13 Things You Must Disclose When Selling Your House

NEWS & TRENDING - MORTGAGE & LOANS NEWS
There can be major repercussions for keeping your mouth shut.
Updated May 8, 2024
Fact checked
family buying new house

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Selling a home? Fresh paint and curb appeal are a must, but there's a secret weapon even more important: transparency.

Disclosure laws prevent sugarcoating your property and ensure buyers know everything about what they're getting to help them avoid wasting money.

These laws vary by state, but here are 13 key things you, as a buyer or seller, should be aware of.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive discounts and financial resources

Over 50? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member you could be missing out on huge perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on things like travel, meal deliveries, eyeglasses, prescriptions that aren’t covered by insurance and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (Do not skip this step!) Doing so will allow you to take up 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Water damage

Monkey Business/Adobe repairing burst water pipe

Water can do major damage to a home, whether from a flood, a leak, or a plumbing issue. If your home has suffered water damage in the past, you may need to disclose this to potential buyers even if the issue was addressed and remediated.

A death in the home

fergregory/Adobe police crime scene

Some people are uncomfortable purchasing a home where someone has died, and certain states support them. In some states, you are required to disclose that information even if it occurred before your time in the home.

In other states, you’re required to disclose deaths in the home only if they were violent or criminal. And in some states, you have to let the potential buyer know if you suspect the house is haunted.

Neighborhood noises and nuisances

bettina sampl/Adobe 2 dogs howling

Nearly everyone has encountered a nuisance neighbor at some point. But if this bad neighbor goes beyond the occasional loud barbecue and treads into bothersome or criminal territory, you may need to disclose that. Especially if formal complaints have been made.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.

National Debt Relief could help you resolve your credit card debt with an affordable plan that works for you. Just tell them your situation, then find out your debt relief options.1

How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.

Try it

Lead paint and plumbing

Eakrin/Adobe repairing water pipe using wrench

While lead paint is often assumed to be present in older homes, some states will require you to disclose knowledge about both lead paint and lead plumbing. You won’t be required to remediate it, but that knowledge transfer is necessary.

Asbestos

Arjan/Adobe professional asbestos removal

Typically, when asbestos is found in a home, the homeowners immediately perform remediation for their own safety. But even after remediation has been done, that information still has to be shared with the buyer.

Toxic leaks

Vivid Concepts/Adobe cleaning chemical spill

It’s more common to hear about a toxic leak in regard to a train or other mass transit carrying chemicals, but toxic leaks can also happen in your home.

If a hazardous substance has ever leaked on your property, you may be required to disclose that to the buyer.

Flood plain hazards

Victor zastol'skiy/Adobe kids and flooding

Floodplain mapping is public domain, but you still may be asked to disclose the floodplain information and any historical knowledge of floods in the area.

HOA facts and figures

Andrey Popov/Adobe house model near HOA rules and regulations

While homeowners association (HOA) rules and regulations are disclosed during the buying process, even more important information needs to be shared. 

Potential buyers should be informed of the association’s reserves and financials so they're aware of the HOA’s financial health or the potential for future assessments.

Repair history

SnapVault/Adobe blueprints of a residence

If you’ve done major renovations, like completely gutting a kitchen or adding a bathroom, then those updates should be disclosed to the buyer. This also is relevant when you’re disclosing information about permit or zoning changes.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!2

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Easements

exebiche/Adobe rusty iron gate closed

If a neighbor has an easement through your yard that gives them access to their driveway or something on your property, then that needs to be disclosed.

Learning that your neighbors have to cross your front yard to get to a public road shouldn’t be a surprise after buying.

Pest infestation

hedgehog94/Adobe spraying pesticide with sprayer

In some states, you only have to disclose a pet infestation if it’s currently active. But in others you have to disclose an infestation regardless of when it occurred. An infestation could include anything from mice to termites to bats and everything in between.

Structural damage

TANUT/Adobe cracked concrete building wall

Most buyers notice cosmetic changes they would like to make in a house when they’re house-hunting. But they don’t expect to find out there’s a cracked foundation or knob-and-tube electrical after their purchase. 

These structural concerns should be disclosed during the buying process. Buyers should also have a full home inspection done before they finalize the sale to uncover any major issues.

Environmental concerns

torwaiphoto/Adobe woman wearing mask dust prevention

If there are major environmental concerns from transit pollution or a toxic waste site, or there’s an issue with the water in the area, they need to be disclosed before a buyer signs on closing day.

Bottom line

WavebreakMediaMicro/Adobe happy couple holding sold sign

Disclosures are different from state to state, so it’s critical that sellers check state disclosure laws before deciding what they do and don't have to share.

Some states are more stringent than others. You want to be sure you’re sharing the required information without sharing more than you need to.

And if you’re a buyer who has been saving for a down payment in a high-yield savings account, you won’t be happy to learn that your dream house has a nasty surprise.

Choice Home Warranty Benefits

  • First month free
  • Protection for unexpected expense
  • 24/7 claims hotline
  • Network of over 15,000 technicians

Author Details

Heather Bien Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.

Want to learn how to make an extra $200?

Get proven ways to earn extra cash from your phone, computer, & more with Extra.

You will receive emails from FinanceBuzz.com. Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

  • Vetted side hustles
  • Exclusive offers to save money daily
  • Expert tips to help manage and escape debt