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How contingencies and disclosures work when buying a home

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2021 | Real Estate Law

When you buy a home in Pennsylvania, you want to make sure to do your research so that you do not end up owning the residential equivalent of an automotive lemon. You also may need to wait for certain circumstances to come to fruition before you are able to move forward with the purchase.

According to NerdWallet, “contingencies” are walk-away clauses that appear in a home-buying contract and give you an out if certain things never come to be. “Disclosures” are the things about a property the seller has a legal obligation to tell you about.

Common real estate contingencies

You may not have enough money available to buy the home you have your eye on until your existing home sells. In this case, you may wish to make an offer that is contingent upon you selling your own home first. Similarly, if you need to secure financing or have a home inspection performed before moving forward with the sale, you may need to rely on a mortgage contingency or a home inspection contingency.

Common real estate disclosures

Real estate disclosure laws vary from one state to the next. However, in Pennsylvania, the seller has a legal obligation to tell you about any “known material defects” that are not visible to the naked eye. This might include structural, rot or sewer problems. It may also include issues with dangerous substances, such as asbestos or lead paint, among others.

Sellers who fail to disclose information about defects in the homes they sell may have to cover repair costs and associated damages.