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Virtual real estate transactions and disclosure statements

On Behalf of | Aug 27, 2021 | Firm News |

Residential real estate buyers and sellers have found new ways to interact through the internet. As noted by, virtual open houses and remote closings changed some of the ways people buy and sell homes.

Online listings and video tours conducted through mobile devices allow buyers to search for potential homes without a need to visit them in person. Negotiating offers may now include discussing sale details through emails or text messaging. Technology has not, however, changed certain legal requirements of a real estate listing, such as the need for disclosure statements.

NC law requires disclosure statements

Under North Carolina’s statutes, sellers listing properties through a real estate broker must fill out truthful disclosure forms. If sellers transact with a buyer privately, however, they may opt out of the disclosure form, as noted by 11 ABC Eyewitness News.

Sellers and brokers required to provide disclosure forms must describe any known issues such as structural defects, termites or plumbing problems. Disclosure forms also require informing a potential buyer of neighborhood nuisances including offensive odors or industrial noises. Buyers purchasing properties from sellers who failed to disclose known material issues may file a legal action alleging a fraudulent transaction.

Private transactions may prolong a closing

Some buyers and sellers may prefer to forego a broker and transact privately. The absence of a disclosure form may require drafting a contract that protects each party against the possibility of undisclosed issues. Discovering a faulty wiring system, for example, may delay the closing process because the terms of a contract need revising.

Sellers conducting virtual private transactions may not need to provide disclosure statements, but buyers may require legal protection against unrevealed defects. Creating an ironclad contract may provide for effective remedies if and when a property issue comes to light.