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Bizarre Things That Must Be in a House Disclosure and Those That Don’t

A home disclosure is a multi-page document meant to alert potential buyers to the defects of the home. But, what has to be on there and what doesn't? The answers can be quite surprising!

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armJeff Thrower/Shutterstock

Deaths Don’t Have to Be Disclosed

Although, in some states, suicides and murders have to be disclosed by real estate agents or homeowners, most deaths don’t. If you feel that you must know if someone died in the house, here are some tips to find that info.

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tornadoEmiliaUngur/Shutterstock

Weather Hazards Often Need to be in a Disclosure

Check your state: If your home has the potential to be affected by flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc., you might have to let buyers know this.

Check out our collection of severe weather survival tips every homeowner should know.

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sign Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Some Property Transfers Can Stay a Secret

When property passes between spouses or children in a trust, you don’t have to disclose this. Double-check with your real estate agent when in doubt, but since the house remains in the family, in many states, it doesn’t need to go in the disclosure.

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wallNikolay Kuleshin/Shutterstock

Lead Paint is Nonnegotiable, But You May Not Know it’s There

Lead-based paint wasn’t banned until 1978, so if someone has lived in the home since prior to that time, they might not have considered that the house has lead paint, but it does have to be disclosed. If you are unsure if your property has lead paint, here’s how to test it.

Here are 14 ways to minimize lead paint exposure in older homes.

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Chimney-window broken brick

It’s Illegal to Hide Defects From Potential Buyers

If you have a major home defect and you don’t disclose it, you’ could get into some serious trouble. If you’re worried that you could have a problem, you should hire a home inspector to do a thorough examination.

“It’s always better to play it on the safe side and have a home inspection prior to listing your property to prevent holding up your closing,” says Debra Wurtzel, a real estate agent at Remax Lakes.

Check out these home inspector horror stories.

Photo: Courtesy of Structure Tech

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sewageKaliAntye/Shutterstock

Septic Issues Aren’t Always Included in a Disclosure

Since it’s not “technically” an issue with the home, some states don’t require septic system problems to be included in a disclosure. Before you face some severe toilet troubles, be sure to talk with your real estate agent and the seller if you’re considering buying a home with a septic system. Confused about how a septic system works? Learn more here!

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tentFotoluminate LLC/Shutterstock

If You’ve Treated for Termites, You Have to Tell

Since you’ve fixed the problem, you may think you can hide this information, but you can’t. Buyers have the right to know about termite infestations and the details about the treatment. Worried about controlling termites? Read these tips.

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spongeMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Not Every Repair Needs to Be Disclosed, But…

Only significant damages and repairs need to be shared. If you’ve replaced a faucet handle, you can leave that off the list, but if you’ve had a pipe burst, that needs to be indicated.

Confused about what is considered a significant defect? This explanation will help clear things up.

And FYI, here are 12 things your plumber wants you to know.

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microwaveRoderick Patterson/Shutterstock

Broken Appliances HAVE to be Discussed

Although the built-in microwave that’s on the fritz may not seem like a major issue to you, to a potential buyer, it most certainly is. If any of the appliances in your home have an issue, you need to ensure that you include that information in the disclosure. Here’s a great way to clean a microwave and 10 other helpful kitchen cleaning tips.

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ghostPHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Shutterstock

Have Ghosts? You Need to Tell Potential Buyers!

Although this may seem silly, if you’ve publicly stated that your house is haunted, you need to disclose that to potential buyers. Just think you’ve seen ghosts, but aren’t so sure? Don’t share unless you are! If you like haunted house stories, check out the 11 haunted house mysteries no one can explain.

Julia K. Porter
Dr. Julia Porter has worked in Higher Education since 2008, following a career as a High School teacher in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a PhD in Global Leadership from Indiana Tech, an MA in English Literature from Brooklyn College, and a BS in English Education from Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI). She lives in Indiana with her husband, daughter, and rambunctious Australian Shepherd.