Purchasing a house is a major financial commitment, which is why real estate law in most states offers buyers significant protections, especially when it comes to property defects. While you should always conduct a thorough home inspection before closing, sellers are required to disclose any known defects that could affect the value of the property. Understanding your rights as a buyer and knowing what to look for in property disclosures will help protect your investment.
Real Estate Disclosures in New York
What Sellers Are Required to Disclose
New York’s real estate laws require sellers to offer information on a wide range of potential issues, from the condition of the room to past drainage issues in the foundation. Sellers are also required to tell you if the house is located in a floodplain, agricultural zone, or near a landfill, and whether it contains asbestos or lead-based paint. These disclosures should include both current issues and past problems that have been corrected.
Consulting an Attorney
Even if your state’s real estate laws don’t require sellers to disclose certain conditions of the property, they must answer direct questions honestly. A real estate law attorney will review the disclosure form with you, point out potential issues that aren’t listed, and recommend questions you should ask before closing. Based on their suggestions, you may uncover defects that could put you in a stronger negotiating position, or give you a reason to walk away from the sale.
Penalties for Failing to Disclose
Real estate sales are generally final, but buyers do have legal recourse if the sellers failed to disclose or actively tried to conceal material defects with the house. You may be able to sue for the cost of repairs or, if the problems are substantial enough, have the deal rescinded entirely. A skilled attorney with real estate law experience will be able to identify your legal options and work to protect your interests.
Buying a home can be an exciting milestone, and having a skilled attorney can help ensure your experience is positive. For over 30 years, John E. Bach Attorney at Law has been representing buyers throughout Orange County, NY, helping them make informed decisions with personal attention and genuine concern for their financial well-being. Visit their website for more on their real estate law services, or call (845) 294-7941 to arrange a free consultation today.