You have decided to sell your property, but what should you disclose about the property? What types of defects are there and what are they?

There are two types of defects – patent defects and latent defects.

Patent Defects

These refer to any visible defects like leaking roofs, broken windows or a faulty drainage system, which is easily identifiable. A property in a state of disrepair will not sell as easily as a property which is cosmetically more appealing. It is thus advisable to do all repairs before you put your property on the market.

Latent Defects

These defects are not obvious to the buyer and the seller should disclose this upon the sale of a property. A good example of a latent defect would be a major crack in a wall which has been covered by wall paper to hide an even bigger problem with the foundation. The crack in the wall is thus just the result of a severe problem with the manufacturing process of the property or the ground which the property is built on. A less obvious latent defect could be a proposed double road which is being planned in front of the property. If the seller is aware of such a project or proposal and does not disclose this, it could be argued as a latent defect since it alters the use of the property. The argument would be that the seller, through media or home owners associations, would have been aware of such a proposed project.

It is advisable to do any major repairs to your property before you decide to put it in the market and maybe mention such repairs to the buyer.

What this means is you as the seller should disclose any defects within your knowledge and make potential buyers aware of these “defects”. It constitutes informed consent.

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