Before buying a home, a seller has to disclose any major problems regarding the property before the sale. As a buyer, you will want to know everything possible about your soon-to-be property including the physical condition and any problem that may affect the value of the property.
Years ago, sellers were allowed to remain silent on potential problems unless they were asked specifically by the buyer. This was under the doctrine of caveat emptor (buyer beware). Colorado is one state that requires sellers to tell the prospective buyer about certain conditions.
If the seller does not ‘disclose’ these conditions, or fails to comply with seller disclosure law, the seller may be held liable for the costs and fees associated with the nondisclosure. Each state has different disclosure laws.
Beside Colorado state disclosure laws, the seller has to abide by federal disclosure laws. Additionally, the seller’s broker has certain obligations to the buyers they have to disclose.
Some of Colorado requirements for disclosure include (but not limited to) if the property is in a special taxing district, is part of a common interest community, if the property was used as a methamphetamine lab - unless it was fully remediated, the home’s source of potable water, proposed transportation projects they may affect the property, surface and mineral estate rights and oil and gas activity.
Federal disclosure laws include areas such as lead-based paint. In Colorado, the contract to buy or sell requires the Lead-Based Paint disclosure form to be completed and fully executed prior to the sale. There are laws regarding asbestos however, the state of Colorado has laws in place regarding the inspection and abatement of asbestos.
Some of the major areas that, if known, should be disclosed are any structural problems such as a crack in the foundation, the basement or any area that is prone to flooding, faulty sewer lines, plumbing or electrical issues, building defects, shifting soil, defective building materials, design errors, failing infrastructure, insurance disputes and mold.
The Colorado Real Estate Commission has created a disclosure form that is not mandated by statute, however, by filling out and completing, the seller can ensure they’ve disclosed relevant information that is required by statute. This form, and an inspection by the seller may help in disclosing any issues that the seller can fix before listing the property. Many sales have fallen through when the buyer’s inspector and/or appraiser find issues right before the closing sale date.
If a buyer finds issues with their property after the sale that weren’t disclosed, it’s always smart to contact a qualified and experienced real estate attorney. It is always best practice to contact a Colorado real estate attorney immediately, as some claims could be time-barred. Gantenbein Law Firm's Denver attorneys are experienced in all area of real estate law, including Colorado disclosure and non-disclosure laws. To schedule a free consult of your case, call 303-618-2122.
Gantenbein Law Firm also practices law in the areas of HOA Defense (defending homeowners in homeowner disputes with their HOA), Business Law, Foreclosure Defense, Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning and Probate Law, Tax Law and Credit Dispute. Gantenbein Law Firm is located in Denver, Colorado and serves clients throughout all of Colorado. For more information regarding the law firm, location, practice areas and attorneys and lawyers, visit www.gantenbeinlaw.com.