Understanding the Texas Seller's Disclosure
IT’S REQUIRED BY TEXAS LAW
Sellers of a single-unit residential property are required to provide a seller’s disclosure notice to a buyer. The notice details what the sellers know about the property at the time they complete and sign the notice. You’ll see more than one version of the notice. The Texas Real Estate Commission has one, which meets the law’s minimum requirements, and Texas REALTORS® has one, which provides more information for buyers and serves as a risk-reduction tool for sellers.
WHAT’S IN THE NOTICE?
The five-page Texas REALTORS® Seller’s Disclosure Notice covers a wide range of topics. It asks sellers to list the appliances and systems in the property, current defects, past insurance claims, past inspection reports, and other conditions of the property.
HOW IT HELPS SELLERS
The notice provides sellers a place to document and share their knowledge of a property and can reduce sellers’ risk of being sued. If a buyer claims after closing that he didn’t know about previous termite damage, the sellers can point to Section 3 of the notice where they indicated the termite damage—assuming the sellers filled out the notice correctly.
HOW IT HELPS BUYERS
It’s impossible to foresee a house’s every potential problem. A disclosure notice that details known conditions and defects can help provide a more complete picture of a property. Buyers may, for example, learn that a house has well water, plumbing problems, and aluminum wiring. That information can be used for inspections to further understand the extent of any issues.
When the Seller Is NOT Required to Disclose
If someone transfers the property to someone else or if it is a particular type of sale, the seller by law does not have to complete property disclosure questions. This means that you do not receive a seller disclosure statement at all.
There is no obligation for the seller to disclose if the house is transferred or sold:
- By court order or foreclosure sale
- To or from any governmental entity
- As a new residence of not more than one dwelling unit which has not previously been occupied for residential purposes
- As a real property where the value of any dwelling does not exceed five percent of the property’s value.
- By a trustee in bankruptcy
- To a mortgagee by a mortgagor or successor in interest
- To a beneficiary of a deed of trust by a trustor or successor in interest
- By a mortgagee or a beneficiary under a deed of trust who has acquired the real property at a sale conducted pursuant to a power of sale under a deed of trust or a sale in accordance with a court-ordered foreclosure or has acquired the real property by a deed in lieu of foreclosure
- By a fiduciary in the course of the administration of a decedent’s estate, guardianship, conservatorship, or trust
- From one co-owner to one or more other co-owners
- Made to a spouse or to a person or persons in the lineal line of consanguinity of one or more of the transferors
- Between spouses resulting from a decree of dissolution of marriage or order of legal separation or from a property settlement agreement incidental to such a decree
What If the Seller Finds More Problems Before You Buy?
Sellers must disclose any known material information about the property’s condition—even if they don’t know about those conditions until after the completion of the seller’s disclosure notice. “If the information in the disclosure is no longer true, the seller may have a common-law duty to correct any misstatements or false impressions.” For instance when an inspection is performed and items are identified, then the contract falls through....you would need to amend the seller's disclosure to include any new items that you know about.
If you have questions while you are filling out your disclosure, feel free to reach out to your Realtor for assistance. If you do not know the answer to a questions, please check unknown.
CLICK HERE for more information regarding the Texas Seller's Disclosure.