As a seller in Tennessee, you may have several questions and doubts in your journey on how to sell a house in Tennessee. There are many factors involved from the moment you engage with a buyer until the closing process. Questions such as how does for sale by owner work in Tennessee or whether opting for a real estate agent would be better? creates distress and confusion among sellers.
Once these issues are tackled then you find yourself in a sea of legal paperwork. Seller Disclosure Tennessee documents are one of the legal documents in your journey of selling. They are complex and may also seem daunting. Worry not, we are here to guide you through real estate disclosure laws in Tennessee.
What are Seller Disclosures?
The Seller Disclosure form is a standard checklist form containing material defects and features of the property. It specifically 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, then the seller must disclose them. However, sellers should report these defects to the best of their knowledge and understanding.
The aim of Seller Disclosure is to maintain transparency in the real – estate transaction to keep the buyer aware of any defects present in the house.
Importance of Seller Disclosures
Seller’s 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 may be exempted 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.|
Tennessee Real Estate Disclosure Laws
Specific federal and state laws govern the home sellers in relation to the sale of their residential property.
Tennessee Property Disclosure laws require you to fill out the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Form. It notifies the buyer of any defects that could affect the property’s value.
The seller shall also make lead-based paint and methamphetamine production disclosures to a prospective buyer.
Tennessee Residential Property Condition Disclosure
As stated in Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-5-201 et seq., home sellers must disclose certain conditions or defects to the buyer. The Seller Disclosure Form Tennessee specifically asks sellers to answer a series of questions regarding the property.
Under Tennessee Real Estate Law Disclosure, owners must provide a list of certain material defects that exist prior to the binding of the sale agreement. The Tennessee Residential Property Condition Disclosure asks owners to disclose information and malfunctions of structural or mechanical components regarding the property’s condition.
Failure to disclose material defects or lying on the Disclosure form could result in the loss of a sale or severe legal action consequences.
- ✍️ Editor’s Note: Latent material defects are the ones which are not apparent or visibly recognizable defects, but they significantly affect the value of the property. Generally, these defects pose a threat to the safety or health of the occupants.
The Tennessee Real Estate Disclosure form identifies any known information that would affect the buyer’s decision if they knew about it. Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-5-202 also requires that the form includes a notice to buyers that they may wish to ask for professional advice and an inspection of the house.
The following information must be disclosed under Real Estate Disclosure laws in Tennessee:-
|1.||Environmental Hazards||These are health-related issues or potentially hazardous environmental concerns that may affect a person's physical, mental, and social well-being. Issues such as radon gas, lead-based paint, asbestos, contaminated soil or water, etc.|
|2.||Sinkholes||Any previous or current sinkholes on the property must be thoroughly disclosed and discussed before signing any contract.|
|3.||Road Changes, Drainage, or Utility Issues||Flooding, grading problems in the property must be disclosed.|
|4.||Property or Structural Damage||Present or past damages that were/are caused by fire, earthquake, floods, landslides, tremors, winds, storm, or wood destroying organisms.|
|5.||Insect or Pest Infestations||This is considered a major defect that can cause wood rot or moisture that may affect the home’s present value.|
|6.||Essential Property Components||This covers the ceiling, cracks in the foundation, electrical wiring, plumbing, and as well as the HVAC system.|
|7.||Property Boundary Dispute||Sellers should also divulge information on the property deed and survey (encroachments, easements, and other ownership interest issues).|
|8.||Legal Claims Against Your Property||There’s also a need to disclose (either pending or current) legal claim that could affect your transaction of the property.|
|9.||Homeowners Associations||Sellers should never forget to disclose the Homeowners Association (HOA) documents as part of the home sale since it’s the buyer’s right to review the CCRs (Covenants, Codes, and Restrictions) before closing the deal.|
|10.||Percolation Tests or Soil Absorption Rates||The owner should inform the buyer of any percolation tests that are accepted by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.|
|11.||Planned Unit Development||The seller should notify the buyer if the property is in a Planned Unit Development.|
Sellers Not Legally Bound to Disclose Certain Information
Under real estate disclosure laws in Tennessee, specific information like homicide and suicide are not legally required to be disclosed. Similarly, information on the occupancy of prior residents that were afflicted with HIV or other diseases that were highly unlikely to be transmitted need not be disclosed.
Also, sellers don’t need to perform inspections on the property. According to Tenn. Code Ann. § 66-5-201, a seller “shall not be required to undertake or provide any independent investigation or inspection of the property in order to make the disclosures.”
» Also Read: Foreclosure in Tennessee – Read our blog to know how to stop foreclosures in Tennessee.
Federal Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint
It’s highly required for the seller of any residential real property to provide the buyer with any information on lead-based paint hazards prior to the purchase. Under federal law, the owner should comply with the lead-based paint disclosure.
The seller is obligated to fill out the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure TN to disclose or notify about the presence of any lead-based paint or chipped paint on the property that may have health-related risks like lead poisoning.
The seller may offer a 10-day period for the buyer to complete a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or lead-based hazards. You can get a lead hazard inspection firm through here.
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Failure of Seller to Disclose Information
Although we’ve established the importance of disclosure for purchase and sale agreements, there’s a possibility that the seller may not know that a defect exists. However, if the owner knows that the defect exists, this could result in legal action—and would possibly negate the contract.
This means that the seller should be held responsible for the actual damages sustained, and for the termination of the purchase and sale contract. It’s advisable to hire a real estate lawyer to help you learn more about your rights as a seller.
Also Read: Companies that buy houses for cash in Tennessee – Find out the 9 Best Companies that Buy Houses for Cash in Tennessee.
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. Even though it may not be legally required in your state, sellers should complete all disclosure formalities as soon as possible.
- Likewise, sellers also get an option to mark a point as ‘unknown’ in disclosures. This gives you ample opportunity 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 would 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.
» Also Read: Best Real Estate Websites in Tennessee – Find out the best real estate websites in Tennessee.
Tips to Minimize Issues in Tennessee Real Estate Disclosure Documents
|Review And Verify||There’s a time allowance (some permit 10 days) to review and verify everything about your Purchase and Sales 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.|
» More: Tennessee Home Inspections – Read everything you need to know about home inspection in Tennessee.
|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.|
» More: Best Realtor in Tennessee – Read more to know more about best realtors in Tennessee.
Also Read: Tennessee Home Inspector – Find out the best home inspectors in Tennessee.
- ✍️ 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!
Also Read: Average Cost of Home Inspection in Tennessee – Read to know the average cost of home inspection in Tennessee.
Final Word: Complexity of Seller Disclosures in Tennessee
|Level of Complexity||Average|
|Is Tennessee a Caveat Emptor State?||No|
|Is Tennessee a Non-Disclosure State?||No|
TN Seller Disclosure laws do not follow the rule of ‘caveat emptor,’ i.e. let the buyer beware. Thus, it is the seller’s duty to disclose all material defects that may affect the monetary value of the house to the prospective buyer.
Tennessee Seller’s Disclosures Statements are a little complicated. Selling your house FSBO is usually good, but then you would have to deal with all the disclosures on your own. This demands that you be aware of all the disclosure requirements and that any mistake can cost you dearly. Houzeo can help you with this.
- ✍️ 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 Tennessee MLS Listing.
» More: Flat Fee Tennessee
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 Tennessee seller disclosures separately.
Check out some of the Houzeo Offers and how it has helped customers around the US.
*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.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What do sellers have to disclose to the prospective buyer in Tennessee?
Sellers are legally required to disclose material defects pertaining to health or safety hazards to the prospective buyer prior to the contractual binding of the Parties.
2. Do sellers have to disclose the occurrence of prior death in the house to the buyer in Tennessee?
No, sellers are not legally required to make disclosures pertaining to the occurrence of prior death in the house.
3. What happens if seller lies on the Tennessee Disclosure Statement?
If the seller has lied on the Disclosure Statement then the buyer can proceed to sue such a seller and claim damages including costs of repairs.
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