In most states, there are laws about what you must and must not disclose to a buyer when selling your home. In the state of North Carolina, if a property is listed in the MLS anything that is a Material Fact must be disclosed by the listing agent. If you are unsure if this is the case in your state, check with a local Realtor.™
So what exactly is a material fact?
The North Carolina Real Estate Commission defines a material fact as any information that would affect a reasonable person’s decision to buy sell or lease. That can mean information about the property itself, facts relating directly to the property, facts about the principal’s involved in the transaction or any facts that might be of specific importance to a party. For example,
Material Facts that Must Be Disclosed
Facts about the property
These might include physical characteristics of the home such as an un-permitted addition, a structural defect or a defective HVAC system. These would be considered material facts and must be disclosed to potential buyers.
Facts relating to the property
Facts relating to the property must be disclosed to the potential buyer before s/he makes an offer. These are things such as a planned highway, a potential zoning change or a railroad that isn’t visible from the property but can be heard at certain times.
Facts about the parties to the transaction
These types of facts might include a property that is about to go into foreclosure, or a buyer who can’t qualify for a loan.
Facts of specific importance are things
These are things that the buyer has specifically asked about. It might not be a material fact to disclose that the property zoning does not allow for business use, however, if the buyer is specifically interested in opening a business and makes that interest know, the seller must disclose the zoning status. The seller must always be truthful and cannot prevent the buyer from discovering what they want to know about the property.
Things Not Considered Material Facts.
In North Carolina, Haunted Houses are not considered material facts. However, they can fall into category #4: things of specific importance. In other words, if the buyer specifically asks whether the house is haunted or not, a seller should definitely disclose it. But if you’re buying a home and it’s paranormal status concerns you (key spooky music) you should definitely ask! Other things that don’t need to be disclosed in North Carolina: murders, suicides or serious illnesses such as AIDS.
For more information about things to disclose, check out Bill Gassett’s article, What Do You Have to Disclose When Selling a House?
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