In Arizona, sellers are required to tell any “material” facts about a property. A material fact is any information that could affect a buyer’s decision to buy a property. Or, affect the amount the buyer would offer for the property. The Arizona Association of Realtors has a Residential Seller Disclosure Advisory for sellers to complete. The seller completes the disclosure document for the buyer. It is important for sellers to tell a buyer what they know about the property. Arizona’s Seller Disclosure Form has 5 sections. This covers the property and has extra space for the seller to add any other necessary information.
In this section, sellers state the names of the legal owners of the property. Sellers tell the buyer whether the property is in a Home Owner’s Association. Also, sellers disclose whether there are any assessments the seller is aware of. This section covers general information a seller should know. This is information a buyer would want to know to decide to buy a property. Most information is straight forward and easy for sellers to answer.
- Building and Safety Information
- Can A Seller Refuse to Provide Disclosures
- Does a Buyer have Recourse if A Seller Lies?
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- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
- What is an Important or Material Fact?
- Some Things Do Not Require Disclosure
- I am an FSBO (For Sale By Owner)
- Phoenix Homes on the Market in the last 7 days $250,000 – $350,000
Building and Safety Information
This section addresses structural issues with the property. Additionally, this section also addresses termites, plumbing, electrical and pool aspects of the property. Buyers who have lived in a property for many years may not recall every visit by a plumber or electrician, they should recall anything that was a major issue. Sellers are expected to reveal routine maintenance of their property, Here buyers are looking for anything unusual or identifying issues to be concerned with.
A seller must identify what utility services are available at the property. Also, this includes electricity, gas water, cable or other utility providers. This helps the buyer find the service providers. Additionally, buyers may prefer one service provider over another, ie in Phoenix SRP (Salt River Project) versus APS (Arizona Public Service)
Sellers must disclose anything they know about environmental issues on the property. This includes landfills, settling soil and
addresses any known issues such as soil settling, landfills, etc.
Sewer/Waste Water Treatment
Sellers are required to tell a buyer whether the property is connected to a sewer or a septic system. Within the city limits properties are usually connected to a sewer system, but not always. Also, It is not unusual for homes in rural areas to be on a septic system.
Can A Seller Refuse to Provide Disclosures
We often see seller declining to give a Seller Property Disclosure Statement. Sometimes they state that they have never lived in the home. The state of Arizona in this document is not asking if someone lived in a property. They are asking what the seller knows about the property.
A seller who rented a house out for 5 years would be aware of repair items. They would have paid for those repairs. Again, not living in a property does not mean the owner isn’t aware of issues or repairs to the property. We also see this often with investor properties. The investor bought a property, went in and repaired or updated the property. Again, they may not have lived in the house, but there do know what has been updated. They also know if they found such issues as mold, electrical or plumbing issues.
Again, the question is not whether the owner lived in the property. The state of Arizona wants buyers to have the full benefit of what the seller knows about the property. Additionally, this information could affect the amount of money a buyer is willing to pay for the property. This information could also affect whether the buyer wants to cancel the contract and not go ahead with the sale.
Does a Buyer have Recourse if A Seller Lies?
Sellers who fail to disclose could find themselves with legal action from a buyer. If a buyer finds an issue that the seller should have disclosed, there are legal remedies open to them. It isn’t unusual for neighbors to be aware of house issues. Therefore, this information could be passed to the buyer.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Sellers are required by Federal law to disclosure to buyers that the home was built before 1978. Homes built prior 1978 could contain lead-based paint. It is then up the buyer to do any lead-based testing they feel they want to do. The seller is only required to disclose there “may” be lead-based paint in the home.
What is an Important or Material Fact?
Sellers are required to tell a buyer important or material issues. Additionally, a material issue is one that may have an impact on the value of the property. Also, would this information affect the buyer’s decision to buy the property? Additionally, would it affect the price offered? However, we don’t what know is “material” to a buyer. Therefore, sellers are asked to tell the buyer anything that could affect the buyer’s decision to move ahead with the sale. Typically, a scratch on the wall or a crack in a tile is not “material” facts on the house condition. Also, sellers should disclose things a buyer can’t see, such as prior repairs or damage, ie fire damage, roof damage, and repair from a storm, a prior slab leak, etc.
Some Things Do Not Require Disclosure
A seller is not required to tell a buyer that a sex offender is living in the area. However, many sellers may not know if there is an offender in the area. Also, buyers can look up this information by going to the Arizona Department of Safety Sex Offender Database
Sellers are not required to tell a buyer about a death on the property. A natural death, murder or suicide is not required to be disclosed. However, in many older homes years ago it was typical for the homeowner to die at home. Therefore some homes on the east coast of midwest could have had multiple deaths due to natural causes.
Also, A seller is not required to tell a buyer whether a felony was committed on the property.
A seller is not required to tell whether the house was owned by someone with AIDS, HIV or any other disease that could be transmitted by occupancy in a property.
Sellers are required to answer a question honestly or state they will not answer. A seller can not lie to the buyer. Also, if the seller truly does not know an answer of “I don’t know” is acceptable. Remember, the sellers are to reveal what they know. But, they are not expected to know every bit of history about the house. However, the seller is expected to answer truthfully.
I am an FSBO (For Sale By Owner)
Arizona law does not make a distinction between sellers selling their own property or those using a real estate agent. Sellers must reveal what they know about a property without a buyer having to ask. Additionally, a homeowner selling their own home is not exempt from disclosure. However, sellers in a private sale are often unaware of the legal requirements.
Sellers need to give full disclosure of any information about their property that would affect a buyer’s decision to buy the property. Also, they are required to reveal anything that could affect the price a buyer is willing to pay for the property. Additionally, buyers should get a home inspection. Buyers have 10 days to complete any inspections that are important to them in Arizona. Also, this is typically a home inspection, termite inspection, pool inspection, and roof inspection. And, buyers should check the seller disclosures before completing their inspection. Buyers should focus on earlier repairs.
Phoenix Homes on the Market in the last 7 days $250,000 – $350,000