The seller’s disclosure is one of the most important parts of a real estate transaction. An accurate and reliable document helps a buyer be more comfortable with the transaction.
Real estate agents in Pennsylvania carry a significant responsibility when it comes to disclosing property defects to potential buyers. Failure to fulfill this duty can lead to severe consequences, including losing their real estate license.
Seller disclosure requirements
The Pennsylvania Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law outlines requirements for agents representing sellers. Agents must advise sellers of their duty to disclose material defects by completing a property disclosure statement. This statement should meet or exceed the disclosures identified in the law.
Buyer representation obligations
Agents must inform buyers about the seller’s duty to provide a completed property disclosure statement. The buyer must receive the completed statement or a “refused” indication before signing the sale agreement.
Disclose material defects
Real estate agents and sellers in Pennsylvania are legally bound to disclose known material defects in a property. Material defects are issues that could substantially affect the value or desirability of the property. These defects may include:
- Structural problems
- Water damage
- Plumbing issues
- Electrical concerns
- Hazardous substances
In 2019, Pennsylvania released a Joint State Government Commission ranking the state sixth in the nation for homes at risk for lead paint.
Repercussions for Real Estate Agents
The Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission takes non-disclosure of property defects seriously. Real estate agents who neglect to reveal known defects can face disciplinary actions, ranging from fines to revocation of their license. These measures uphold the integrity of the real estate industry and protect the buyer.
Disclosing property defects is a foundational aspect of a real estate agent. The consequences for failing to meet this obligation extend beyond legal measures, impacting an agent’s professional reputation.