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 home seller disclosure form in Utah, HomeLight always encourages you to reach out to your own advisor.
Perhaps you’re ready to trade in your lawnmower for a set of golf clubs and move to a 55+ community. With median sales prices rising 24.2% in the past year, you’ve decided to cash out the equity in your suburban Salt Lake City home. But you’ve had some plumbing issues in the past so you’re wondering exactly what needs to be disclosed to prospective buyers in Utah and whether you’ll have to make costly repairs before selling your house.
Or maybe you’re relocating for a job in the Beehive State’s expanding tech industry and want information about the property’s condition before committing your hard-earned savings.
We’ve consulted with a top real estate agent and researched items that must be disclosed to help make sense out of the seller disclosure form in Utah.
What is a seller’s disclosure?
Most states require home sellers to reveal any material defects they are aware of or known problems that could significantly reduce property value or be a grave risk to people.
Sellers will complete a disclosure statement about the home’s condition and systems that are damaged, don’t work properly, or are unsafe. Some states have requirements for disclosing issues affecting the land or additional disclosures specific to that state. In addition, federal law mandates the disclosure of lead-based paint for houses built before 1978 to reduce the risk of lead poisoning that may cause neurological damage in young children.
Is a seller’s disclosure form required in Utah?
Although statutory law in Utah only mandates telling potential buyers if the house has been contaminated from the use, storage, or manufacture of methamphetamines, that’s not all you’ll have to divulge.
Utah is what’s known as a “Caveat Emptor” or “buyer beware” state, which means it’s ultimately the buyer’s responsibility to determine if the home they are purchasing has any issues. However, as the seller, you must also disclose known defects adversely affecting the property’s use and value that a buyer could not discover by a reasonable inspection, according to a ruling by Utah’s Supreme Court.
“In the world of real estate, it’s such a big asset and expense that a buyer is purchasing that a seller is required or obligated to tell them everything they know about the property so the buyer can go into it with full disclosure,” says Joel Carson, an award-winning real estate agent in Salt Lake City with over 30 years of experience. Buyers need to know what they’re getting and not discover major detrimental issues after the sale that are expensive to fix, like a sinkhole or a foundation that’s been moving.
“A seller needs to give that information to the buyer so they can make a decision on how they want to proceed,” says Carson.
Seller disclosure forms are legal documents, so take them seriously. Ask your real estate agent or attorney about anything you don’t understand. How you fill them out could make the difference between a successful sale and an unsuccessful lawsuit.
In the sections below, we’ll take a closer look at Utah’s Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure form.
What does the Utah disclosure form mean for buyers?
After reviewing the seller’s disclosure, buyers can make a more informed decision about going ahead with the purchase. The disclosure form offers some reassurance that the house isn’t a money pit, but also gives them a chance to back out if it reveals serious problems such as foundation issues or termite infestation.
Since there may be flaws unknown to the homeowner, buyers should hire a professional home inspector to look for defects that may not be obvious and pay close attention to items revealed on the disclosure form.
An incomplete disclosure statement or one with vague answers raises a red flag that the seller might be concealing something. After closing, if buyers discover that problems were intentionally left out such as a malfunctioning HVAC system, they can seek money from the seller for repairs or sue for damages.
What does the Utah disclosure form mean for sellers?
Accurately completing the disclosure form enables sellers to satisfy the contractual requirements in section 7(a) of Utah’s Real Estate Purchase Contract (REPC) to provide a written statement of the property’s condition and legal obligations to disclose known material defects.
Answering questions truthfully and to the best of your knowledge will help evade the legal consequences and liability of not fully divulging property flaws. By bringing issues to the buyer’s attention prior to closing, you’ll lessen the risk of a lawsuit if defects are found after the sale goes through.
While you’re not expected to be aware of every single issue your home might have or reveal problems you know nothing about, being dishonest about known material defects or not disclosing them could be an act of fraudulent concealment or fraudulent nondisclosure.
For example, claiming you’ve never repaired your roof when you replaced a few shingles due to leaks could be considered an act of fraud. You might be accused of fraudulent nondisclosure by untruthfully stating that you haven’t detected any leaks in the roof.
“The seller could be sued for fraud if the buyer could prove that they knew something and didn’t disclose it,” says Carson. If the buyer discovers a geological report that wasn’t disclosed, the seller could end up in court.
If you have any questions about filling out a disclosure form, ask your real estate agent or consult a real estate attorney. Remember, honesty is the best policy for a smooth sales transaction without exposing you to legal liability and monetary damages.
What does a seller’s disclosure not do?
The home may have hidden problems such as mold in the attic or termites in the crawl space, so the disclosure form won’t reveal issues unknown to the seller. Nor does the disclosure require the seller to conduct a thorough examination of the property or to fix anything that’s been disclosed. But if you opt for a pre-listing inspection, you will have to be up front about all defects the inspector finds.
“A lot of sellers are not aware of the little detailed items that inspectors find,” says Carson. He explains that it would be difficult to prove that sellers knew something they didn’t disclose like a cracked sewer line which wouldn’t be discovered unless the sewer line was scoped.
Although it’s a legal document, there’s no guarantee that the seller hasn’t omitted any issues or provided misleading information. Thus, buyers shouldn’t rely solely on the disclosure form, but obtain a professional home inspection to get an accurate picture of the property’s condition.
When is Utah’s disclosure form required to be submitted?
Disclosure forms are given to the buyer after agreeing on the price and before closing during the buyer’s due diligence period. A seller disclosure deadline is specified in the REPC, usually within five to seven days after the contract is signed. Your real estate agent may provide these documents much earlier so you have time to complete them and consult a real estate attorney.
Carson asks sellers to fill out disclosure forms at the beginning of the sales process and includes them on the multiple listing service (MLS) as a downloadable document so potential buyers can view them. “It helps the seller because if we can get in a multiple offer situation, for instance, the more the buyer knows up front, the higher the price may be that they’re willing to offer,” he explains.
Now let’s take a more detailed look at what home sellers in Utah need to disclose to buyers.
Don’t leave anything out because it’s better to give them everything and let them make a decision than give the short version and then it comes to bite them down the road.
- Joel Carson Real Estate AgentCloseJoel Carson Real Estate Agent at Utah Real Estate Currently accepting new clients
- Years of Experience 32
- Transactions 394
- Average Price Point $471k
- Single Family Homes 272
What do I have to disclose when selling a house in Utah?
Although Utah is a “Caveat Emptor” or buyer beware state where it’s the buyer’s responsibility to determine if the home has any issues, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to your property’s defects or that you can conceal them.
The Utah REPC requires that sellers disclose known problems with the home that could affect the buyer’s purchase decision. This is accomplished by completing the Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure which was recently updated by the Utah Association of Realtors to make it more user-friendly.
For houses constructed before 1978, you’ll also have to fill out the Disclosure & Acknowledgement Regarding Lead-Based Paint and/or Lead-Based Paint Hazards.
If you’re only selling a lot, the Seller’s Property Condition Disclosure (Land) is the applicable form addressing issues that affect the land.
When it comes to filling out the disclosure document, Carson advises sellers to over disclose. “Don’t leave anything out because it’s better to give them everything and let them make a decision than give the short version and then it comes to bite them down the road,” he says.
We’ve highlighted the key issues you need to know when preparing your disclosure statement.
If you’ve remodeled your kitchen or added an in-law suite, buyers will want reassurance that the work was done right and with the proper permits. While you don’t have to explain cosmetic changes such as paint or carpet, sellers in Utah are required to provide details about:
- Remodeling projects, room additions, structural modifications, and other alterations or improvements made by the seller or previous owners
- Issued and closed permits
- Contractor who did the work
Legal, zoning, or use compliance
Your buyer wouldn’t want to inherit a lawsuit so if your property is involved in litigation or in breach of zoning regulations, you’ll need to disclose the following:
- Illegal or nonconforming use such as renting your house in violation of local zoning ordinances or without a business license if required
- Existing or threatened legal action against your property
- Violations of local, state, or federal laws and regulations
- Assessment for property taxes as greenbelt or agricultural land
Buyers may think twice about purchasing a home requiring a huge investment in a new roof or renegotiate terms of the sale. The disclosure form asks about the condition of your roof including:
- Past and present leaks
- Defects such as structural issues, dry rot, moisture, or ice damage
- Roof repairs or replacements
Dropped phone calls and slow internet connectivity can be a real headache, so sellers in Utah are required to note any past or present problems with utility services and systems such as natural gas, electricity, phone, TV, and internet.
Safe drinking water is essential to life, so you’ll need to answer questions about your home’s culinary water supply in addition to secondary water that keeps your lawn green. Be prepared to provide information about:
- Governmental entity or water company that provides water service
- Problems with water supply such as water quality and inadequate or excessive water pressure
- Well, spring, or other water source on the property or shared with another person or entity
Utah’s seller disclosure form requires you to specify if your property has a public sewer or septic/holding tank. Provide details about problems such as broken sewer lines, consistently slow or clogged drains, as well as repairs or replacement of the sewer lateral line or septic/holding tank. If you have a septic/holding tank, you’ll have to disclose how many times it’s been inspected and/or pumped in the past five years and who provided the service.
Faulty heating and cooling systems make your home an uncomfortable place to live while defective electrical components present fire hazards. Utah sellers will have to disclose the following:
- Malfunctioning heating or air conditioning equipment and their components
- Winterization of the evaporative cooling system
- Defective electrical switches, outlets, or other parts of the electrical system
- Equipment that is not owned by the seller
Equipment and appliances
To avoid surprises when the buyer moves in, such as a broken refrigerator or payments due on financed appliances, Utah sellers are required to disclose defects or problems with the following:
- Equipment included with the sale such as air purifier, central vacuum, fire sprinkler system, garage door opener, security system, smoke alarm, water heater, propane tanks, etc.
- Appliances including dishwasher, disposal, freezer, refrigerator, washer, dryer, oven, range, microwave, and trash compactor
- Issues with gas or wood burning fireplace and potbelly, wood, or pellet stove
- Any equipment or appliances that are not owned by the seller
Interior and exterior features
Be prepared to describe your property’s condition both inside and out. The seller’s disclosure form inquires about problems with:
- Interior features such as ceiling fans, elevator, sauna, skylights, flooring, and other components inside your home
- Exterior features including gas barbecue, heated driveway, sprinkler system, pool, hot tub, and additional items located outdoors
- Exterior surfaces such as moisture damage behind stucco
Pests and dry rot
You’ll need to make buyers aware of uninvited critters living in your home. If you sell a house in Utah, you’ll need to disclose the following:
- Past or present problems with termites, dry rot, rodents, and other pests as well as damage they caused
- Written warranties or termite and pest control coverage currently in place
Structural integrity and problem soils
Foundation and other structural issues could be a major expense, so you’ll need to reveal any of these problems and repairs that were completed:
- Settlement or heaving of soil such as collapsible or expansive soils and poorly compacted fill
- Sliding or earth movement including landslides, falling rocks, debris, or mud flows
- Movement, shifting, deterioration, or other problems with walls or foundation
- Construction materials, concrete, footings, underground tanks, trash, and other subsurface debris that’s been buried or covered
Boundaries and easements
Buyers wouldn’t want to move into their new home and be forced to tear down a beautiful deck because it crossed over property lines into the neighbor’s yard. This section requires you to reveal the following:
- Fence, deck, or other improvement that either extends onto an adjoining property or is located on adjacent land and encroaches on your premises
- Boundary disputes or conflicts
- Unrecorded easements affecting your property
Mold and moisture
Even though Utah has a dry climate, mold can grow indoors and be detrimental to health, especially for people with respiratory illnesses and allergies. Moisture from leaks, flooding, and condensation can lead to mold growth. These mold and moisture issues must be disclosed by Utah sellers:
- Mold on walls, ceilings, floors, or other interior features, except for an occasional buildup of mold and mildew in the bathroom
- Inspection of property for mold and copies of reports
- Water leakage or accumulation and dampness in the basement and/or crawl space
- Damage caused by flooding, lot drainage, moisture seepage or condensation, plumbing leaks, sewer overflow/backup, or leaking appliances and other equipment
- Repair or replacement of main water line including who did the work and when it was done
- Wetlands located on the property and attempts to mitigate wetlands issues through the Army Corps of Engineers
- Location in a floodplain
- Standing water or flooding in any part of the property
Hazardous materials or conditions
Sellers in Utah are required to report any hazardous materials or conditions that can impact the health and safety of individuals living in the home. The disclosure form asks the seller to disclose the presence of:
- Lead-based paint
- Methane gas
- Radioactive or toxic materials
- Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation
- Buried storage tanks and lines
- Contamination from the use, storage, or manufacture of methamphetamines
Some buyers may not be interested in abiding by the rules of a condominium or homeowner’s association (HOA) or paying their fees. You’ll have to disclose whether your property is governed by such an organization as well as the following:
- Payment amount and frequency
- Included utilities and/or services
- Dues or assessments for maintenance of common grounds
- Change of ownership fees
- HOA contact information
- HOA involvement in litigation
You can’t expect buyers to pay debts you owe, so you’re required to disclose HOA, municipal, special improvement district, public infrastructure district (PID), and other assessments that are unpaid, pending approval, or have not yet been billed.
Just because you filed an insurance claim years ago when a small fire damaged your kitchen doesn’t mean that you can withhold this information. Sellers in Utah must disclose insurance claims for loss or damage to the home as well as claims filed by the HOA.
Energy efficiency, solar panels, and alternate power systems
Buyers will be thrilled to learn about energy-saving improvements that reduce utility bills, so be sure to state if you’ve added insulation, sealed air leaks, and installed efficient lighting, windows, or heating and cooling systems.
If you’ve decided to go green by installing solar panels or your home has other sources of power, you’ll need to disclose details such as:
- Type of power system such as solar, wind, or generator
- Problems with these systems and/or components
- Is equipment owned, leased, financed, or subject to a power purchase agreement
- Contact information for solar company or alternate power system provider
What disclosure exceptions are allowed in Utah?
Utah doesn’t allow any disclosure exemptions, so you are still required to complete the seller disclosure form even though you may have inherited the property and never lived there.
If you are aware of anything about the property’s condition that could affect a buyer’s decision to purchase the home, you should do your best to fill out the disclosure statement. Although you may live in another city, you might have talked to the homeowner about various problems or noticed issues during a visit. For questions that you can’t answer, just write that you don’t know.
Although it’s very unlikely, if you haven’t lived in the home and know nothing about its condition, you can amend the REPC and remove section 7(a) requiring a seller’s disclosure. Expect the buyer to conduct a comprehensive inspection in this case.
To review Utah’s disclosure rules and documents, visit the Utah Association of Realtors website.
Q&A: More expert tips about disclosures in Utah
What can I leave out of my Utah seller’s disclosure?
Although Utah requires sellers to disclose anything they know about the property, there are a few exceptions such as a death in the house. Carson recalls a buyer who was under contract and found out about a gruesome murder in the house from talking with neighbors. The buyer didn’t back out, but remodeled the house which lightened the neighborhood’s feelings about the property.
With so much information at your fingertips by doing a Google search on the internet, buyers might ask about details that you do not have to disclose. Then it’s best to either be candid or state that you prefer not to answer.
Utah does not require the following disclosures about your home:
- Location or suspected site of a homicide, suicide, or felony
- Occupant had HIV or other infectious disease that the Utah Department of Health says cannot be transferred by living in the residence
- Decontaminated methamphetamine lab
What if I accidentally leave something out of my disclosure?
You may not remember everything that happened which could affect your home’s condition, so don’t fret if you forget something that occurred years ago.
“There might be a water stain that the inspector discovers and then it rocks the seller’s brain. ‘Oh yeah, the refrigerator line leaked and I forgot about that,’” says Carson. As long as it’s explainable, you can add an addendum to the seller’s disclosure about the issue that had been left out of the original form.
What if something breaks or is discovered after the disclosure?
Since your home has to be turned over to the buyer in the same condition it was in when the purchase contract was written, you will have to repair appliances that stop working or anything that breaks after completing the disclosure form unless the buyer is willing to accept a credit.
Are you ready to sell or buy a home in Utah?
Whether you’re looking to sell or buy a home in Utah, the seller’s disclosure document is critical to the sales process.
If you’re selling a home in Utah, it’s vital to disclose any defect or issue that you are aware of so buyers have every fact when deciding whether to move forward with the transaction. Transparency is essential for a smooth sale and to avoid legal and financial repercussions, so you’ll want to fully understand and address items that must be disclosed.
Evaluating a property’s condition, flaws and all, will help buyers make a purchase decision they are not likely to regret. But since sellers may not know each problem their home has, the buyer’s due diligence should include a professional home inspection to reveal issues not mentioned in the disclosure form.
When you’re ready to make your move, HomeLight’s Agent Match platform can connect you with top-performing agents in Utah 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 an accomplished real estate professional in your corner.
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