The good news is that many real estate brokers now include a deatiled "seller's disclosure form" with the offer to purchase, with a contract stipulation that it must be completed by the seller. The disclosure does ask the kind of questions that you have concerns about.
However, it would be up to you, as the buyer, to insist that the seller disclosure is answered completely, and subject to your acceptance, as well as making the purchase contract subject to your acceptance of a thourough inspection. Answering the seller disclosure untruthfully is fraud, for which there are laws that protect you. You should walk away from any deal where the seller will not complete the disclosure, unless you are satisfied with the "as-is" condition of the property.
Frequently when problems are identified by a disclosure or inspection, repairs can be arranged for by the seller, so the defects are corrected to your satisfaction. This allows the sale to proceed.
You should certainly discuss your concerns with the agent you are working with before you make an offer to purchase.
Alabama is one of a handful of states that still operates under "caveat emptor" which means buyer beware.
Get a home inspection! This is great advice for both buyers and sellers.
Sellers; you can get a home inspection done before you place your home on the market and address what needs to be fixed. As a seller, your agent can share this with prospective buyers to show what was found and what was fixed.
Buyers, you get a home inspection too! Even if the sellers have had a preinspection. I would recommend getting another one. This just keeps the companies honest and you never know what could have been missed on accident during the first inspection. Also, you can make the contract contingent upon the home inspection. By doing this you have an escape clause in case the inspection comes back a little shady.
You can reach David Shell at Sun Capital, Inc or email at MyLender@live.com 205-473-9413