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Georgia Seller's Property Disclosure
What is a seller's property disclosure in Georgia? Is it required by law? And what information are you expected to disclose about your property? We'll talk about all that and more coming right up.
Hey, everybody Misty here with Lake Lanier Homes & Estates. So today I wanted to talk to you a little bit about sellers’ property disclosures. What these are in Georgia is a multi-page questionnaire. It's designed specifically to help sellers disclose to buyers any defects known to their property under Georgia law. So a defect would be considered something like an adverse condition that any reasonable buyer would take into consideration when they're making a purchase of a home. Now a latent defect would be something that even with an inspection and proper due diligence, a buyer might not be able to discover about the property. So for example, let's say that you have a crumbling foundation and you know it's crumbling, but you've had someone come out and build a wall around it. So when the inspector comes, it looks like a great new foundation, but you know there's something more hiding behind that. That my friends is considered fraud and that is not a position you want to find yourself in.
So it's always best to take these forms very seriously, fill them out to the best of your ability and knowledge and remember, it's always better to over disclose than to under disclose. There is no law in the state of Georgia that requires a seller's property disclosure to be part of the real estate transaction. Buyers in Georgia operate on buyer beware, which means that they are solely responsible for completing their own due diligence, inspections, and learning everything they can about the property prior to the purchase. However, they're still going to expect that you have a seller's property disclosure filled out to give them any information that you have about the property. The only exception to this would be if you have a bank-owned property estate or investor own property, they don't have firsthand knowledge of the condition of the home. However, they still are required to give you any information that they know and to be upfront and honest about any of your questions.
As a general rule, to protect yourself from future accusations of fraud or misrepresentation, always fill out the seller's property disclosure. Answer the buyer's questions honestly. Be upfront and tell them about any known issues you have or any problems you're having with the condition of the property. Now that you know that you have to disclose everything about your property, let's talk about the few things that Georgia does not require you to disclose. You are not required to disclose if there's a registered sex offender who lives in the area, you are also not required by law to disclose if there has been a murder, felony or suicide that has taken place in the property. In a buyer beware state, it is still the responsibility of the buyer to find out all this information during their due diligence period.
Now if the buyer asks you a question directly related to these specific topics, you are still required to answer their questions honestly and not to hide that information from them. The only time that you're not expected to answer a buyer's questions honestly and completely is if the questions they are asking violate any of the state or federal fair housing laws.
I hope this helped to answer some of the questions that you may have regarding the Georgia seller's property disclosure. If things are still unclear or if you have questions that maybe I didn't touch upon, please feel free to reach out and I'll be happy to get to that for you.
Meet Misty Harris - a U.S Army Veteran and licensed professional REALTOR with JP & Associates Realtors Metro Atlanta. Misty has always been passionate about real estate. It began with her admiration ....