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Tips on Disclosures for Homebuyers & Sellers
August 16, 2017 | Jason DeLong
What exactly is included in a seller disclosure? How do those disclosures benefit both homebuyers and sellers?
What exactly has to be in a disclosure when selling your home?
Sellers are legally obligated to disclose any material defects in the home to potential buyers. How far does that obligation go?
On the one hand, sellers may want to minimize the number of defects they have to disclose. On the other hand, buyers want to know exactly what they are getting into so they can estimate potential repair costs and negotiate for those in the purchase price.
Whether you are buying or selling a home, it’s a good idea to understand disclosures in real estate.
Disclosures vary from state to state, county to county, and even city to city. However, the general rule is that sellers are only required to disclose the defects they have prior personal knowledge of.
In other words, you do not have to go out and hire an inspector to point out issues that you didn’t know about prior to putting your home on the market.
Some typical disclosure items include:
Water damage and mold
Leaks in the roof
Cracks in the foundation or concrete
Plumbing or electrical problems
Sellers should also alert buyers to any environmental issues such as earthquake fault lines, flood zones, or frequent wildfires.
Finally, make sure to pay attention to the lead-based paint disclosure. If your house was built before 1978, you have to let the buyer know that there could be lead-based paint in the house. The buyer then has the right to get that assessed by a professional or waive the assessment.
When in doubt, disclose, disclose, disclose. If you are questioning whether or not to disclose something, definitely write it in. You will alleviate future legal claims and make buyers feel more confident about writing an offer on your home, which could get you a better value.
If you have any other questions about disclosures or about selling your home, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!