When purchasing real estate, due diligence is important. While buyers may need to conduct inspections and appraisals on their own, sellers also have a responsibility to disclose certain facts in North Carolina. In addition to this, sellers may not give false answers when asked a direct question.

In spite of this, many homeowners get tricked into purchasing property with clear red flags. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to seller disclosures.

Required to disclose

ABC 11 describes the home buying process in North Carolina as “buyer beware.” One problem is that sellers may opt out of disclosing certain details by stating that they have no representation when filling out the disclosure form.

Some of the factors they might be obligated to disclose include pending community litigation, developments planned for the area, problems that may present health and safety risks, oil and gas rights, known defects and HOA fees. Sellers are typically also required to disclose any neighborhood nuisances.

Not required to disclose

There are some things that may turn a buyer away from purchasing a home that sellers are not necessarily required to disclose unless asked. These may include missing essentials, such as water heaters or gutters.

Sellers may also not need to disclose if someone died in the home or if they believe the house is haunted. Fire history, square footage and the presence of sexual offenders in the neighborhood may also go undisclosed.

Potential red flags

So, what can buyers do to protect themselves from a purchasing decision they may come to regret. Working with an experienced real estate agent and hiring professionals to do a proper inspection may help to uncover any unsavory facts buyers may wish to know.

Here are some potential red flags Forbes recommends keeping an eye out for:

  • The use of “unknown” or “no representation” on the disclosure form
  • Notes about damage to the roof or no mention of the roof at all
  • Expanding or making improvements without permits
  • Any defects related to the structure of the building
  • Any type of flood damage, no matter how minor

Purchasing property is a worthy but risky investment. Homeowners-to-be may mitigate this risk by asking the right questions and leaning on professional assistance.