Soil Settling Problem Should Be Disclosed

Question: In the past three years there have been several two-story homes in our Ahwatukee subdivision that have experienced ‘soil settling’ problems. These soil settling problems include cracking of walls and the inability to close doors and windows. We own a one-story home and have never had a soil settling problem. Furthermore, we are unaware of any one-story home in our Ahwatukee subdivision that has experienced a soil settling problem. We now want to sell our one-story Ahwatukee home. Do we have to disclose to potential buyers the soil settling problems of the two-story homes in our subdivision?

Answer: Yes. A seller of a home must disclose any material and adverse fact about the home and the surrounding area that a reasonable buyer would want to know. Although currently only two-story homes are experiencing soil settlement problems, one-story homes could experience soil settlement problems in the future. The Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement, lines 195 through 198, requires disclosure of any soil settlement of a home ‘in close proximity’ to your home, whether one-story or not. Therefore, you should disclose the soil settlement problems in your Ahwatukee subdivision to prospective buyers of your home.

Note: As I always say in response to questions about seller disclosure, if the problem is material, it must be disclosed.

If it is not material, why not disclose it? In other words, if you were buying a one-story home in the community, would you as the buyer want to know about soil settling problems of other homes in the community, even if the problems were only with two-story homes?

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