Sellers of real estate have many responsibilities, and that makes the process very stressful. During a sale, the seller is required to provide a buyer with certain information. Though a seller is not required to disclose all information about the property, it is important to know that certain conditions regarding the property are required to be disclosed. Failure to disclose such information could result in a lawsuit against the seller by the purchaser.
To determine whether a seller’s failure to reveal certain conditions of real property is a violation of Missouri law, a court will look at whether or not the condition was discoverable if the buyer was to exercise reasonable diligence. In other words, if a poor condition would be discovered in the course of an ordinary inspection of the property, a seller is not obligated to disclose the condition to the buyer. However, if the seller is aware of an underlying condition that would not be discovered in an ordinary inspection of the premises, she has a duty to disclose this information to the buyer prior to the sale. Examples of such disclosures are:
- Deficiencies in the plumbing
- Pending litigation on the property not available to the public
- Structural damage between the walls not visible to the eye
Nevertheless, failure to disclose this information does not always mean that a seller has violated the law. Rather, it must also be true that:
- The seller was aware of the condition prior to the transaction
- The buyer was unaware of the condition
It only makes sense not to require an owner to provide information that she does not possess and also to hold a buyer accountable for purchasing real estate that he knows is deficient.
Selling real estate is likely one of the largest personal sales you will ever be involved in, and you want it to go as smoothly as possible. If you are selling real property, or are alleged to have failed to disclose required information during the sale of your property, it is important that you contact an experienced attorney who can help you with all of your legal problems concerning your real estate transaction.