As an Atlanta, Georgia lawyer, I have noticed that failure to disclose defects in Georgia real estate (mainly in residential homes), are on the rise. In fact, some cases of ‘failure to disclose‘ serious defects in real estate rise to the level of real estate fraud in Georgia, and even involve action on the sellers behalf to hide, cover up, and disguise defects so the buyer or inspector will not notice them.
As an Atlanta Property Attorney who advises clients on the purchase and sale of real estate, I make sure and advise the sellers of real estate it is illegal to fail to disclose to potential buyers, major and/or material construction defects, in the ‘home for sale’. While sellers may view these disclosures as a burden, these laws exist to protect sellers and homebuyers.
By being upfront about your home’s defects in Georgia, a home seller can avoid serious lawsuits and legal liabilities in Georgia for failure to disclose defects. Your seller’s disclosure form shows both parties exactly what the defects are, so you can be exempt from future problems.
Before you put your house on the market, consider getting an inspection, so you are aware of any potential problems that need repair. This will allow you to decide if you wish to repair the defect now, or offer a discount to buyers who wish to repair the Georgia construction or home defect themselves. In fact, you may even consider having the house inspected by a high-level inspector such as a person with an engineering degree. This is because not all defects are evident, foreseeable, and/or predictable. Remember, the term “CAVEAT EMPTOR” means buyer beware under Georgia real estate law! This means that there is a high-level of responsibility put of the buyer to inspect the property thoroughly and in a manner such as a reasonably prudent person would do under like circumstances.
What is in a Georgia Real Estate Disclosure Statement?
Your Atlanta real estate agent should be able to give you a standard disclosure form, so you can see what you need to disclose. This Georgia Seller’s Disclosure Statement is treated as part of the Purchase and Sale Agreement and incorporated by reference. So, this “Disclosure Statement” is part of the Georgia Business Contract for the Sale of Georgia Real Estate. Thus, it is wise to disclose any defects that may affect a buyer’s decision to buy your house.
• Plumbing defects
• Sewage issues
• Water leakage
• Fire damage
• Bug infestations
• Roof defects
• A/C or heating system defects
• Drainage problems
• Foundation cracks
• Issues with neighbors
• Lead paint or hazardous materials
• And more
Choosing Not to Disclose
If you are selling your home and do not disclose a known defect, you may face serious legal consequences. Buyers can demand money for repairs and damages due to the defect long after your house is sold. If an agreement is not reached or if someone was injured due to the neglected defect, you may also face a serious lawsuit. This can result in you owing the buyer large sums of money for repairs, legal fees, compensatory damage, exemplary damages, and even punitive damages if it is determined you have committed fraud, and/or more. In addition, you could be forced to take or buy the house back the house under the theory of rescission.
If you feel you have become the victim of a real estate scam in Georgia by being sold real estate with hidden defects or defects, which were not properly disclosed, or you are being threatened by homebuyers who did not adhere to the Georgia law principle of Caveat Emptor, our Firm can assist you.
The Libby Law Firm Atlanta Real Estate Attorneys have significant experience representing both sellers and purchasers in real estate transactions. It is my strong advice that you find an experienced real estate lawyer to assist you with any Georgia “failure to disclose” issues. This is true whether you are the buyer or the seller.
These cases are also known under Georgia law as “hidden defect” cases and usually arise in the context of the sale of residential real estate. The Libby Law Firm Atlanta property and real estate lawyers represents clients in “failure to disclose” claims and lawsuits throughout the metro Atlanta area and Georgia. Our Firm can protect you from over-zealous home purchasers and keep you from being swindled by tricky sellers. Contact our Main Office by calling our Main Number (404) 467-8611 or through our Buckhead confidential Contact Us Form. Our Main Office is easily found, has safe secure free parking, and Our Firm is conveniently located near the intersection of Piedmont and Peachtree Roads near the Buckhead Triangle.