As noted elsewhere, Virginia is a Buyer Beware (caveat emptor) state, but even in Virginia, certain things must be disclosed in the contract.
This section is divided into two broad categories. The first is “has to be disclosed” and the second “doesn’t have to be disclosed”.
Has to be Disclosed
- If the property is located in a development with a Property Owner’s Association (homeowner’s association), this must be disclosed to the Purchaser in the contract and the seller must obtain from the homeowner’s association an “association disclosure packet” or re-sale packet. The packet tells the Purchaser about the condition of the homeowner’ s association, whether the property being sold is in compliance with their rules and regulations, pending lawsuits against the association and a myriad of other items the legislature has deemed relevant to the purchaser of a home. Generally speaking, the purchaser has 3 days from receipt of the disclosure package to cancel the contract if he is unhappy with it’s contents. The exact terms of how this operates will be spelled out in the contract. PLEASE NOTE that if the purchaser goes to settlement without ever receiving the disclosure package, he waives his rights against the seller for non-disclosure.
- If the property is located in a condominium similar rules require the disclosure of the existence and condition of the condominium and whether the unit being purchased is in compliance with same. Again, this specifics of this will be spelled out in the contract.
Doesn’t Have to be Disclosed
The Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act essentially tells the Buyer all of the things which the Seller does not have to disclose. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- The condition of the property
- Any matter relating to the condition of adjacent parcels (zoning, permitted uses, )
- Historic District Ordinances: For example, in Old Town Alexandria your not permitted to make changes to your property without approval of the Board of Architectural Review (BAR) which will determine if the changes you wish to make are “appropriate” to the character of historic Old Town.
- Whether the property is subject to any Resource Protection Areas as mandated by the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act.
- Whether any registered sexual offenders live in the neighborhood.
The list goes on. The purchaser will be provided a Residential Property Disclosure Statement outlining everything that the seller is not required to disclose.