Traditionally, people in Arizona who were buying a home had to operate under the principle that the buyer needed to be aware of any problems on the property by doing their own research.
In other words, as long as the seller did not lie, any defects with the home were problems that the buyer would have to deal with.
The law has since developed to protect buyers. Specifically, under Arizona law, sellers of homes in the Phoenix area have to fill out Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement and give it to the buyer.
In the Statement, the buyer must truthfully answer questions about possible defects in the house.
Buyers must disclose various types of defects in their homes
The Statement is designed to have sellers disclose only material defects in a home. It is not supposed to be an opportunity for a buyer to nitpick in order to get a better price.
However, what the law considers a material defect in residential real estate is broad. In addition to disclosures about basic systems like plumbing or electricity, the seller has to disclose the presence of termites and other pests, including rodents, scorpions and beehives.
If a seller does not fill out the Statement correctly, then the buyer may be able to file a claim for monetary damages or other relief.
There are other possible costly issues with real estate that buyers should anticipate
Whether discussed in the Statement or not, buyers do need to investigate a range of issues which could affect the value of a home. Sometimes, they may want to arrange for an inspection or make sure to address the defect in negotiations.
Dealing with a serious property defect after a sale can be tremendously costly and also involve a lot of time and emotional energy. There are options available to buyers to recover compensation if a seller breaks the state’s disclosure laws. Moreover, there are also options from heading off these options up front.