In Washington, the process of selling real estate is governed, in part, by strict disclosure requirements designed to ensure that both buyer and seller are fully informed about the property. These disclosures are designed to protect the buyer from unforeseen issues and to prevent the seller from future legal disputes arising from undisclosed defects.
The law mandates that sellers provide detailed disclosures about a property’s condition. This allows buyers to make informed decisions about whether to purchase the property or what may be required once they make the purchase.
Condition of the property
Sellers must fill out either an unimproved or improved residential real estate disclosure form, which covers various topics about the property’s condition. This comprehensive form asks about the state of the home’s electrical, plumbing, heating and other systems. It also includes questions about any material defects the property might have, including issues with the title, environmental hazards such as asbestos and any history of flooding or land instability.
Another crucial aspect of the disclosure involves environmental hazards. Sellers must disclose the presence of any known contaminants, such as lead-based paint, in homes built before 1978. Information about the property’s susceptibility to natural disasters, including flood zones and earthquake risk, is also required.
Homeowners’ association (HOA) information
If the property is part of a homeowners’ association (HOA), sellers must provide buyers with specific information related to the HOA. This includes the HOA’s fees, any special assessments that might be pending and the minutes from recent HOA meetings.
The requirement for detailed disclosures in Washington real estate transactions underscores the importance of transparency in the buying and selling process. Both parties involved in a transaction should review all documents involved in the process. Seeking legal assistance is often beneficial due to the complexity of this undertaking and the stakes of any particular transaction in question.