The Omaha real estate market is hot. The inventory of available houses is low and the demand for them is high. Houses are seeing multiple offers the same day as listing, and buyers are offering high prices to secure one of the few homes available for sale. Certain neighborhoods are seeing incredible jumps in prices. The Midtown / Country Club area, for example, has seen an increase in property values of more than 10% between 2019-2020 alone. Once the market stabilizes and returns to “normal,” however, many buyers may find themselves owning property that is different from what they bargained for.
The law requires sellers to disclose conditions that might negatively affect the value of a property. The seller property disclosure is a standard form that asks numerous questions on issues ranging from the age and condition of the roof to whether the garbage disposal works. Sellers are required to provide buyers with a completed disclosure form at or before closing on the sale. Sellers are required to disclose any condition they actually know about, or to inform the buyer that they are not aware of any conditions beyond those mentioned on the disclosure.
Occasionally, though, sellers are not truthful in what they report. There are three main types of cases involving property disclosure issues:
- Failure to complete disclosure
- Negligent misrepresentation
Buyers often have circumstantial evidence of fraud or the seller’s failure to disclose, but no direct evidence of the seller’s intentions. These cases can be hard to prove, although the buyer can often recover their attorney fees from the seller.
To prove negligent misrepresentation, the buyer must show that the seller made a representation regarding the condition of the property that a reasonable person could view as false. This does not require showing that the seller had actual knowledge of a condition. Negligence cases are somewhat easier to prove, although they do not allow the buyer to recover attorney fees.
The attorneys at Carlson & Burnett are available to answer your questions about property disclosures or any other aspect of real estate transactions. For more information about our firm, visit www.carlsonburnett.com.