Homeowners want to put their best foot forward when selling their residence traditionally, which involves a lot. Realtors want a quick closing, so they are quite intense about getting the buyer to make the home as appealing as possible inside and out. They commonly say, “you have to spend a little to make a lot.” In the competitive environment powered by the MLS with its 3-D imaging and profiling, that’s probably the way to go. Still, it’s only one side of the coin. The other side is that there’s some necessary disclosure, no matter how stark and deflecting the truth may be. Let’s see what that entails.
Alabama Law on Property Seller Disclosure
It’s quite clear that any seller or a realtor acting for a seller must disclose accurate information under the following circumstances:
- When they know of defects that can harm buyers, their families, and residence visitors after purchase.
- When the buyer relies on interaction during negotiations based on professional trust (i.e., a fiduciary relationship). For example, they are accepting input from the seller’s agent.
- When buyers or their agents specifically ask questions about the intended purchase.
There’s an emphasis on the word ”knows.” Suppose you enter the selling process with:
- No knowledge of overt or latent health hazards
- And there are no buyer questions relating to it
Then you’re free and clear in that arena. As a seller, there’s no obligation to investigate and inform yourself about any feature or defect if you know nothing about it – unless a buyer asks specifically.
“AS-IS” Clauses in Residential Real Estate Transactions
In almost all cases, an “As-Is” clause underpins real estate transactions in Alabama. It essentially means buyers acknowledge that their decision was uninfluenced by any seller representations or misrepresentations (as the case may be). It’s an overpowering term that frequently even overcomes situations in the three categories above if it ever gets to court.
To be 100% Safe from After-sale Legal Hassles in a Traditional Sale
A significant non-disclosure is likely in the mix if you or your agent:
- Knew of health-threatening issues but deliberately withheld the information.
- Went against the protocols of fiduciary disclosure (court discretion is quite broad in deciding this).
There are always risks, and in the USA, anybody can sue anyone. Suppose a significant negative outlier pops up later, and there’s proof you knew about it. In that case, it could convert to a suable offense. Therefore, we recommend that you put the following situations on the table if you know about it:
- The home may be in a flood zone (generally revealed by standard due diligence). However, discovering some overlap with unusual agricultural or wetland terrain can easily escape buyer attention. If you know about it, speak up.
- If you’re living on top of a landfill or fuel-storage unit, it probably poses a pollution threat. As-Is may give you an escape hatch even on this, but why take a chance. Reveal, don’t conceal.
- When you’re aware, there are health hazards in the construction, like lead paint or plumbing, asbestos, and mold. Aligned with this, any connection to toxic spills and radon testing in the neighborhood (if aware) qualifies as disclosable.
- Dial buyers in on construction defects created by past fire, water, smoke, rodent, and termite events that went unremedied and uncleared by a certified contractor.
- Do tell when there are shared facilities like a garage or rental arrangements involving tenants and leases; unless you bring it up, nobody will uncover it until later. Legally that can hit you between the eyes.
So, How Compelling are “As-Is” Real Estate Transactions?
Very, is the short answer. As-is deals implicitly appreciate that there’s a lot more to residences changing hands than meets the eye. That’s why there are home inspections by companies professionally equipped to search for and uncover:
- Latent defects under the driveway, behind the walls, in the HVAC systems, chimneys, and patios.
- Roof leaks and weaknesses from storms, hurricanes, and wear-and-tear.
- Sewage and drainage issues.
- Bedrock defects and foundational flaws.
- Swimming pool ruptures.
- Mold buildup.
- Broken windows
There’s no doubt that buyers coming into shared community situations will ask about the HOA’s financial health, fees, restrictions on rentals, etc. You can easily cover yourself by providing all essential HOA documentation to the buyer (or buyer’s agent) at the start of the process or whenever requested.
Disclosure – The Bottom Line with a Realtor in the Mix
When you work with a traditional realtor, every prospect interested in the home will fall under the same disclosure umbrella but possibly with unique questions and health concerns. Mostly, you have to rely on your agent to represent things professionally within all the expected disclosure boundaries.
Sometimes you discover a disclosure that should have but never happened. Perhaps the realtor bypassed it to speed a deal along, thus putting you in an invidious position after the sale. Have you ever tried getting into a “he said, she said” conversation with an agent after they’ve claimed their commission? There are more difficult tasks, but not many. Therefore, when going the traditional route, hitch your wagon to one with a strong reputation.
Sell Your House As-Is
When You Sell to Home Buyers Birmingham – See the Difference
Disclosure risk becomes another massive grey area removed from the equation, along with payments for curbside appeal, staging, decluttering, and renovations. Also, on the plus side of the home for cash buyers is the disappearance of:
- Mortgage lender assessments from collapsing the deal
- Agent commissions
- Home inspections diluting your offer price after the event
- The inconvenience of buyer showings.
When Home Buyers Birmingham Enters the Conversation, Things Get Interesting:
The company gives real meaning to the term As-Is, a genuine driver of stress-release. You can take it as a given, they’ll ask you all the right questions about the structure, tenants, and HOA fees. When you deal with Home Buyers Birmingham:
- It’s always underpinned by a cash deal.
- More importantly, you’re interacting with a thoroughbred professional and expert that covers all the bases so that you don’t have to worry about leaving anything out.
- Their expert home inspection occurs before you get the offer, accounting for repairs (if any) from A to Z.
- The offer you see is money in the bank whenever you choose to close. There are no ifs and buts, and zero come-back once things close.
Pre-disclosure is a consideration ruled by common sense, mostly, not only law. It’s a stickier spot with real estate agents because you have to trust their advice. Home cash buyers like Home Buyers Birmingham understand every nook and cranny of a property sale, and it’s unlikely that anything will escape their scrutiny. Nonetheless, sellers should assume a stance of transparency no matter who the buyer or agent is and not attempt to hide salient property characteristics from anyone.
Condition Doesn't Scare Us
Home Buyers Birmingham
1821 11th Avenue South Suite #55331
Birmingham, Alabama 35205