If someone is interested in selling real estate, they are obligated to let buyers know about potential problems that may affect the value of property, and most states have made it illegal to attempt to cover up major issues. To ensure that a seller has legal protection, it is a good idea to put potential flaws in writing, even if it is not a state requirement.
For the most part, people are only required to make buyers aware of problems the seller is aware of, but there are some instances where it is required that a property inspection is completed to find particular problems. It is not always in the best interest of the seller to have one done if it is not a legal obligation because the seller may become aware of new issues which they then must advise buyers about.
However, if an issue is identified, sellers do not have to resolve the problem, only make note of it. In some cases, written documents of potential flaws are legally required, but even if they are not, putting them in writing and getting a signature from all parties involved can help avoid situations where it is claimed that a buyer was never informed of issues with the property.
Buying and selling real estate as well as developing it can be complex due to tax implications and zoning laws. Understanding and following legal regulations can prevent costly delays in projects and transactions. A real estate lawyer can help clients ensure that they understand what is required of them as well as assisting them with negotiations related to buying and selling properties.
Source: FindLaw, "Required Real Estate Disclosures When Selling Property", accessed on March 3, 2015