February 07, 2019 | Texas REALTORS® Staff
- A seller isn't required to disclose if a suicide occurred in a home or that a sex offender lives nearby. However, a seller might want to voluntarily disclose such information since a buyer may learn the information from another source.
- A seller who has never seen or lived in a property he is selling is still required to disclose what he knows about the property. That knowledge can come from sources other than a visual examination.
- The questions on the Seller’s Disclosure Notice (TXR 1406) ask if there are lawsuits or other legal proceedings that may directly or indirectly affect the property, which can include divorce, tax, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and heirship proceedings.
- A buyer isn’t required by law to sign a seller’s disclosure notice.
- Relocation companies with title to a property are still required to fill out the seller’s disclosure notice. They can attach the notice to any inspection reports concerning the property.
I was under the impression that you had to disclose a suicide or murder that occurred on the property-
Seller has to disclose a murder but not a suicide. But I agree it’s wise to disclose a suicide even if the law does not require it.
Only the murder
Murder, yes. Suicide, no.
It’s always been my understanding that a death on the property only has to be disclosed in the event the death was caused by default of the home. Ie. faulty electrical or stair rail
A “fault” of the home, ie: faulty electrical wiring or a failed stair rail is not the criteria used for required disclosure of a death in the home.
Regarding required disclosures of death on a property, Texas Property Code Section § 5.008 does not specify what death must be disclosed. Rather, it specifies what is NOT required to be disclosed: “A seller or seller’s agent shall have no duty to make a disclosure or release information related to whether a death by natural causes, suicide, or accident unrelated to the condition of the property occurred on the property or whether a previous occupant had, may have had, has, or may have AIDS, HIV related illnesses, or HIV infection.” What must be disclosed regarding deaths on the property falls… Read more »
That’s what I have always heard as well.
I respectfully disagree, our seller disclosures state to disclose any death on the property except for those NOT related to the condition of a home ( besides the natural causes clause) so that means if someone fell to their death due to a faulty stair railing, or was electrocuted due to faulty wiring, that must be disclosed as a death on the property, due to the property condition per the Texas Property Code.
not true and in 40 years I have never hear that in Texas
I have been licensed in Texas since 1991 and have always been taught that about death on the property. it became very prominent when AIDS/HIV deaths were in the news. Many people were concerned about “catching” AIDS as we didn’t have as much knowledge as we do now. Many people did not want to buy a home where an AIDS victim had lived or died in. But that was also a protected class, so that is where the, “what you can’t disclose” came into law. It has been in our Sellers disclosure for many, many years.
I thought so a well
I was not aware that the buyer was not required to sign the SD. Interesting.
However, some office guidelines require a signed disclosure for funding of commission. I tell my buyers that they are simply acknowledging receipt of the disclosure.
Carol, that is what I say also, although they still don’t have to sign and then I just note the file and compliance accept it.
I would have to argue that point also
You leaving yourself wide open if not.
I’m presuming it’s because they state on the contract itself that they have or have not received the sellers disclosure. Signing would be redundant. But tell that to a listing agent, who’ll still want a signed copy.
Thanks for these insightful tips! Especially the 2nd point about Investor Sellers claiming “no knowledge”. We still see these on the MLS frequently. Also the last point on Re-Lo Companies that want the “foreclosure exemption” so they can wash their hands of all liability. Buyer Agents!!! Be careful of these Re-Lo transactions… be sure your Buyers understand all of the Re-Lo addendum and advise your Buyers to consult an Attorney concerning Re-Lo docs. And DO NOT follow Re-Lo Seller instructions to delete or otherwise modify contract forms.
I also was not aware that a buyer does not have to sign. To me, that defeats the purpose of requiring the seller to fill it out & sign. If an issue arises after closing, where’s the proof of what was disclosed to buyer.
Send it to the buyer’s agent in an email with a read receipt (i.e. Streak for Gmail) . If they received it and chose not to share it with their buyer clients, the onus is on them.
I agree with Heather. Email is a wonderful thing because you have documentation of what was sent and when, which complies with time restraints on delivery in the contract.
It’s in the contract. Buyer has received…
I am unaware that divorce has to be revealed on a sellers disclosure. You sure?
The questions on the Seller’s Disclosure Notice (TXR 1406) ask if there are lawsuits or other legal proceedings that may directly or indirectly affect the property. IT CAN include divorce. Divorced impact real estate sales and who can sign. Always get a copy of the divorce decree to the title company for examination when you take a listing. Depending on what has been set out in the Divorce Decree, the other party may have a vested interest in the sale and he entitled to some of the proceeds upon sale of the property. There have been several instances in my… Read more »
It could affect the sale of the property depending on the finalization of the community property agreement.
I always have my buyer sign the seller’s disclosure. If there is a couple I let both sign. Years ago one of my buyer’s wrote a complain to my broker that I did not show him the seller’s disclosure and threaten to sue me and my broker. I easily could proof that not only did they receive the disclosure, they acknowledged receiving it by their signature.
We see so many Harvey flood flips where the investor>owner is not disclosing the flooded structure. How can we enforce this requirement to disclose knowledge?
I tell my sellers, that I have that actual knowledge or “since you just told me, as your agent, I now am required to disclose this information.” That is what our attorneys tell us! We are an extension of the seller, any knowledge we have about the property, we must disclose or walk the listing!
Stuart Scholer-I don’t know what relocation companies you are working with; but all of the major relocation companies we work ( which are many) will provide a copy of a seller’s disclosure of property condition from the transferee. They themselves cannot because they have never seen the property. Most of them also use a contract rider or addendum that give the buyer a right to request repairs; and some even use the TAR Relocation Addendum form 1941. If the buyer’s don’t complete all of the riders and addenda , there is a pretty good chance they won’t be buying that… Read more »
Hey Brian… I stand corrected (memory jostled) about the SD. You are correct. They generally do provide an up-to-date SD from the owner. As for the riders and addenda that the Re- Lo’s add to the contract… I still say make sure the Buyer understands them and (CYA) encourage consulting an attorney if they need further clarification or interpretation. I have been instructed to delete contract verbiage and I ignored the instructions. That one did close. I have never had a problem with a Re-Lo transaction but I have never been comfortable with any of them either.
me, as a realtor, I am very concerned to fill out the sellers disclosure if I ever want to sell my own house, one buyer asked me if he refuses to inspect the property can he sue seller based on information disclosed or undisclosed on the sellers disclosure, I was told by an attorney, the sellers disclosure is not forseable to complete, so my question is, is this TREC requirement or the the board requirement , and is it required by law
Sue I have sold several of my own properties. And always extremely through on disclosure! I find a good habit is to keep a sellers disclosure in your home file ( this is also a great tip for your clients) and as things happen or get replaced, note it in the file or put the receipt like for HVAC, Roof etc in that file. This makes it very handy and shows that you are doing your best to be open to disclosing everything you know!
Is a Seller completed SD a requirement for the sale of lot/land? I’ve always understood SD to be strictly (just read the top of the form) to dwellings and not land…but recently I was told differently.
On the topic of a sex offender living near-by can you go into more detail on why the seller should disclose that information?
This is great information, especially about divorce. Although I can see that some sellers would see that as a privacy concern.
Does seller have to disclose a proposed highrise that will break ground across the street?
Yes, if they know there is a proposed highrise going in across the street, they should disclose it. And if you now know that information, you should be disclosing it too if they don’t!
How about on a new home? The New Home Trec contract does not have a Seller’s Disclosure section.
New homes are exempt from the Sellers Disclosure
I make sure my sellers are aware this is for their protection. It could possibly be their first line of defense if a buyer tries to sue them later for latent defect or say they didn’t know about something to do with the property. I encourage them to take time to fill it out to the best of their knowledge for the best protection for themselves.
So, does the seller need to disclose if they are going through a divorce if this is on the SD?
The article said “can” include divorce. We also have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the best interests of our client and their best interests may not be to advertise there is a divorce in progress.
When in doubt disclose, disclose, disclose! It could protect both you and your client!
It is my understanding that buyers are required to sign.
Great stuff! Thanks
I’ve been told that the most law suits in a real estate transaction are over the Seller’s Disclosure. That’s why we need to get it right for our buyers AND sellers. Besides, don’t forget the neighbors know plenty about the house and family who lived there, and they will share with the new buyers.
I really do not like the TREC sellers disclosure! It is not detailed enough! Our Ebby disclosure is great as it has dates for the repairs and really drills into important issues like water penetration ( flooding ) versus surface water ( a washer or commode overflow) ! Wish TREC would adopt one like it so we all would have the same form!
Is a commode overflow that causes water damage considered water penetration? It was not disclosed and we are in a suit for mold.
In my opinion the sellers disclosure put the seller under legal obligations, the buyer should do his own inspection, the seller is not a qualified to to disclose condition of the house, even to the best of his own knowledge , this form should be done with
Anyone ever list a property and learn about sellers’ divorce after receiving the title commitment? Embarrassing, is one word for it. According to the Texas Property Code, “Sec. 5.008. SELLER’S DISCLOSURE OF PROPERTY CONDITION. (a) A seller of residential real property comprising not more than one dwelling unit … shall give to the purchaser of the property a written notice .… which contains, at a minimum, all of the items in the notice prescribed by this section. (b) The notice must be executed and must, at a minimum, read substantially similar to the following: SELLER’S DISCLOSURE NOTICE ” Then it… Read more »
If a listing has a Seller’s Disclosure Exemption Form with it, does this mean that even though one of the surviving heirs now lives at the property there is no requirement to fill out a Seller’s Disclosure Notice?
Is a seller required to disclose to prospect buyers the existence of a previous Inspection Report made by a buyer who inspected the house but terminated the contract during the Option Period?