When you obtain your real estate license in South Carolina, there are certain responsibilities and potential liabilities attached when listing houses on the market for sale. For instance, you must be fully aware of and adhere to all state laws regarding disclosures. Your clients who are selling homes must also understand these laws, especially if they hope to avoid liability lawsuits from injured buyers.
In South Carolina, state real estate laws require a person who is selling a residential dwelling to disclose certain defects, damages or other issues relevant to the property. Issues that a seller must disclose are those that the average buyer would not be able to discover through a typical investigation or inspection of the home. If the seller is unaware of a particular issue, then he or she is not expected to disclose it.
Omissions that result in damages create seller liability in some cases
If a seller who is required to provide a completed disclosure form neglects to do so or refuses to do so, then he or she may be liable for any damages a buyer suffers due to the omission. There are exceptions, such as a lender who is selling a property acquired through foreclosure. In such a case, the lender is not responsible for disclosures.
As a listing agent, you will want to make sure that your clients have fully adhered to all disclosure laws; otherwise, you may wind up being named along with the seller in a buyer's legal claim. It is understandable that you want to have an amicable working relationship with your clients. However, if you have reason to believe that a seller is being dishonest or has not filled out a disclosure form accurately, it is always best to discuss the issue rather than encounter legal problems later on.
Disclosure forms must include this information
If your client is filling out a disclosure the form, he or she must make the buyer aware of major defects or hazardous conditions in the home. The following list includes three primary issues that sellers must disclose in South Carolina:
- The presence of asbestos, lead paint, radon gas and other hazardous material
- Structural defects or damages in roof, floors, basement, chimneys or foundations
- Existing infestation of wood-boring insects or existing damages from past infestations.
There are numerous other defects and conditions that your clients must disclose when selling a home in South Carolina. As a listing agent, you will want to remain updated on such laws and proactive in making sure that your clients are in full compliance.