Common Real Estate Questions: What Do I Have to Disclose to Buyers in Georgia?

While buying a home for the first time gets a lot of attention and advice online, selling a home for the first time is also a big step that can lead to lots of questions. One of the most frequently asked questions from people considering selling their homes is “What do I have to disclose to potential buyers?” Read on for a look at what disclosures are (and are not) required for real estate transactions in Georgia.

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Disclosure DOs

In Georgia you are not required to fill out a disclosure form as in some states; however, you must inform a potential buyer of any material (i.e. important) issues with the home that you know of. This is not necessary if it’s something the buyer would discover in a reasonable inspection. If anyone looking at your home can clearly see that something is damaged, you don’t need to point it out.

You must answer the potential buyer’s questions about your home truthfully, including things like repair history, unless doing so would violate Fair Housing law. At the end of the day, it’s just not worth risking a lawsuit for not disclosing a major issue with the home, so it’s best to answer a buyer’s questions honestly.

Disclosure DON’Ts

While the home’s physical condition should be truthfully disclosed to the potential buyer, there are some very specific things that sellers are not required to disclose under Georgia law. Those include:

  • If a diseased person lived in the home
  • If a death occurred there (whether natural, homicide, suicide, or any other type)
  • If a felony occurred there
  • If there is a sex offender in the area (locations of registered sex offenders can be found online)

Of course, with the power of search engines, a potential buyer may find out about a crime or death that happened at your property and they may ask you about it. You must answer any direct questions about the incident truthfully.

There is one instance in which you may not give a buyer a complete and honest answer, and that is if the question pertains to information that falls under the Federal Fair Housing Act or Georgia fair housing laws. If a buyer asks a question about a previous occupant’s religion, disability status, or race, you may not answer without violating fair housing law. The best choice in such a scenario is to tell the potential buyer that you are not legally allowed to answer.

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