As a seller in Iowa, you may have several questions and doubts in your journey on how to sell a house in Iowa. 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 Iowa 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 Iowa 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 Iowa.
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.|
Iowa Seller Disclosure Laws
The sellers in Iowa are bound by specific federal and state laws in relation to the sale of their property. Set out below are a few pointers revolving around Iowa seller disclosure laws.
Statute on Seller Disclosure
Iowa Seller Disclosure law is governed under Iowa Code chapter 558A. It mandates a seller to fill out the Residential Property Seller Disclosure Statement form as required by the Iowa Real Estate Commission. The seller must deliver the Disclosure Statement to the prospective buyer either before they have made an offer or before acceptance of the offer.
The seller must deliver the Disclosure Statement either personally, electronically, or via registered mail. Disclosures made orally hold no legal validity.
Failure of Seller to Deliver the Disclosure Statement
Upon failure to deliver the Disclosure Statement in time, the prospective buyer has the power to withdraw his offer or to revoke the acceptance without being held liable. The buyer can do this within 3 (three) days following personal delivery or within 5 (five) days following electronic or mail delivery.
Set out below are a few questions pertaining to the seller’s disclosures.
|1.||Lead-Based Paints||– If property built prior to 1978 contains any lead-based paint.|
|2.||Pest infestations||– Any case of infestation.|
|3.||Heating Systems||– Any Repair or damages.|
|4.||Plumbing/ Sewer Systems||– Any damages or issues with drinking water, sewage systems or plumbing.|
|5.||Roofs||– Any leaks or repairs.|
|6.||Electrical Systems||– Any repairs.|
|7.||Asbestos||– Presence if any in the structure.|
|8.||Radon||– Presence if any in the structure.|
|9.||Flood Plain||– Flood Plain designation, if located in a flood plain.|
|10.||Structural Damage||– Any structural damage.|
Disclosure of Material Defects
Apart from stating various characteristics and important aspects of the property and structure, the seller must disclose pertinent material defects of the house. Sellers must refrain from actively concealing any defect and must disclose all information in good faith.
- ✍️ 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.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Iowa
Additionally, as mandated under Federal Law, the sellers must disclose if their property (if built prior to 1978) has been coated by lead-based paints. The Lead-based paint disclosure form for the seller should be filled out by the seller.
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» Also Read: Companies that buy houses for cash in Iowa – Find out the 9 Best Companies that Buy Houses for Cash in Texas.
What Happens if the Seller Lies on the Disclosure Statement?
If sellers don’t make necessary disclosures or make misstatements, then they are liable for fraud, misrepresentation, or breach of contract. The buyer can seek damages against the seller and also claim the cost of repairs.
» More: Best Real Estate Websites in Iowa – Find out the best real estate websites in Iowa.
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 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: How To List On MLS For Sale By Owner Without A Realtor – Read Houzeo’s detailed information on how to list your house without a realtor.
Tips to Minimize Issues in Iowa 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: Iowa Home Inspections – Read everything you need to know about home inspection in Iowa.
Average Cost of Home Inspection in Iowa – Read to know the average cost of home inspection in Iowa.
|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. Read our blog on the List of real estate agents in Iowa.|
» More: Best Realtor in Iowa – Read more to know more about best realtors in Iowa.
» More: Iowa Home Inspector – Find out the best home inspectors in Iowa.
- ✍️ 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 Iowa – Read to know the average cost of home inspection in Iowa.
Final Word: Complexity of Seller’s Disclosure in Iowa
|Level of Complexity||Average|
|Is Iowa a Caveat Emptor State?||No|
|Is Iowa a Non-Disclosure State?||No|
Disclosure laws in Iowa 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 or additional disclosures that may affect the monetary value of the house to the prospective buyer.
Iowa 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 Iowa MLS Listing.
» More: Flat Fee Texas
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 Iowa seller disclosures separately.
Check out some of the Houzeo Offers and how it has helped customers around the US.
*Seller disclosures are exclusively 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.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are seller's disclosures required in Iowa?
Yes, seller disclosure is mandated under the Iowa Code.
Is Iowa a caveat-emptor state?
No, Iowa is not a "buyer-beware state". The sellers are responsible for disclosing all defects and features of their property to the prospective buyer.
Do the buyers have legal remedy in case the seller has lied on the Seller Disclosure?
Yes, the buyers have legal remedies. They can claim damages and the cost of repairs against the seller in a civil court.
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