Recently, the Wisconsin Realtors Association (WRA) called upon the Wisconsin state legislature to update and improve seller disclosure reports. During the 2017-18 legislative session, the state successfully passed disclosure requirement improvements. Most notably, after July 1, 2018, a new version of the Real Estate Condition Report (RECR) is available.
Previously, the WRA provided a two-page RECR and a three-page supplemental RECR with explanatory information. The supplemental information can now be found in statute and the WRA created a single updated RECR.
A seller’s disclosure obligations in general can be tricky to understand so we recently posted some helpful tips here. This article focuses on how WRA’s disclosure form itself changed.
How Has the Form Changed?
Individuals required to, and exempt from, providing a RECR has not changed. Likewise, the focus and topics of the questions remain largely the same. The WRA’s changes simply create a more streamlined and user friendly RECR. For example, the new form includes checkboxes instead of lines.
Most notably, the revised form now asks sellers questions instead of requiring sellers to respond to statements. In the past, sellers responded to statements such as, “I am aware of…” but now the form asks, “Are you aware of…” This change allows sellers to answer a question instead of creating a statement.
Next, the questions were restructured into categories, so each section contains similar questions about components of the house. And, after each section there is now space to provide explanations for “yes” responses. Previous forms contained only one area for “yes” explanations on the entire form.
Also, the form provides examples of types of defects after each question. The examples serve to help sellers better understand what they need to disclose.
The updated form includes a few new disclosure questions. Sellers are asked whether they have any rented items in their home, knowledge of water quality issues due to lead, insurance claims for property damage in the last 5 years, and how many years the seller has owned the property.
There are also new land use questions regarding conservation easements, restrictive covenants, or other deed restrictions on the property.
Lastly, the legislature chose to include disclosure about knowledge of any drug production at the property or burial sites on the property.
Buying and selling real estate and understanding legal disclosure obligations can be confusing. Especially, due to the Wisconsin legislature’s recent changes to disclosure requirements.
Murdock Law has helped many sellers understand their disclosure obligations, call us toll free at 844-744-7529 if you have any questions.