May 2016: Real Estate Roundup

A final word on property disclosure forms

Lance Evans

Lance Evans

In March and April, I wrote about two state-required real estate forms. The first was the Agency Disclosure form, which is used by real estate licensees every time they work with a new client or customer in a residential real estate transaction. This includes a provision for advanced consent for the firm to represent both the seller and buyer in the transaction. There is a form for the seller/buyer transaction and a separate one for the landlord/tenant transaction. The other form, used in almost every transaction that involves the sale of a one- to four-unit home is the Seller Property Condition Disclosure.

There are other forms you may encounter in a real estate transaction depending on your circumstances. One of the most prominent, especially in our area, is the Lead Paint Disclosure. The federal Environmental Protection Agency requires this form be filled out for every residential dwelling — purchase or lease — that was built before 1978. There are a series of questions and statements the owner fills out about the presence of lead paint and lead paint hazards in the dwelling. It is filled out even if the lead paint has been removed from the home. Prior to purchasing or leasing a home or apartment that was built before 1978, the buyer or renter should receive a copy of the form as well as an EPA pamphlet titled: “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home” before signing an offer to purchase or lease the property. The buyer or renter also have some sections to fill out on the form.

While the lead paint form is required by a federal agency, all of the other common forms, including the two I covered previously, are required by the state.

There are several that, while less common, are frequently seen in our area. They can be presented as individual forms or a combination of several forms together. Unlike the other forms discussed prior, they can be used in every transaction where property is purchased. In alphabetical order, they cover agricultural districts and farming activity, electric availability, uncapped natural gas well disclosure, and utility surcharge.

The purpose of the agricultural districts and farming activity form is to inform the purchaser that the property is partially or wholly within an agricultural district and that farming occurs there. It notes that farming activities may include “activities that cause noise, dust, and odors” and the location may limit the ability to access water and/or sewer services.

The electric availability and utility surcharge forms are usually grouped together. They tell the buyer that the property does or does not have electrical service to it and if the property is subject to a surcharge and for what amount for electric, gas, and/or water utility.

The final form, the uncapped natural gas well disclosure, is required if the seller has knowledge of an uncapped natural gas well on the property.

A word about these forms: They must be used when needed, however it is not wrong to use them in every transaction if desired. Like all other disclosure forms, these need to be presented to the buyer prior to finalizing a purchase agreement.


 

On Tuesday, May 17, the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors will sponsor its annual Red Cross Blood Drive from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. All donors and blood types are welcome. The drive will include double red as well as regular donations and will be held in Watertown at Savory Downtown in the Best Western Hotel, 300 Washington St. While walk-ins are welcome, appointments are appreciated and can be made by calling the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors, (315) 782-1322, or Karen Peebles, (315) 778-1290. You can also sign up online at redcrossblood.org. Go to May 17 in the list and enter ZIP code 13601.

Lance M. Evans is the executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. Contact him at levans@nnymls.com. His column appears monthly in NNY Business.