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The Dirt on Real Estate Disclosures

What must be revealed before a property is sold?

If you have sold a home in recent years, you are familiar with disclosure statements. Such statements list any defects in the property that are known to the seller but that may go unnoticed by the buyer. In some states, these disclosures are required by law, although it may be possible for a buyer to waive this requirement.

Disclosure statements also are common in commercial real estate transactions, including the purchase or sale of church property. A recent case in Indiana illustrates the remedies available to a church that purchased property on the site of a former garbage dump whose existence the seller fraudulently concealed. 924 N.E.2d 682 (Ind. App. 2010).

surprises beneath the surface

In 2003, a married couple (the "defendants") sold a parcel of land to a church. As part of this transaction, the defendants signed a disclosure statement affirming, in part, that the property "is not, ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • April 1, 2011

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