those defects.|
|👍||Develops Credibility||Honesty, accuracy and transparency are of utmost importance when selling your house. Disclosures are a way of achieving all of these and thereby enhancing your credibility.|
Pennsylvania Seller Disclosure Law
- ✍️ Editor’s Note: Material defects are the ones which are not apparent or visibly recognizable defects, but they significantly affect the value of the property negatively. Generally, these defects involve an unreasonable risk to the occupants.
A signed and dated copy of the form is to be completed and submitted to a buyer before signing the agreement of transfer by sale of the property.
The above laws do not apply to transfers made by an executor of a will, or in the course of administration by a fiduciary in the case of guardianship, conservatorship, or trust.
Seller’s Property Disclosure Form PA
The PA seller disclosure form is a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questionnaire that the seller marks in appropriate boxes concerning the property’s condition. Things that are not within a seller’s knowledge can be marked as ‘unknown’.
📝 Note: The seller only discloses the facts he/she is aware of. For facts that are unknown to a seller or which are not readily observable, it is a buyer’s duty to inspect them.
The Pennsylvania Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement covers the following material aspects of a property:
|1.||Seller's Expertise; whether the seller has expertise in contracting, engineering, architecture, or other fields related to construction or property condition|
|2.||Occupancy; whether the seller currently occupies the property or not|
|3.||Roof; date of installation, repair history, leakage problems|
|4.||Basement & Crawl spaces; sump pump, known leakage, accumulation or damp spots|
|5.||Termites/wood-destroying insects, dry rot, pests; known pest infestation, past inspection reports|
|6.||Structural items; known water leakage, construction defects, past repairs|
|7.||Additions/Remodeling; description of past additions or structural changes, if any|
|8.||Water & sewage; potable water source, sewage system, working status, past servicing, known leakages|
|9.||Plumbing system; type, known problems related to plumbing fixtures|
|10.||Heating & air conditioning; type, water heating, known underground fuel tanks, known defects|
|11.||Electrical system; known defects & needed repairs|
|12.||Equipment & appliances; list of items included in the sale|
|13.||Land (soil, drainage, boundaries & sinkholes); known expansive soil or fill, problems related to sliding, settling, subsidence, etc., known mining projects, flood zone or wetland area, drainage or flooding problems, boundary disputes, encroachments or easements|
|14.||Hazardous substances; asbestos, formaldehyde, PCBs, radon, lead paint, UFFI, etc., past inspections|
|15.||Condominiums & homeowners associations; type of governing association|
|16.||Storm water facilities; known location and condition of any basin, pond ditch, etc., maintenance|
|17.||Miscellaneous; existing legal action on the property, violation of any laws, unpaid assessments, zoning, housing or building safety violations, existing judgment, lien or encumbrance, defective title, known material defects|
Lead Paint Disclosure PA
This applies to all homes built before 1978. It is a federal disclosure that all American home sellers are required to furnish. The form acts as disclosure as well as a warning to buyers regarding the hazards associated with lead-based paint.
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Who Are Exempted From Providing Disclosures In Pennsylvania?
Under Pennsylvania real estate disclosure law, disclosure is to be provided for all residential real estate transfers. This applies to all the residential properties containing 1-4 dwelling units located within the Commonwealth.
However, there are some transfers where a seller does need not to provide disclosures. These conditions are:
|1.||Transfers pursuant to court orders like administration of estate, writ of execution, or from a decree of specific performance.|
|2.||Transfer from mortgagor to a mortgagee, or transfers under a foreclosure sale made after a default in mortgage, deed or trust. It can also be made by a mortgagee or beneficiary who has acquired the property in lieu of foreclosure.|
|3.||When the house is being transferred from one co-owner to one or more co-owners.|
|4.||Any transfer made to a spouse or person/s in lineal line of consanguinity.|
|5.||Transfer resulting from a divorce, legal separation or a settlement agreement between spouses.|
|6.||Liquidation of corporation, partnership or association where the transferee is shareholders, partners, or other equity owners.|
|7.||Where the property is to be demolished or used for non-residential purposes.|
|8.||Transfers of unimproved real property.|
Penalty For Lying On Seller’s Disclosure Statement
If a seller lied on a property disclosure statement in Pennsylvania, he can be held liable under fraud by misrepresentation or omission. Any known defects, as well as past repairs, treatments, or insurances used, must be mentioned in detail in the disclosure form.
In the case of Anderson v. Harper (1993), the sellers made some repairs to their defective septic system without necessary permits and did not inform the buyers about it. When the inspection was conducted, it did not show any defects. As the repairs had been made recently, it took some time for the defective system to act up and come to the notice of the buyers.
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania found that if a seller makes any repairs to property without necessary permits, it cannot be concluded that the defect has been justifiably repaired.
- 👉 Key Takeaway: A suit of fraud by misrepresentation or omission can be brought against a seller who intentionally misrepresents a fact that otherwise would have influenced a buyer adversely.
Most Common Mistakes By FSBO Home Sellers In Disclosures
The main object of disclosures in any area is to give clarity and perspective to a buyer. Buyers who are looking for a home usually have certain criteria in mind before searching for a home. A seller disclosure acts as a bridge to close these doubts, giving buyers a reason to have faith in you and your deal.
- One of the biggest mistakes a seller can make is not giving disclosures at all. The lack of trust between a buyer and seller can demotivate a buyer from considering your property altogether. Hence, it is suggested that sellers complete all disclosure formalities as soon as possible, even though it may not be legally required in your state.
- Likewise, sellers also get an option to mark a point as ‘unknown’ in disclosures. This gives you ample opportunities to be honest in your disclosures. Also, marking a certain disclosure clause as ‘unknown’ shifts the burden on a buyer to inspect that particular problem. Hence, don’t make the mistake of lying on your disclosures, as that could count as fraudulent misrepresentation and attract a lawsuit.
- Most state laws prescribe that the disclosures should be provided before closing. As an FSBO seller, it is your duty to provide disclosures as soon as possible, since you do not have a real estate agent to do these things for you.
- ✍️ Pro Tip: Sellers who are selling their house the FSBO way are advised to keep their Disclosure Statement ready before listing on the MLS. It increases your credibility and reliability from a buyer’s perspective, as they get an idea of the property’s condition early on.
Tips To Minimize Issues in Disclosure Documents
|Review And Verify||There’s a time allowance (some permit 10 days) to review and verify everything about your Sale & Purchase Agreement—also the square footage, home usage, and marketing.|
|Ask Questions||Ask questions when in doubt. This would help you in avoiding future troubles.|
|Hire A Professional Inspector||A professional inspector can help you gather backup information about the property’s condition. You can also opt for a pre-inspection before listing.|
|Disclose Everything||To avoid problems in your home disclosure statement disclose everything you know honestly. Even though it’s a minor issue, you must disclose it.|
|Get A Licensed Agent Involved||The best way to avoid disclosure issues is to get a licensed real estate agent. Agents can help you manage and assist you in the process along the way.|
» Explore: America’s Top Real Estate Agents
- ✍️ Pro Tip: List Your Property With Houzeo
One of the best ways to minimize problems in your seller’s disclosure is to Purchase the “Contract to Close Upgrade Package”. A Licensed broker will review your paperwork to make sure it is appropriate. In addition, you should also have the settlement agent review the paperwork so you cover all bases.
» More: Start your FREE listing NOW!
Final Word: Complexity Of Sellers Disclosure PA
|Level of Complexity||Average|
|Is Pennsylvania a Caveat Emptor State? *||No|
|Is Pennsylvania a Non-Disclosure State? **||No|
*Caveat Emptor Rule means states that it is the buyer’s responsibility to find out if there are major or minor defects with the property. And if he/she does not perform the necessary due diligence to inspect, it’s likely not the seller’s liability if the property does not meet the expectation.
**In a non-disclosure state, the selling price of a house is not available to the masses on an open source.
- ✍️ Editor’s Note: Though selling your home yourself on a For Sale By Owner website can save you thousands in commission, we highly recommend you add a Flat Fee MLS listing to your marketing strategy. Check out the best Flat Fee MLS companies in Pennsylvania.
Dealing with seller disclosure in Pennsylvania comes with its own set of challenges and can give sellers sleepless nights if not dealt with properly. This is where Houzeo can help you.
By listing your property with Houzeo, you get access to all forms in electronic format. And that too, for FREE! Houzeo has segregated all the disclosures state-wise so that you don’t have to hunt for Pennsylvania seller disclosure statements separately.
Check out some of the Houzeo reviews and how it has helped customers around the US.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is sellers disclosure required in PA?
Yes. All home sellers in Pennsylvania are supposed to disclose material defects in their property before selling their homes.
What is a seller's disclosure PA?
The PA seller disclosure form is a simple 'yes' or 'no' questionnaire that the seller marks in appropriate boxes concerning the property's condition. Things that are not within a seller's knowledge can be marked as 'unknown'.
Does seller have to disclose previous inspection in Pennsylvania?
Although sellers need not conduct home inspections to sell their homes, sellers must disclose any known material defects to avoid a future lawsuit. But you can disclose the details of any inspection which you have conducted voluntarily in the past.
Do you have to disclose a death in a house in Pennsylvania?
No. Instances like death, suicide, or paranormal activities need not be disclosed in the Pennsylvania seller's disclosure.
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