When selling your home in Georgia, you are responsible for revealing any material defects in the home to potential buyers unless those defects are very obvious — such as a large hole in the roof or a broken front window. In Atlanta and the rest of Georgia, you aren’t legally required to fill out a seller disclosures form when you put your home on the market, according to Nolo. The state is technically a “caveat emptor” state, which means the buyer should beware. However, that doesn’t mean a seller has the right to conceal any known problems or defects in the house from the buyer.
Alterations, additions and appliances
Seller disclosures in Georgia should include information about changes made to the home and about the appliances in the house. Typically, it’s a good idea to let the buyer know about the age of the appliances, such as the heating and cooling system, and to let the buyer know about any work that was performed on the home. If you had the kitchen renovated before selling but didn’t get the permits required by the city or state for the work, you need to reveal that to the buyer. You should also let the buyer know if any of the appliance systems are broken. For example, if you’re selling in the winter and the air conditioning gave out at the end of last summer, you need to tell potential buyers.
Homes built before 1978 might have lead-based paint on the walls. Federal law requires you to let potential buyers know about the paint and to inform them about the dangers of lead-based paint, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You must also give buyers a window of time in which to perform their own inspections for lead paint.
If your home has had pest troubles or has been damaged by pests — whether termites, ants or rodents — you must let potential buyers know. You should also disclose if part of the house that can be infested by termites is in contact with the soil. Sellers should also let buyers know if they purchased a termite warranty and if the warranty can be sold or transferred to the buyer.
Health concerns and water problems
As a seller, you should let prospective buyers know about any major health concerns in the home, such as asbestos behind the walls or mold in the bedrooms. You also need to inform buyers if you know about water-related issues, such as a basement that floods when it rains or a leaky window in the attic.
While Georgia law doesn’t require you to fill out a specific disclosure form, many real estate agencies, including Duffy Realty of Atlanta, have a form that you can complete to cover your bases. Giving buyers a written list of any and all issues in the home protects you from a lawsuit if there are any problems later on.
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