NEW YORK, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- According to an article on real estate portal Realtypin.com, disclosure laws play a big role in home sales. But since they vary from state to state, it's hard to pinpoint exactly what kind of information a seller has to turn over before you sign all of the paperwork and get the keys. Most disclosure laws are reasonable – like requiring sellers to tell you about any lead paint that may have been used or any other defects the home may have. That's why some people are shocked over a recent Pennsylvania court ruling.
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So, what exactly does the ruling entail?
Thanks to a panel of Pennsylvania Superior Court Judges, sellers in the Keystone State don't have to tell buyers about any murders or suicides that took place in their homes. No matter how gruesome the incidents may have been, the Judges decided that they aren't considered "material defects" – and, thus, don't fall under the state's disclosure laws. Also included in their ruling, the Judges said murders and suicides were a matter of "caveat emptor" – or "let the buyer beware". Pennsylvania isn't the first state to hand down a ruling like this. In fact, in neighboring New Jersey, the disclosure laws are nearly identical. However, that isn't doing much to make squeamish buyers feel better. Brokers aren't too happy about the decision, either. After all, Pennsylvania is the home of the Amityville horror story!
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So, what can you do to ease your fears if you plan on buying a home in Pennsylvania?
One thing buyers can do is to ask for a written guarantee before they close on the home. For example, asking the seller to sign a guarantee that the home was never the sight of a murder, suicide, or other felony can be one way to get the information you need. Or, you can simply ask the neighbors before you sign on the dotted line. That way, if the home comes with any type of stigma, you'll hear all about it! Bottom line – if the thought of living in a former crime scene keeps you awake at night, you're not going to be able to rely on disclosure laws anymore. Instead, you're going to have to do some extra homework of your own. But you'll have to be proactive before your home sale is finalized. Any information you find out afterwards isn't going to change anything. Thanks to this ruling, you won't be able to get your money back, no matter what you find out!
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