Can you hide defects in a home if you list and sell it as-is?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2021 | Uncategorized

Homes are major, expensive investments. Sometimes, people buy a home as a project before realizing they don’t have the time or money to fix it up the way it requires. Other times, they may have let maintenance slide over the years and now have too many projects to reasonably handle.

If you want to sell a property because it requires more work than you think it’s worth as someone who won’t live there indefinitely, you probably know that the defects in the property will affect the offers you receive from potential buyers. People might try to make lowball offers if they think that the condition of the property justifies them.

You might think that avoiding the disclosure of issues with the foundation or furnace will be in your best interest, which might lead you to try listing the property yourself to sell in as-is condition. Unfortunately, if you do so, you could be at risk for claims from the person who eventually buys the property.

As-is sale terms do not justify omissions or intentional deceit

There are many laws that apply to the transfer and sale of real property specifically to help protect people buying a home from fraud and misrepresentation. You could sell a property as-is in order to avoid demands from a seller to make repairs to the property.

However, even if you list the property as-is, you still have an obligation to provide honest information about known defects on your seller’s disclosure. Chemical issues, including those tied to drug manufacturing, and even hard-to-spot issues with major systems like the foundation are all issues you must not hide from buyers. Pennsylvania has a state-mandated disclosure form that must be given to buyers.

If you hide the defects and don’t report them, the buyers could come after you for a portion of the sale price or the cost of the repairs necessary to put the property in the condition that they believed it was in when they made the purchase.

Buyers who can prove deceit could take legal action

Your former neighbors who talked about repairs with you or even a contractor who came out to give you a quote on the cost of repairs could testify and provide evidence that you knew about the issue and chose not to disclose it.

Before you make any major decisions with the sale of real estate, it is usually best to get advice from someone familiar with this area of law in order to protect yourself and theoretically maximize the return on your investment.