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SC Property Disclosure Act for blog by Pinnacle Real Estate Academy

The South Carolina Property Disclosure Act: Debunking Misconceptions

When it comes to real estate laws in South Carolina, few are as misunderstood as the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Statement Act. Both real estate agents and sellers often incorrectly claim exemptions that don’t exist under the law. The most common misunderstood exemptions include the seller not occupying the house, properties being sold by the owner, investment properties, properties owned by churches or non-profits, and properties owned by landlords.

Let’s set the record straight: none of these scenarios are valid exemptions under the law. All necessitate the completion of the Seller Disclosure form.

SC Property Disclosure Act for blog by Pinnacle Real Estate Academy

Unraveling the Disclosure Statement Act

So, who exactly is required to complete the Seller Disclosure form? According to South Carolina law, the Seller Disclosure form must be filled out by the seller and given to the prospective buyer before entering into any contract of sale. This applies to residential real property transfers involving at least one, but not more than four, dwelling units. Applicable transactions include sales, exchanges, installment land sales contracts, and leases with an option to purchase contracts.

However, the law doesn’t extend to all types of property. For instance, vacant land, commercial, retail, or industrial property, or residential properties with five or more units, are not covered under this law.

Defining ‘Owner’

For purposes of the law, an “owner” is anyone with a recorded present or future interest in real estate who is identified in the contract, with exceptions for mortgage holders or those with a lien. It’s worth noting that while I use the terms ‘Seller’ and ‘Owner’ interchangeably for simplicity, they aren’t always interchangeable in legal contexts.

Understanding the Disclosure’s Scope

The disclosure is strictly limited to the actual residential dwelling and doesn’t encompass common areas or elements where the seller doesn’t bear primary responsibility.

Remember, real estate agents and “For Sale by Owners” must complete the form prior to showing the home to prospective buyers and provide a copy of the form at the time of showing. This helps avoid complications and ensure transparency.

Non-Disclosure Implications

What happens if the Seller Disclosure form isn’t provided? Contrary to some beliefs, failure to provide this form doesn’t void the agreement, create a defect in title, or give a valid reason to delay or interfere with closing a real estate transaction.

However, there can be legal consequences for not providing the form. The seller could be liable for damages caused by the omission, and any seller who knowingly provides false or incomplete information may also be held liable for actual damages to the buyer, in addition to court costs and attorney fees.

In Summary

The South Carolina Residential Property Condition Disclosure Statement Act is critical to ensure transparency in real estate transactions. Though misconceptions persist, it’s crucial to understand the requirements, the scope, and the potential consequences of non-compliance. Always consult with a knowledgeable real estate professional or legal advisor to ensure you’re fully informed and compliant with the law. Check out Pinnacle’s course selection to receive, renew, or upgrade your real estate license!

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