Question: I am selling my condo. Am I legally required to disclose that my home sits under the flight path of a moderately busy airport? – Louis
A: A 1985 Florida case set the precedent when it comes to home sales and “caveat emptor” (Let the buyer beware).
Based on the outcome of Johnson v. Davis, I advise sellers to disclose everything not readily seen that can affect the value of the property. You could face a lawsuit if you fail to disclose something important to your buyer. If there is any doubt about whether to disclose, you should do so.
Most real estate agents will have a seller fill out a detailed disclosure form to give the buyer. Make sure you fill out the form completely and accurately. Material defects, such as roof leaks or sinkholes, are obvious to disclose, but some issues and reviews, such as airplane noise, can be more subjective.
It’s really a judgment call and depends on how much noise the planes make. If your windows are routinely rattled at 5 a.m. — when a typical buyer would not be likely to discover it — then definitely disclose. If the planes are flying over every 15 minutes during normal business hours when people are viewing the house, it’s not as important to disclose.
Every situation is unique, and adding another sentence to the seller’s written disclosure form is free and easy, so I recommend disclosing every possible defect to avoid problems later. Because you think the noise is enough of an issue for you to be concerned, you might want to let the buyer know.