The scary truth about selling a home

Whether you flip properties for a living, inherited your parents' home, or have decided to sell and build the home of your dreams, putting your house on the market can be a daunting task. Even if you are in a seller's market, chances are your potential buyers will arrive with a list of must-haves and maybe even must-not-haves.

Unlike many states, Massachusetts requires you to disclose very little to potential buyers. However, reputable real estate agents say it is always a good and ethical practice to inform those examining your house of anything that could de-value the home or make it difficult to sell in the future, such as lead paint or the fact that the basement floods when it rains.

Disclosing psychological impacts

State laws make a clear delineation between those things that may materially impact a house and those that make only psychological impact. You do not have to disclose those factors that may cause psychological impact, and the person who buys your house cannot bring legal action against you for withholding information about those things. The law explicitly excuses you from revealing the following:

  • The property you are trying to sell was the site of a felony.
  • Someone died a violent death on your property, for example murder or suicide.
  • The house you are trying to sell has a history of paranormal or supernatural phenomenon.

The state of Massachusetts also says that you do not need to disclose if someone living in the house was infected with a disease that medical science has shown is not contagious to someone buying and living in the house, specifically HIV or AIDS.

Although the law protects you, real estate advisors suggest telling a potential buyer the truth if he or she asks a direct question about these psychological elements.

Working with a legal advocate

When you are ready to sell your property, you will be dealing with the complicated real estate laws of Massachusetts. To ensure that you are not held liable for any oversights or omissions, having legal counsel is advisable. An attorney whose focus is real estate challenges can take you through the process of selling your home from beginning to end.

In the event the buyers dispute some aspect of the sale or claim you did not disclose some material condition of the property, you can have confidence that your attorney will defend your interests and work for a fast and satisfying resolution.

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