1. Form to Use
TREC Seller’s Disclosure of Property Condition form is a copy of the statutory minimum information set out in the Texas Property Code. TAR’s Seller’s Disclosure Notice, contains additional provisions to increase the information provided to buyers. The additional information is designed to reduce risk and exposure for sellers and as an information source for buyers.
2. Exemptions to the Obligation
The seller’s disclosure notice statute contains 11 narrow exemptions. The most common of these exemptions apply to: (a) a builder of a new home, (b) a trustee or executor of an estate, and (c) the lender after foreclosing on a property.
Keep in mind, however, even though these types of sellers are not required to provide a disclosure notice, they still must disclose any known material defects. A material defect is a specific issue with a system or component of a residential property that may have a significant, adverse impact on the value of the property, or that poses an unreasonable risk to people. For example, a lender who knows about a cracked foundation in a property that the lender acquired through foreclosure must disclose the defect to any buyer who purchases the property from the lender. The means of disclosure is not mandated.
A seller’s disclosure is not required on a Duplex, however, to reduce any potential risk and/or litigation, the owner of a duplex may decide to provide the notice for each side of the duplex. Remember, disclose, disclose, disclose!
The statutory requirement to provide the notice does not apply to any lease transaction, no matter the duration of the lease period.
Texas falls closely in line with the majority of states by recognizing that a seller or agent has no duty to disclose deaths that occurred because of natural causes, suicide, or an accident that was unrelated to the condition of the property. Any known murders must be disclosed, as they are considered facts material to a real estate transaction. In addition, the Texas statute also requires disclosure of deaths that were caused by a condition existing on the property, even if the condition was subsequently remedied. This provision was intended to inform buyers about deaths resulting from structural defects or other dangers inherent to a property.
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