Real estate transactions are often the biggest purchases that people living in Minnesota ever complete. You may spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and you obviously want to make a smart choice about what property you purchase and how much you pay for it.
Factors ranging from the current real estate market and the condition of the property to the seller’s sense of urgency can all influence how much you pay for a property. Typically, how much you offer is a direct reflection of your perception of the property. You will obviously agree to pay more for a property that you believe is in good condition.
What will a seller need to tell you about the property, and what will you have to figure out for yourself during a real estate transaction?
Sellers should disclose all known property defects
Contrary to what some people say, the disclosure laws in Minnesota are quite thorough. The seller does not have the option of just listing the property and as is condition and expecting the buyer to figure things out for themselves. They typically have to fill out specialized disclosure forms talking about individual systems in the property.
They should include descriptions in writing of any known issues with the furnace, the foundation or the plumbing. Noticeable or latent defects that will cost money to repair or affect someone’s use of the property are issues that the seller has an obligation to disclose to the buyer.
What if the seller lies or hides property issues?
Unfortunately, sometimes sellers are so eager to get the highest price for their property that they can that they think nothing of misrepresenting their home when listing it for sale. These issues can turn up in an inspection or after you take possession.
If you discover that the seller did a cheap cover-up over a big issue or reach out to a service professional who tells you they already quoted the same project a year ago, you may have grounds to bring a claim against the seller or their real estate agent for not disclosing those defects to you.
A claim against a real estate professional’s insurance could compensate you for the cost to repair the property, or you could demand that the seller compensate you for the reduced property value based on the undisclosed defect. The more proof you have that the seller knew about the issue and hid it from you, the easier it may be for you to secure justice in the Minnesota civil courts.
Learning more about real estate disclosure rules can help buyers preparing for a residential real estate transaction.