Unlike other states, Virginia’s main disclosure statute requires sellers to disclose very little about their houses. Virginia law requires sellers to disclose the following information:
- Whether the property is in an area where military air installation is located
- If the house has a defective drywall
- If the property has previously been used as a meth lab and hasn’t been cleaned according to the state guidelines
- Whether the property has a septic system that needs to be repaired, but the owner has obtained a waiver from the Virginia board of health. The seller should let the buyer know whether the waiver will apply to the buyer
- Sellers may choose to disclose whether the property is in a designated tourism activity zone.
- In Virginia, newly constructed homes are usually exempted from statute disclosure rules.
- In addition to the state disclosures, sellers must also meet the federal disclosure requirements. Sellers with houses constructed before 1978 are required with federal Title X disclosures. These are disclosures regarding lead-based paint and hazards.
- As the seller you should give EPA-approved information pamphlet to buyers. These pamphlets should give information relating to lead in your home. It’s also required that you give buyers the option of conducting lead-based paint assessment.
A seller disclosure is of great importance to you as a buyer as it gives you more details about the home that you are looking to buy.
If you are looking to buy a house in Virginia, you need to do the donkey work by yourself. You should inspect the house or hire a professional to help you out. When doing your own inspection you need to focus on the following areas:
Grounds: inspect septic tank, drainage systems, driveway, sidewalk and fence.
Electrical system: it’s impossible to do this by yourself thus you have to hire a professional to do it for you. The professional should ensure that the electrical system is up to code and the system is working perfectly.
Structural elements: you should go through the house and ensure that the construction is well done and there is no evidence of bowing or sagging.
Exterior surfaces: ensure that there is correct clearance between siding material and ground.
Roof: you should inspect the condition of the shingles, chimney, vents and gutters. As rule of thumb ensure that everything is perfect.
Interior plumbing: hire a professional plumber to help you identify any damaged or leaking pipes. Ensure that the toilets, sinks, showers and bathtubs are fully functioning.
Prohibitions put in place
While the seller’s disclosure obligations are minimal, Virginia law has standards that the seller must follow. The law requires that the seller shouldn’t do or say anything that distracts the buyer from finding a problem. The seller also shouldn’t cover up a known defect.
Virginia law requires that sellers disclose very little about a house. If you are interested in knowing more about the house, you should undertake private assessment. To buy the right house, work with a certified and experienced professional.
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