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Do I have to fill out a seller property disclosure, if I've never lived there?

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

Is a seller who has never lived in a property (e.g. a rental or flip property) required to fill out a seller property disclosure?

And the answer is…


Recently, there have been some questions about this. There are only a few instances that excuse a seller from the seller property disclosure obligation. Here they are:

a. A transfer made pursuant to a court order, including but not limited to a transfer under chapter 633 or 633A, the execution of a judgment, the foreclosure of a real estate mortgage pursuant to chapter 654, the forfeiture of a real estate contract under chapter 656, a transfer by a trustee in bankruptcy, a transfer by eminent domain, or a transfer resulting from a decree for specific performance.

b. A transfer to a mortgagee by a mortgagor or successor in interest who is in default, a transfer by a mortgagee who has acquired real property as a result of a deed in lieu of foreclosure or has acquired real property under chapter 654 or 655A, or a transfer back to a mortgagor exercising a right of first refusal pursuant to section 654.16A.

c. A transfer by a fiduciary in the course of the administration of a decedent’s estate, guardianship, conservatorship, or trust.

d. A transfer between joint tenants or tenants in common.

e. A transfer made to a spouse, or to a person within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity of a person making the transfer.

f. A transfer between spouses resulting from a decree of dissolution of marriage, a decree of legal separation, or a property settlement agreement which is incidental to the decree, including a decree ordered pursuant to chapter 598.

g. A transfer to or from the state, a political subdivision of the state, another state, or the United States.

h. A transfer by quitclaim deed.

i. A transfer by a power of attorney

(Iowa Code 558a)

The disclosure asks for “any known problems”. It doesn’t say “while you lived in the home”. There are many questions that a seller would have knowledge of, even if they had never lived in the property. And, remember, “unknown” is also an acceptable answer.

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