There’s no substitute for an inspection!
No matter how thorough or trustworthy the seller may be, a seller disclosure is no substitute for a thorough home inspection by a licensed and qualified professional. Most sellers simply aren’t trained to look for and identify the issues that can affect the average home. Before you buy, always get an inspection.
What’s on the Virginia Disclosure Form
TheVirginia Residential Property Disclosure Act (found in Title 55, Chapter 27 of the Code of Virginia) governs the information sellers must disclose to prospective buyers on a signed “Residential Property Disclosure Statement”. (This form can be found at the Virginia government’s website for the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.)
When you look the form over, however, you will see that it is less of a “disclosure” statement than one saying the seller is not disclosing much of anything, or “makes no representation” about various issues. This includes that the seller:
- makes no representations or warranties about the condition of the property or its attachments
- makes no representations regarding adjacent parcels
- makes no representations about whether historic district ordinances affect the property
- makes no representations regarding whether property is protected under the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act
- makes no representations about nearby registered sexual offenders
- represents that there are no undisclosed pending actions under the Uniform Statewide Building Code, or zoning violations that have not been fixed
- makes no representations about whether the property is in a dam break inundation zone
- makes no representations regarding whether any storm water detention facilities are on the property
- makes no representations about the presence of any wastewater system on the property
Virginia follows the rule of caveat emptor/buyer beware. It is up to you to do your own inspections and inquiries. You are not
entitled to rely on anything the seller tells you. Basically, the Virginia Disclosure form provides notice to buyers that it is up to them to inspect and investigate the property on their own. There are often many complexities involved in home sales. It is best to have legal representation.