The House Detective by Barry Stone, Certified Home Inspector
Dear Barry: You often stress the importance of defect disclosure for sellers. But here in the commonwealth of Virginia, sellers do not have to disclose. They can simply disclaim or disclose defects in their homes, as they choose. Most sellers sign disclaimers stating that they are selling their house “as is” without having to divulge anything they know to be defective. It’s “buyer beware” in this state, and only the foolish buyers forego home inspections! Diana
Dear Diana: Thanks for calling attention to this legal circumstance in your state. Something should be done in Virginia to rectify an inexcusably out-of-date position with regard to real estate disclosure. Setting aside the opposing legal arguments, it is a matter of common decency and honest ethical behavior to inform a buyer of defects before selling a costly commodity. This is particularly true with a home because of the financial hardship that can result from undisclosed defects. Those who support limited disclosure could use some basic instruction in the differences between right and wrong. Until then, the absence of seller disclosure increases the need for qualified home inspectors in Virginia.