Excerpt from a realtor.com story on the nightmares you might need to disclosure to buyers. This story includes thoughts from Rick Davis on the need to disclose the fact a home is a former meth lab in either Kansas or Missouri.
If you’ve ever bought or sold a home, you probably know that the seller has to disclose any major problems before the sale can go through.
A crack in the foundation, a basement prone to flooding—it’s this kind of terror-inducing structural news that can signal a bad investment, so naturally, you need to tell any prospective buyers. And, if you don’t disclose it, you could face a huge lawsuit to cover repairs years down the line.
But disclosure laws are very state-specific. What a seller has to disclose in one state isn’t necessarily something that needs to be disclosed in another—much to the chagrin of buyers.
So what falls into that fun-filled gray area? Let’s take a look.
Rick Davis is a real estate attorney who practices in Kansas City, MO and KS. This means he gets to regularly see how disclosure laws vary widely between two states, even if they share a city.
One of the biggest differences between the two states (although, thankfully, it doesn’t come up often) is that Kansas doesn’t require a seller to disclose if the home was previously the site of an illegal meth lab, while Missouri does.
“I have had a client who purchased a home in Missouri that was a former lab,” he says. “The person they bought the home from did not disclose the history of the home, and they discovered it after doing some research related to a class the husband was taking in law school.
“They were getting ready to sell the home and were worried about the depreciation of value because they would now have to disclose the history as they now knew about it. We discussed the possibility of suing the seller, but for various reasons they decided not to follow through with litigation.”
The thing about disclosure is that you aren’t required to disclose what you don’t know, so sometimes looking too deep into the history of your home can be a bad thing. In this case, if the couple hadn’t done the research into their home, they wouldn’t have had to tell potential buyers anything about the home’s “Breaking Bad” roots.
To read the remainder of this story, please go to Bad Neighbors, and Other Nightmares You Might Need to Disclose to Buyers.