Selling a home in Tennessee? Honesty Wins Every-time

honesty-always.jpgFrom marketing your home to dealing with various contingencies during closing, the process of home selling involves innumerable steps. There are already so many things on your hand that it’s quite easy not to take seriously a few of your legal liabilities. But, turning a blind eye to these obligations can really prove a big trouble in case something goes wrong.
One of the most important legal obligations for sellers is to disclose mandatory information about the property to the buyer. If you are selling a home in Tennessee, you need to make these disclosures under the Tennessee Residential Property Disclosure Act. It’s illegal for a home seller to knowingly conceal major defects from buyers, and like many other states in America, Tennessee also has mandatory property disclosure laws covering major home components, systems and conditions.
Under the Tennessee Residential Property Disclosure Act, you need to fill up the standard disclosure form. You should always consult with your real estate agent or a law professional to make sure that you understand your liabilities while filing up this form.
Mandatory Disclosures under the Tennessee Residential Property Disclosure Act
First of all, you need to disclose which items are included in the sale. There will be a list of items in the disclosure form including oven, microwave, dishwasher, window screens, rain gutters, smoke detectors, burglar alarms etc. You will need the items which are included in the sale checked. If an item is not there in the list, you will have to specify it separately. You would also need to disclose if any of these items are not operational. Other disclosures in this section include specifying how old the property’s roof is.
Second and probably the most important part of the form is to disclose if you are aware of any defects and malfunctions in any of the parts of the property. They may include interior walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, insulation, plumbing, sewer or septic, central heating, electronic system etc. If you are aware of a defect in any of them, you will need to explain it in detail.
As per the law, you need to not only disclose defects with the property, but also explain if you are aware of any hazards or defects in the neighborhood which may impact the property’s desirability or value. For example, you need to disclose if you are aware of any environmental hazards or features shared in common with adjoining landowners, such as, but not limited to, walls, fences, and driveways, whose use or responsibility for maintenance may have an effect on the subject property, any authorized changes in roads, drainage, or utilities affecting the property, or contiguous to the property, flooding, drainage, or grading problems, any zoning violations, neighborhood noise problems or other nuisances etc.
Some disclosures are necessary under the federal laws. A federal law requires the seller to make a disclosure about lead-based paint if the house was built before 1978.
Consequences if you don’t abide by this legal obligation
If you conceal a defect knowingly, you can be sued by the buyer even after closing. If a court decides in favor of the buyer, you may be held liable for repairs and other damages and in extreme cases, the sale may be rescinded.