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Full disclosure when buying a home

Purchasing a new home can be an emotional time. If you have found the house of your dreams, the excitement may tempt you to rush headlong into a purchase to avoid losing it to another buyer. However, while the house may seem perfect at the first or second showing, there may be hidden flaws that you have a right to know about.

Sometimes a new homeowner may not discover the true nature of a house until living in it for a few weeks or even months. On first glance, you may not have noticed the flight school that takes new pilots over your house every Saturday, the pig farm just over the hill or the drug house next door that police just shut down the previous summer. While everything looked sparkling clean and fresh, that new coat of paint may have covered a leak in the ceiling, fire damage or mold.

New York disclosure laws

Every state has its own regulations for the amount of information a seller must provide to a potential buyer. In some states, the law requires the seller to reveal very little, and consumer advocates encourage buyers to take advantage of every option to obtain information about a property independently. Other states have detailed lists of disclosure requirements. For example, in New York, the law may require a seller to inform you of the following:

  • High levels of radon
  • Flooding in the basement
  • Mold
  • A leaky roof
  • Easements or boundary disputes
  • Zoning issues
  • Faulty appliances or HVAC elements

Even after receiving a disclosure statement, it would behoove you to do your own research. For example, you may wish to check out the public records for any permits issued for the property, and never skip the option of having a home inspection.

Getting your money's worth

Because of the complexity of a real estate transaction, you may feel overwhelmed with the regulations, inspections and paperwork. You certainly don't want to make a mistake or leave some important matter undone if it will mean dealing with some defect for years to come. Since every state has different laws regarding disclosure, permits and other aspects of a real estate transaction, it is advantageous to have professional advice from someone who knows and understands the laws in New York.

While some believe it is optional to have an attorney to assist them when buying a home, those who obtain that legal advice are often glad they did. An experienced real estate attorney can make the difference between regretting a defective property purchase and living happily in your forever home.

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