What’s on the Pennsylvania Home Seller’s Disclosure Form?

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DISCLAIMER: As a friendly reminder, this blog post is meant to be used for educational purposes only, not legal advice. If you need assistance navigating the legalities of what to include on a PA seller disclosure form, HomeLight always encourages you to reach out to your own advisor.

So, you’re getting ready to sell your Pennsylvania home, and among the many documents you’ll be signing in the process is a disclosure statement. You’re wondering exactly what sellers in your state are required to disclose (defined as “to make known” or “to expose”) to potential buyers about a house’s condition.

Do you have to mention, for example, the flooding that happened in the basement a few years back? What about the age of the water heater you purchased 11 or 12 years ago?

Or, perhaps you’ve already found a PDF form online that looks official, but you’re still not sure what it all means. You want to read in plain-speak what you are legally obligated to disclose to buyers — and if you acknowledge problems with your home, does that mean you’ll have to pour money into fixing them before you can close a sale?

We’ll explain it all — what is the Pennsylvania seller’s disclosure form, what it does and does not do, when must you complete it, what specifically do you have to disclose, and why this matters — with expert insight along the way.

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What is a seller’s disclosure?

A seller’s disclosure is a form used during the home sale process to help both the seller and the buyer. It helps a seller comply with any applicable laws requiring that they inform buyers of any known material defects and particular features of their property. On the other hand, it helps a buyer make an informed decision about whether to purchase a property in light of its condition.

Is a seller’s disclosure required in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania used to be a “buyer beware” or “caveat emptor” state — meaning that the onus was on the buyer to find out about any defects and features a property may have. However, since the passage of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Seller Disclosure Law (RESDL) in 2000, sellers in the Keystone State have shared more of the financial risk of undisclosed material defects or features of a property.

Since RESDL, almost all sellers are required to complete an extensive property condition disclosure form. We’ll break down the required disclosures below, as well as what’s at stake for sellers filling out these forms.

What does a Pennsylvania disclosure form mean for buyers?

Receiving the seller’s disclosure form helps a buyer make an informed decision about whether to purchase a property, hopefully reducing unpleasant surprises about a home’s condition down the road. Carefully reviewing the seller’s disclosure is no substitute for completing a pre-purchase inspection, however. Pennsylvania law encourages a buyer “to address concerns about the condition of the property that may not be included in this statement.” A home inspection is one of the best ways to do just that.

What does a Pennsylvania disclosure form mean for sellers?

Filling out the disclosure accurately and thoroughly is crucial for sellers to protect themselves from future liability. Why? If your buyer discovers something you knowingly concealed or neglected to disclose, that buyer can sue you for damages up to two years after the deal closes.

To better understand what’s at stake for Pennsylvania home sellers, we spoke with Cliff Lewis, an Allentown agent who works with over 70% more single-family homes than the average area agent.

“Be one hundred percent honest,” advises Lewis, noting that the seller’s disclosure is “one of the only forms that survives settlement, and it’s one of the biggest issues as far as lawsuits down the road go.”

What does a seller’s disclosure not do?

Before reviewing all the details of the form, let’s establish what it does not do:

  • According to Pa. Code § 35.335a, it does not excuse you from disclosing problems not listed on the form.
  • It does not require you to fix all the problems disclosed. In fact, if you know of numerous repair needs you cannot (or don’t) want to resolve before selling, you may be interested in selling your Pennsylvania house “as is.”
  • It does not guarantee or warranty anything about a property’s condition — new problems with a home can develop after purchase, or issues may come to light that the seller had no way of knowing.

When is the Pennsylvania disclosure form required to be submitted?

Pennsylvania’s RESDL stipulates that the seller’s disclosure form must be completed, signed, dated, and in the hands of a potential buyer before they sign a formal offer (also known as a purchase agreement) on the property.

Lewis asks his clients to fill out the disclosure before their listing goes live. Then he uploads it directly to the local multiple listing service (MLS) with the property listing and also prints a copy to leave inside the property, ensuring ample opportunity for prospective buyers to review it.

Disclose, disclose, disclose. You’re one hundred percent better off just disclosing and telling the absolute truth about anything going on on the property versus trying to, you know, hide something or fabricate a story with it. Just be honest and say, here’s what happened and, you know, protect yourself later on down the road.
  • Cliff Lewis
    Cliff Lewis Real Estate Agent
    Cliff Lewis
    Cliff Lewis Real Estate Agent at Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors-Allentown
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    Currently accepting new clients
    • Years of Experience 20
    • Transactions 2154
    • Average Price Point $245k
    • Single Family Homes 1919

What do I have to disclose when selling a house in Pennsylvania?

The forms

There are two required disclosure forms for Pennsylvania sellers:

  • The Pennsylvania Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. This version of the form includes every question mandated by law for sellers to answer. However, the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors has compiled a more comprehensive form (also compliant with state law) to help sellers and buyers.
  • If your home was built before 1978, you’ll also need the Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards in order to comply with federal law. Your listing agent will likely ask you to complete this form at the same time as the seller’s disclosure.

The cardinal rule

“Disclose, disclose, disclose,” says Lewis. “You’re one hundred percent better off just disclosing and telling the absolute truth about anything going on on the property versus trying to, you know, hide something or fabricate a story with it. Just be honest and say, here’s what happened and, you know, protect yourself later on down the road.”

The specifics

While the majority of the questions on the required disclosure form address “material defects” (read: significant problems affecting value or safety), you will also find questions about certain characteristics of your property. Based on a 2018 ruling in the state’s Superior Court, as a Pennsylvania seller, you are obligated to disclose both the problems and the characteristics addressed on the form.

So, let’s break down the Seller’s Property Disclosure section by section to see what to expect.

Seller’s expertise

First, you’ll be asked to explain any expertise you have regarding:

  • Contracting
  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Areas relating to construction or the condition of your property

If you have no expertise in these areas, leave this section blank.


Here, you’ll simply indicate whether you currently occupy the property — and if not, when you last occupied it.


In this section, you’ll first be asked the date the roof was installed. After that, expect to be asked about:

  • Any documentation for that installation
  • Whether the roof has been replaced or repaired during your ownership
  • If so, whether the existing shingles were removed
  • Any leaks during your ownership
  • Any problems you know of with the roof, gutters, or downspouts
  • Any “yes” answers in this section — for these, you’ll need to explain more.

What if I don’t know when the roof was installed?
Don’t worry — if you don’t know the date the roof was installed or whether the existing shingles were removed, “unknown” is one of your answer choices.

Basements and crawl spaces

If your house has neither of these, skip this section of the form. Otherwise, you’ll be answering questions concerning:

  • Sump pumps on the property
  • Details on any water leakage, accumulation, or dampness
  • Details about any repairs or measures taken to mitigate moisture

Some examples of issues to disclose here are:

  • Sump pump malfunctions
  • A persistent musty odor that lingers unless you run a dehumidifier
  • Even an isolated incident of flooding (Lewis says, “If you had rain one time in your basement ten years ago, disclose it now in case it was ever an issue later.”)
  • Presence of mold, mildew, or fungus in these areas (That’s right, you can sell a house with mold.)

Fretting about disclosing water in your basement?
Don’t panic. Lewis says this is the number one defect to disclose for his Pennsylvania clients. “We have a lot of slate in our area,” he explains, “and because of that and the way that a lot of the houses sit, you get water in your basement. It’s a pretty common thing, especially because a lot of the houses in our area use block foundation instead of poured concrete walls. So if it’s block, there’s a good chance you’re going to get some water through the walls.”

Termites, wood-destroying insects, dry rot, and pests

Here, you’ll need to indicate and explain:

  • Any termites, wood-destroying insects, dry rot, or pests affecting the property
  • Any damage to the property caused by the above problems
  • Whether a licensed pest control company is currently contracted to treat the property
  • If you know of any termite or pest control reports or treatments from the last five years

Here’s a more in-depth look at selling a house with termite damage.

Structural issues

This section requires you to answer questions about both the past and the present concerning:

  • Water leakage in the home or any other structures on the property
  • Any movement, shifting, deterioration, or other problems with things like
    • Walls
    • Foundations
    • Other structural components
  • Problems with driveways, walkways, patios, or retaining walls
  • Any efforts made to control or repair structural issues, including specifics about the problem, who performed the work, and when

A note on water leakage and flooding
Even if leaking or flooding only occurred once — as many Pennsylvania homeowners may have experienced during Hurricane Irene in 2011, for example — a seller has an obligation to disclose it. According to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, even one bad storm which caused water to come in under a side door or seep through badly-sealed windows should be disclosed. Here are more tips on selling a home with water damage.

Again, don’t assume that a problem disclosed in this section of the form will be a definite turn-off to buyers — especially in a seller’s market.

Lewis has seen buyers sign off on disclosures even when they reveal a problem as major as a crack in the foundation. The bigger problem, he emphasizes, is not disclosing: “The lawsuits that we’ve been in with sellers have always been because they didn’t disclose.”

Additions and remodeling

Here, take the time to describe any additions, structural changes, or other alterations you’ve made to the property. Though not an exhaustive list, some examples of things you might include could be:

  • Constructing a barn or shed in the backyard
  • Expanding the kitchen
  • Finishing a basement or attic
  • Adding a bedroom or bathroom
  • Removing a wall

When possible, include dates for additions or remodels. Lastly, if you know that a permit should have been acquired for work completed, but was not, it’s a good idea to disclose that too.

Water and sewage

This is a lengthy section where you’ll be asked to divulge:

  • The source of your drinking water
  • For non-public water sources, information about water testing and pumping systems
  • Water filtration, purification, or softener systems
  • Sewage system type, pumping system, and servicing information
  • Any leaks, backups, or other problems with plumbing, water, or sewage systems

As with many other sections, if you answer “yes” to a problem’s existence, you’ll need to offer more explanation.

Plumbing system

Here you’ll need to:

  • Specify the type of plumbing on the property (copper, galvanized, lead, PVC, unknown, or other)
  • Explain any problems you’re aware of with plumbing fixtures

A caution about old pipes and recurring clogs
According to Lewis, old cast iron pipes that need replacing can be a significant concern for Pennsylvania sellers and buyers, particularly in more urban areas. Take note, he says — if you’ve been having lots of clogs and a professional tells you that there’s a crack in the pipes or that you need to replace them, you are now liable to disclose that information.
Otherwise, says Lewis, if you say that you’ve never had issues with the plumbing on the property, but the buyer begins to have problems, calls a local professional, and finds out that person has serviced the property a lot in recent history, that buyer will learn that you did have an issue you didn’t disclose and may file suit.
For a one-time clog rather than a systemic problem, however, Lewis says not to worry: “It’s different if three years ago, Roto Rooter came out one time — versus you have them out yearly to run the lines.”

Heating and air conditioning

Here, you’ll disclose the types of heating, air conditioning, and water heating on the property. Make sure you also include:

  • Areas of the home that are not air-conditioned
  • Areas that are not heated
  • Any problems with the air conditioning, heating, or water heating
  • The presence of any underground fuel tanks — though rare, Lewis does occasionally work with sellers who have these
  • Any fireplaces or chimneys that do not work or need repair

What about systems that are old but still working?
Just because a system is near the end of its expected life does not mean it merits disclosure. If that old water heater is fully functioning, for example, its age is not considered a material defect.

Electrical system

Next, indicate any problems or repairs needed on the electrical system.

If you aren’t aware of any current problems, but a significant event occurred at one point, it’s best to disclose it. If, for example, your electrical box was partially submerged by flooding during Hurricane Irene in 2011, make sure you describe that event and what measures (i.e. inspection or replacement) were taken afterward.

Equipment and appliances

This is your opportunity to list any appliances included with the sale of the house that need some kind of repair or replacement. For repairs, provide a brief explanation of the problem.

Land — issues with soils, drainage, boundaries, and sinkholes

Now it’s time to disclose and explain characteristics of the property beyond the house itself, such as:

  • The presence of fill soil or expansive soil (aka soil that can significantly expand and contract and therefore affect structures)
  • Any sliding, settling, earth movement, subsidence, or earth stability problems
  • Existing or proposed mining, strip mining, or excavations affecting your property
  • Whether your property is part of a flood zone or wetland
  • Past or current drainage or flooding on the property
  • Sinkholes
  • Encroachments, boundary line disputes, or easements related to the property
  • Shared or common areas like driveways, bridges, docks, walls — and details about any related documentation or maintenance agreements
  • Restrictive covenants or limited development rights that affect how the property may be used
  • Any property rights or existing leases that may affect the property and to which a buyer may be subject

Pro tip on easements
Any easements should be listed on the Deed of Sale, which sellers should have in their possession and potential buyers can find in the relevant county’s Office of the Recorder of Deeds. Whether you know it or not, your property likely has some easements for things like utility services, which likely don’t affect your regular use of the property. Lewis says easements tend to be more of a concern when selling larger tracts of land, such as 10 to 20 acres.

Hazardous substances

In this section, expect to disclose information about potentially harmful materials (whether in the home or anywhere on the property) like:

  • Underground tanks
  • Asbestos
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Radon
  • Lead paint
  • Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation (UFFI)
  • The results of any testing conducted for hazardous substances
  • Other possible environmental concerns affecting the property
  • Mold, mildew, or fungus somewhere other than the basement or crawlspace

Condominiums and other homeowners associations

If your property is part of a condo, cooperative, or homeowner association, include pertinent details here. You may also need to attach HOA documents as an addendum, which your listing agent can help with. If none of this applies to the property, leave this section blank.

Storm water facilities

In this section, you’ll need to explain any features of your property designed to divert or manage storm water (as well as who is responsible for maintaining them), such as:

  • Basins
  • Ponds
  • Ditches
  • Drains
  • Swales
  • Culverts
  • Pipes


In this final, catch-all category, you’ll need to include and explain any:

  • Current or threatened legal action against the property
  • Violations of federal, state, or local laws or regulations related to the property
  • Assessments against the property that are unpaid
  • Violations of ordinances (i.e. zoning, housing, building safety, fire) that are unresolved
  • Liens, judgments, encumbrances, or other debt against the property that won’t be resolved by this sale
  • Reasons that would prevent you from giving a warranty deed or conveying the title
  • Any other material defects of the property (including land, structures, and any fixtures) that you have not already explained on the disclosure

Now, what are you certifying by signing your name?

You did it — completed one of the longest questionnaires of your life!

As you sign off on this rigorous form, you’re agreeing that:

  • You have completed it as accurately and comprehensively as possible with the knowledge you have.
  • Your real estate agent can give the information to prospective buyers and other agents.
  • You alone are responsible for its accuracy.
  • You (or your agent) will notify the buyer in writing if a change in the property’s condition makes any information on the form inaccurate.

Disclosure exceptions

RESDL dictates that in residential real estate transfers, almost all sellers must complete the disclosure form. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • When selling a property as part of your duties to take care of an estate, guardianship, conservatorship, or trust
  • When selling to your spouse or direct descendant
  • A transfer between one co-owner to another co-owner
  • A transfer to a spouse as part of a divorce, legal separation, or property settlement
  • A transfer where the property will be demolished or converted to non-residential use

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Q&A: More expert tips about disclosures in Pennsylvania

What can I leave out of my Pennsylvania seller’s disclosure?

Most importantly, you do not have to disclose that which you truly do not know. Rather than assume or guess for a specific question, simply write or circle “unknown” where applicable.

Next, sellers in the Keystone State are also not required to disclose things that, though unpleasant, are not considered to be physical defects. Some examples include:

  • A murder or other death in the house
  • A crime committed on the property
  • Rumors of “haunting”
  • Noisy neighbors

What if I accidentally leave something out of my disclosure?

Did you forget to list that bathroom remodel from five years ago? Or later find the paperwork for the roof, only to realize you said it was 10 years old when it’s actually 15? Fortunately, you can amend your disclosure statement.

Remember, your signature on the form indicated it was accurate to the best of your knowledge. So, even if an omission or error may seem minor, you need to amend in order to limit your liability. Lewis cautions, “Always, always, make sure it’s completely updated.”

What if something breaks or is discovered after the disclosure?

If the condition of the property changes — or you gain new knowledge about its condition — before any purchase agreement has been signed, you’ll need to amend your disclosure accordingly. This scenario may come into play, says Lewis, if a deal falls through after a home inspection has been completed. Once you have read an inspection report, you’re responsible to disclose any defects that may come to light which you have not already included on your seller’s disclosure.

However, if your property is already under contract when this occurs, you will need to notify the buyer in writing rather than amend your completed form.

Are you ready to sell or buy a home in Pennsylvania?

In spite of its tedium, completing the Pennsylvania Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement accurately and thoroughly is a crucial step for home sellers to protect themselves from future liability. Now that you know what to disclose (and what not to) and why, you can fill it out with confidence and move on toward more exciting phases of your journey — like closing the deal and perhaps buying your next home.

Once you’re ready, HomeLight’s Agent Match can connect you with top-performing agents in Pennsylvania who have the local experience and market knowledge to successfully guide you through every step of the home-selling or buying journey. From disclosures to closing, put a top professional in your corner.

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