Utah Home Buying/Selling Process

Goals

To understand the specifics around the home buying/selling process in Utah, especially any quirks or unusual processes that need to be followed that would generally be considered to be unique to the state.

Early Findings

  • The initial round of research indicates there is a wealth of information available on this topic.

Statutory Disclosures by Sellers

  • "The only disclosure explicitly required by Utah's statutory law is that sellers tell prospective buyers whether there has been contamination due to “use, storage, or manufacture of methamphetamines” in the home. (See Utah Code. Annot. § 57-27-201.)" However, this does not have to be disclosed if the methamphetamine lab was decontaminated.
  • The Utah Supreme Court also ruled that "property sellers must disclose known material defects that could not have been discovered by a reasonable inspection by an ordinary prudent buyer." This form is used by the Utah Association of Realtors for disclosure purposes.

Non-Statutory Disclosures by Sellers

  • Real estate agents generally recommend sellers fill out standard disclosures to reduce the chance of being sued later. These typically include items such as "any zoning or legal violations on the property, legal actions affecting the property, location within a greenbelt, damage to the roof, past-due utility payments, problems with culinary water, damaged sewer or septic tanks, damaged heating and cooling devices, damaged equipment, damaged features, damaged appliances, damaged fireplace or stove, termite damage, rot, mold, remodeling that affected a significant portion of the home, structural defects, boundary disputes, easements, electrical defects, water damage, hazards, toxins, location within the governance of a homeowners' association (HOA), past-due assessments to the HOA, and any property damage claims reported to an insurance agency."

Utah Administrative Code

  • Rule R23-22 of the Utah Adminisrative Code is titled General Procedures for Acquisition and Selling of Real Property, and outlines the requirements.

State Laws Around Real Estate

  • Real Estate Homes Utah lists five laws that could be applicable in a real estate transaction. They are the Marketable Record Title Act ("allows property owners to clear title defects which are older than 40 years"); the Utah Exemption Act ("to protect a portion of the home owner’s equity in the event of a forced foreclosure or bankruptcy"); the Utah Mechanic's Liens ("anyone who has integrated labor or materials into real property may institute a claim if they have not been compensated for their work:); the Utah Uniform Land Sales Practices Act ("specifies that all subdivision projects must either register with the Utah Real Estate Division or be exempt"); and the Utah Water Law ("water rights are considered real property and transfer by deed unless specified otherwise within the deed instrument").

Paperwork Required

  • To sell a house in Utah the following paperwork is required: 2 forms of ID, a copy of the purchase agreement with any addendums, closing statement, signed deed, bill of sale, and affidavit of title.
  • Other paperwork may be required depending on the situation. These could include loan payoff information, HOA forms and guidelines, survey results and/or affidavits, home inspection results, proof of repairs/renovations, home warranty information, copies of wills/trusts/power of attorney letters for inherited property, other affidavits, closing disclosure, and a correction statement and agreement.
  • The specific disclosure paperwork includes a seller's property condition closure, a flood zone statement, a lead-based paint disclosure, and a buyer due diligence checklist.

Comparison to Other States

  • According to Sold.com, the only form required for Utah real estate sales that is not standard in other states is the methamphetamine disclosure mentioned under Statutory Disclosures above.
  • This post lays out the home buying process in Utah and specifically states that "Utah’s escrow process is similar to other states where an escrow agent, closing agent, or representative from a title company is used to complete the transaction."

Summary of Findings

  • In our initial research we found information on both statutory and non-statutory disclosure requirements in Utah, the administrative code that concerns the sale of property, five state laws that could come into play in a property sale, the paperwork required to complete a sale, and a brief comparison of Utah to other states.
  • It is possible other details on the sales process would be found in the Utah Administrative Code, but we did not have time to thoroughly read it in our initial research.
  • Initial research appears to show that the process in Utah is similar to other states, with the addition of the methamphetamine disclosure.
  • As we were able to provide information to completely answer the question in our initial research, the research paths proposed below are designed to provide information that may help with the development of the real estate tool mentioned.

Research proposal:

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