When you decide to sell a property, there’s a certain level of trust that’s established between you and the buyer. Part of that trust is based on your willingness to be forthcoming about any known issues with the home.
Some sellers choose not to provide a disclosure statement because they’re worried about scaring off potential buyers or being held liable for future problems. It’s important to remember, however, that buyers can always back out of a deal if they find something they’re not happy with — and you could be held liable if you don’t disclose a material defect and the buyer later discovers it.
Maryland Property Defects Disclosure Disclosure Law
In Maryland, sellers have the option to provide a Home Seller Disclosure Statement, which is a form that outlines any material defects with the property.
Md. Code § 10-702 is the form used for the Real Estate Disclosure Act, which states that, before entering into a contract to sell or lease residential real estate property in Maryland, the seller shall give the buyer a written disclosure or disclaimer statement.
Disclaimer vs. Disclosure
Sellers can choose the disclaimer or disclosure route. Disclaiming means that you don’t say anything about the condition of your home, and the buyer takes it “as is,” though can have the opportunity to inspect and request repairs, etc… You don’t have to do any repairs, although you can if you want to. If you go down this route, make sure your contract states that the sale is “as is” and list any exceptions, like appliances or fixtures that will stay with the house.
On the other hand, if you choose to disclose, you must tell the buyer about any and all material defects with the property that you are aware of. A material defect is something that would have a significant impact on the value of the property or make it unsafe. For example, if your home has a serious problem with mold, that would be considered a material defect.
Property Defects To Disclose in Maryland
These are the property defects you should disclose:
Common structural defects:
- Foundation cracks or settlement
- Roof leaks or damage
- Wall cracks or damage
- Sagging floors or ceilings
- Staircase problems
Possible material defects in the plumbing system:
- Leaks in pipes
- Poor water pressure
- Rusty pipes
- Old fixtures
- Sewer line problems
HVAC system defects to disclose:
- Leaks in the ductwork
- Malfunctioning or broken thermostat
- Inadequate insulation around the HVAC unit
- Inoperative blower motor
- Clogged air filter
Defects in the Electric System buyers should know:
- Defective knob and tube wiring
- Ungrounded outlets
- Damaged aluminum wiring
- Faulty circuit breakers or fuse boxes
Although sellers aren’t expected to be building experts or identify all defects in their properties, they are required to disclose certain information about their property to buyers in Maryland. That’s why it’s crucial to have the proper legal support throughout the selling process.
We at the LewisMcDaniels law firm Frederick can help you understand what needs to be disclosed, as well as protect your interests if any issues arise. Learn more about our legal services Frederick today.