When preparing to sell a home in the state of South Carolina, it’s important to know when preparing your property for market, South Carolina State Law, as well as applicable Federal Law, requires the disclosure of property defects.

Disclosing any known property defects reduces your potential liability and comforts a prospective buyer that there won’t be any “surprises” during the purchase process.

Residential Property Condition Disclosure Form

As mentioned above, South Carolina Code § 27-50-40 requires that a home seller “shall furnish to a purchaser a written disclosure statement.” The most common form of disclosure of property defects is the use of the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Form, which your real estate professional should provide for completion when entering into a listing agreement.

  • Your real estate professional CANNOT complete this form on your behalf but can answer questions about the document so that you can provide an accurate representation of your property’s condition. 
  • Code requires that you disclose active or current issues that you’re aware of at the time of completing the form. 

Each section must be answered with “yes,” indicating a known problem, “no,” indicating no known problem, or “no representation,” indicating that you do not know enough about the property to answer the question accurately. 

This is most commonly used in estate or foreclosure properties in which the seller may have never lived in the home during the duration of their ownership.

For example, if you discovered a plumbing leak under your home during your ownership, but the leak was repaired and is no longer active, you are not required to disclose that there was a leak, although disclosure and explanation of how the issue was resolved is often best practice.

  • The South Carolina Code § 27-50-80 “…does not limit the obligation of the purchaser to inspect the physical condition of the property and improvements that are the subject of a contract covered by this article.” 

While you are expected to complete a disclosure honestly & thoroughly, it does not relinquish a prospective home buyer’s responsibility to have the property inspected, at their cost, during the purchase process.

If an inspection discovers an issue, a seller is legally obligated to update the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Form to reflect the findings or repair the issue before re-listing the home on the market.

The Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (1992)

South Carolina properties that were constructed prior to 1978 are required by Federal Law to disclose knowledge of the presence of any lead-based paint in the home. The presence of lead-based paint is potentially harmful to occupants.

  • The Lead Warning Statement helps confirm that the seller has completed all the notification requirements. 
  • In the event a seller is unaware of the presence of lead-based paint, purchasers are given a 10-day period to perform a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint or any related hazards during the purchase process.

What If I Don’t Disclose Issues I’m Aware Of? 

South Carolina Code § 27-50-65 claims that “an owner who knowingly violates or… discloses any material information on the disclosure statement that he knows to be false, incomplete, or misleading is liable for actual damages proximately caused to the purchaser and court costs. The court may award reasonable attorney fees incurred by the prevailing party.”

While not disclosing a known problem may seem like a way to avoid a costly repair, sellers expose themselves to a litany of potential legal problems—many of which could cost more than the repair.

Trust The Lafayette Team to Sell Your Home

When you work with The Lafayette Team to sell your home, be sure to discuss any current or potential issues with us up front. Together, we can formulate a strategy to help you avoid liability and best address the problem. We believe honesty is always the best policy.