Whether purchasing a first home or investing in a vacation or rental property, for many buyers the most intimidating part of a real estate search is determining whether a house is worth the asking price.
From hidden structural or home-system issues to legal disputes over property boundaries and title ownership, house or title defects can easily turn a good deal into a financial and/or legal nightmare. As in other states, Connecticut real estate law tries to protect buyers by requiring sellers to disclose certain specific details about a property before agreeing to a sale.
How do sellers inform buyers of issues?
Under Connecticut’s Uniform Property Condition Disclosure Act, most sellers of residential properties must provide buyers with a detailed property condition report before making a sale agreement.
What issues must sellers disclose?
The presence of lead or asbestos in building materials or plumbing is one of the best-known examples of required seller disclosures. Other items included in the property condition report include:
- Property ownership or usage claims by third parties, such as encroachments or easements
- Past or present issues with house systems, including HVAC equipment, plumbing, underground storage tanks and electrical systems
- Knowledge of any municipal plans for sewer, water main or sidewalk work
- The presence of any liens on the property
- Whether the property is in a flood hazard zone
- Whether the property is in a historic or special tax district
Unfortunately, too often sellers fail to disclose known defects in an effort to push a deal through. Buyers worried about potential issues should be sure to perform a thorough title search and home inspection to ensure their new purchase does not involve hidden issues.