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When buying a home, if there has been flooding that results in damage and it has not been fixed, must that be disclosed to the buyer? Does this need to be disclosed if 1. The buyer does not ask about flooding. 2. the Buyer does ask about flooding?

Disclosure rules vary from state to state, but most require the seller to disclose any problems he knows about. However, the rules on disclosure vary according to whether the seller is an individual or a bank, and whether they are represented by an agent or not. Rules on disclosure are not as strict for bank-owned properties and FSBO's.

If you received a "Transfer Disclosure Statement" from the seller, then you probably live in a state that requires disclosure. Go back through your documents and see if you have such a form. Whether the buyer asks about flooding should be immaterial - if a seller knows about a problem, they should disclose it.

If the real estate agent representing the Buyer knows of a flooding problem, must they disclose this information to the buyer? Is it unethical if they do not?

Real estate agents are not going to be as familiar with a property as the seller. If you received a Transfer Disclosure Statement and either the listing agent or the selling agent knew of a problem not listed by the seller, they should have added it to the form. It is generally required that they do so. However, they may not have known - and they cannot disclose problems they don't know about or that were concealed by the seller.

In addition, there are several safeguards that should help you determine if there was water damage or not - termite inspections often point out areas of wood rot caused by water damage - almost all Realtors recommend that a buyer order his own professional home inspection by a professional - and if there was roof damage, an appraiser sometimes can point that out in the appraisal - though it is not their job to perform a full inspection.

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