Buy Alexandria Real Estate: It's Material! Disclosure in Virginia Real Estate

Alexandria Virginia Real Estate Blog

It's Material! Disclosure in Virginia Real Estate

BeerSo, Thursday evening, I was relaxing on the sidewalk patio in Shirlington at the Capitol City Brewery (a local watering hole) with a few fellow REALTORS. One of my friends asked the waiter whether it was still Happy Hour, to which he replied, "No, sorry.  Happy Hour ended at 7 p.m.  It's now 7:45." 

Okay. No harm.  Cathy orders a pomegranate margarita, Nancy gets a glass of wine, I order a beer.  At the end of the evening we get the bill.  Cathy's margarita's were $10 a pop, the wine $6.50... my beers... 2 bucks.  Wait a second, mister, I thought it wasn't happy hour.  Yes, that's what we all were thinking and Cathy was a bit upset at having ordered her drinks when she could have had the beers for $2. 

When our server came back we questioned him. 

"We thought you said it wasn't happy hour.  What's with the $2 beers?"

"No, it's not happy hour, but we have $2 beer special all night on Thursday."

"Well you didn't tell us that!"

"You didn't ask."



Being REALTORS, we discussed this among ourselves and compared it to real estate.  We all felt that he should have properly disclosed that there was a $2 beer special upfront when we were ordering.

All of this begs the question:

When is Something a Material Fact that a Real Estate Agent Must Disclose in a Virginia Real Estate Transaction?

First, as regards to what a seller must disclose in a transaction, read the following:

Mighty Paragaph 7 of the Sales Contract  and   Are You Buying an "As Is" Home? Buyer Be Very Aware!

Virginia has the Virginia Residential Property Disclosure Act which imposes property disclosure obligations on sellers and real estate licensees.  In addition, under agency duties, a real estate agent must disclose material facts about the property and/or the transaction.

According to Virginia law, real estate agents must disclose all known material facts related to the property or concerning the transaction of which the agent has actual knowledge.

Agents representing sellers must disclose to prospective buyers all material adverse facts pertaining to the physical condition of the property which are actually known by the agent.  This refers to the physical condition of the land and any improvements on the land and does not refer to:

  • matters outside the boundaries of the land or relating to adjacent properties
  • matters relating to governmental land use regulations
  • matters relating to highways or public streets

Here's a partial list of material facts that an agent must disclose if they are aware of these conditions:

  • inaccurate representation of lot or improvement size
  • pest infestations
  • toxic mold
  • problems with structural items
  • encroachments or easements affecting use
  • adverse land and soil conditions
  • problems with conditions of appliances
  • potentially uninsurable property
  • problems with condition of electrical or plumbing systems
  • existense of environmental hazards

Notice above that the material facts disclosures relate to the physical condition of the property.  One thing that is specifically exempt from disclosure in Virginia is what's called a "Stigmatized Property"  This is a property in which an event or condition occurred such as murder, suicide, or even haunting by ghosts, but it does not affect the physical nature of the property.  In Virginia, there is no requirement to inspect for, investigate, disclose, or otherwise verify whether a property is stigmatized.

I have now disclosed what needs to be disclosed and have also disclosed that beers are $2 every Thursday at Capitol City Brewery in Shirlington!



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Comment balloon 12 commentsBrian Block • June 15 2010 11:59AM


American Flag  Good post; do you find most clients understand the disclosure notice or do you have to elaborate on its function?

Posted by Teral McDowell (Referral Patners LLC) about 8 years ago

Brian, sorry I missed you at RainCamp in D.C.  I did catch your panel interview though.  Cell service wasn't very good in there and I was not getting your messages.

Great blog on disclosure.  I think many agents have never read our dislosure (really a disclaimer if you ask me) and think that the seller is required to disclose any material facts when in fact they are not allowed to conceal them.  Big difference that Buyer's Agent's often confuse.

Posted by Damon Gettier, Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE (Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert) about 8 years ago

Great recap of what needs to be disclosed.  There is always a fine line about the first set of disclosures and that's where a buyer's agent is worth their weight in gold. 

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) about 8 years ago

Brian...  I think it's a great topic, but maybe the bar example is not the best..  especially coming from one that goes to one semi often.. lol  A beer might be $5.00 then?. if they didn't have any specials.  Many should know, if you like margaritas and have had them before, that they can be expensive.. especially if she is drinking the gold margarita.  lol  Seriously though, he should have had said we have beer specials.. but I also ask and get upset when borrowers don't ask the basic questions. I use to get mad when a borrower, after running into a previous isue with another lender, would say... "well, he never told me my monthly payment"..  sorry, but that borrower should be at more fault for not asking such a basic question. Why would anyone sign mortgage documents, not knowing what the payment is...

Overall... I do understand what you are saying though, and again, this is a good topic.  Still worthy of a feature, because we do need to disclose and disclose properly.  I had plans on writing something tonight in regards to this, but a twist, when it comes to misleading disclosures, such as mortgage payments. I have seen some loan officers cut the property taxes a 1/4% or lower the homeowner's insurance some, just to make their payment look much lower.  Overall, good post.

jeff belonger

Posted by Jeff Belonger, The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) about 8 years ago

Brian, I love Capital City Brewing!  And it's nice to know about the $2 beer on Thursdays.  They're always having some kind of special on something!

And we should get CE credits for reading this post!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 8 years ago

Good analogy!  I love $2 beers.

Posted by Richard Strahm, Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate (RE/MAX Realty Group - Lansdale, PA) about 8 years ago

Brian, I could go on about the great blog on disclosure, but what I am really impressed with is the way you worked beer into the story. Anybody that can work beer into the situation and ad a photo of a bucket of ice cold are the master and I am the student....

Posted by Gerry Michaels, GettysburgGerry Social Meida (Glasswork Media Arts) about 8 years ago

Brian I like the way you tied in the $2 beer episode with material disclosure.  These are also disclosure that must be made in NY.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) about 8 years ago

Brian I like the way you tied in the $2 beer episode with material disclosure.  These are also disclosure that must be made in NY.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) about 8 years ago

Not being an attorney, I must say "this is not a legal opinion"... I didn't see anything in your post that made me pause so Maryland law probably is "about" the same regarding disclosures.

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) about 8 years ago

Brian, yet another great post from you. Unpermitted basements are a huge issue. Anything related to health & safety needs to be disclosed!!!

Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) about 8 years ago

I think many establishments work like that - we just need to make sure our sellers don't!

Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) about 8 years ago