Seller Disclosures in Real Estate
In today’s litigious society disclosures take an important role in the sale of your home. Many home sales do not end up with home sweet home for the buyer and freedom to move on for the seller. Instead the sale ends up in court due to disclosure issues. In many cases such litigation can be prevented if disclosures are taken seriously.
Each state requires a certain set of forms to be completed by the seller. The federal government also has mandated forms. Too often sellers barely glance at these forms before checking no to every application. Seller disclosures will vary from state to state, but essentially if there is a problem with the home, it needs to be disclosed. Selling the home “As Is” does not relieve the seller from liability regarding problems with the home.
Key disclosures to Understand
Repairs that Were Made to the Home
Even if the repair has been made and the problem corrected the seller should disclose any repairs that have been completed during ownership. This could include the new roof due to hail damage, plumbing or electrical issues, foundation issues, and any other pertinent repairs. If the problem has been resolved list the repair and the approximate date the repairs were made. Ongoing problems like a yard that floods in a certain spot or plumbing problems due to tree roots need to be disclosed as well.
A termite inspection is generally requested by the buyer. If there was a termite problem and the issue has been resolved that information needs to be disclosed. The seller may have an annual contract with a termite company. Providing that information to the buyer will give them the necessary information to continue the maintenance. A termite inspection will also let the buyer know the current condition of the home.
Lead Based Paint
Older homes may have issues with lead based paints and that may need to be disclosed. If the paint is not cracked or peeling it is not a problem that needs to be fixed. As homes are upgraded, often walls are painted over without the original paint being removed. This creates millions of older homes that still have lead based paint in the home. Homes built before 1978 are most likely to have lead based paint used in the original painting of the home. The proper form must be filled out and disclosed to buyer.
Mold or Mildew
Mold and mildew can create a problem for new owners if they have allergies. It can also be toxic when inhaled. Many homes have small spots of mold or mildew in the bathroom or kitchens where water is common. Proper ventilation can prevent the growth of mold as well as continual and thorough cleaning. If the home has a problem with mold or mildew in certain areas of the home it needs to be disclosed upfront. It could be a sign of a bigger mold problem if it continues to return in the same place even after a deep cleaning.
While each state has its own set of rules and regulations regarding disclosures, be prepared to be honest about the home, its past and its current condition. Anything that would be considered “material facts” that are not disclosed can lead to an unfriendly lawsuit with the new buyers.
At Realtyweb.com we know what it takes to get the job done. Our purpose is to provide complete representation and protection for our clients. We do more that we need to in order to protect you from future liabilities arising out of your real estate transaction. To learn more about Rob Roham and Realtyweb, visit https://www.realtyweb.com/admin/page/showPage/about-us?t=1404887805.