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What Must You Disclose When Selling a Home in Texas?

Whether you’re selling the home you’ve lived in for years or flipping the fixer-upper you’ve refurbished, you’ll need to make a series of disclosures to the prospective buyer before any deal can be finalized.

Texas law requires home sellers to inform buyers of material defects in the property that may affect its value. Usually, these disclosures are made using a form provided by the Texas Real Estate Commission. Your realtor will present this form to you and help you complete it, and you can always consult with a real estate lawyer if you have questions.

The question most sellers have is, “What exactly do I need to disclose?” Texas law is very specific about this. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things you’ll be required to include on the disclosure notice:

  • Are there any known defects in items such as central air systems, swimming pools or satellite dishes?
  • Is there a history of termite or other infestations?
  • Has the house sustained any previous structural damage?
  • Is there evidence of radon gas in the home?
  • Is there lead paint in the house?
  • Are you aware of any defects in the roof, walls, foundation or electrical system?
  • Does the house have any drainage issues or water damage?

If the disclosure notice says, for example, that the roof is damaged and needs to be replaced, this would be considered a material defect that could justify the buyer walking away from the deal or demanding a price reduction.

The buyer must receive the disclosures and have an opportunity to review them prior to the property purchase agreement taking effect. If the seller provides disclosures after the purchase agreement is signed, the buyer is free to terminate the deal within seven days of receipt.

If a seller fails to disclose a known issue and the buyer later has to deal with it, the buyer has the right to file a lawsuit for fraud or breach of contract. However, the disclosure form only needs to be completed to the best of the seller’s belief and knowledge. As a seller, you do not have to hire independent inspectors or engineers to assess the property’s condition.

At Hayes, Berry, White & Vanzant, LLP our real estate lawyers have experience representing sellers and buyers at all phases of residential real estate deals. We are also experienced litigators who have handled cases involving disclosures and related disputes. If you need a lawyer’s advice, please call 940-230-2386 or contact us online. We would be happy to meet with you at our offices in Denton, Flower Mound, Gainesville or Celina.

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