What do sellers need to disclose when selling a Boston condo? In Massachusetts, Boston condo sellers have state-mandated disclosure obligations. Some buyers fail to understand what to expect and what is required to be disclosed by home sellers.
Boston condo sellers are obligated to disclose known material defects of the home. A “material defect” is an issue that if known to a prospective buyer, would cause that person to not buy the property, or to pay less for it. Obvious things that would be discovered during normal inspections don’t need to be noted. A damaged roof with water stains on the ceiling would be considered easy to find. So would a collapsed deck or roof. However, a damaged foundation behind a finished basement wall would not; nor would termite or water damage in an out of the way place. If the seller is aware of issues like these, they are compelled to disclose that as it’s a material defect.
If it can be shown that a Boston condo seller willfully failed to disclose material defects or misrepresented the facts, a buyer may have a cause for fraud, misrepresentation, or breach of contract. This then becomes a legal matter and a buyer may be entitled to rescind the contract or may be granted damages. Damages can vary; the Boston condo seller may be required to compensate the buyer for the diminished value or to pay the costs of repair. Damages can add up quickly as buyers may be forced out of the home for a period of time all on the seller’s tab. Boston real estate brokers are also subject to punishment for withholding information.
The seller’s property disclosure form is part of most traditional purchase contracts in MA, it is always best for sellers to answer those questions as honestly and accurately as possible. The amount of information readily available to buyers and third party players like inspectors, appraisers and insurance agents is significant. From permits to insurance claim history to mechanics liens to defective building product settlements, more information can be collected on a home than ever before. The best advice a seller can take is “when in doubt, disclose”.
Buyers have the “due diligence” period to thoroughly research the Boston condo for sale. It’s wise to engage professionals and let them work; inspectors, surveyors, radon, termite…whatever the buyer deems important is open for inspection. A buyer curious about the history of a home need only ask the seller. This is best done as a stipulation in the contract; this prevents any miscommunication and both the question and answer become a matter of record. If asked, sellers are legally required to disclose all information honestly.
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