Real estate disclosures come with many questions for both buyers and sellers. When it comes to real estate disclosure, our rule of thumb is simple: prioritize openness and honesty. In our latest post, we will talk about what you need to tell the law. Being an open and honest seller will not only help you avoid getting sued, but it will also make people trust you and think highly of you. If you hide problems with the house like defects or repairs that need to be done, it will only cause trouble for you later on. This trouble could be in the form of a lawsuit or maybe just bad luck if you believe in that sort of thing. So, it’s best to be upfront about everything when selling a house.
Most real estate lawsuits occur because of non-disclosure.
How much do you need to legally tell? Essentially, anything that can influence the property’s worth. Here are just a few of the things you should address:
- Land issues like drainage, poor soil, and flood risks can limit building and cause water damage.
- Disclose foundation level, existing cracks, and the potential for structural damage if the house settles further.
- Highlight plumbing problems, sewer issues, and leaky pipes, as they can result in expensive water damage repairs.
- Address any irregularities with heating and cooling systems.
- Inform potential buyers about pest problems like cockroaches, rats, ants, termites, or moles.
- Disclose a leaky roof or missing shingles to buyers before they discover it during a rainstorm.
- Be transparent about the presence of lead paint, a common disclosure in home sales and rentals.
- Specify upfront any issues that could affect the property’s title or rightful ownership.
- Keep documentation of past repairs and insurance claims, including details about the work done and materials used.
Moreover, certain states may impose stricter regulations on disclosing detailed information about areas prone to hazards such as flooding, earthquakes, and other environmental elements that impact the property. Furthermore, in some states, it is mandatory to make potential buyers aware of any instances of violent crimes that have occurred within the premises. Although not all states have this requirement, it is generally advisable to consider it as a general guideline. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and think about the kind of information you would like to have when purchasing a home for yourself.
Real Estate Disclosures help a buyer learn as much as possible about a house before making their purchase.
Are you selling a wonderful house? If you keep a small repair issue to yourself, it can turn into a much bigger problem over time. It’s common for unexpected issues to arise during the inspection that the seller wasn’t prepared for. Just imagine, your desired selling price getting reduced because of a defect that you were unaware of. Your house is like a complex machine with many different parts. Many sellers choose to have their home inspected before selling it. This allows them to address any necessary repairs beforehand, which reduces the potential for buyers to negotiate a lower price. Moreover, getting an inspection demonstrates your good intentions in selling the property. By doing so, you’re showing everyone that you want your home to be in the best possible condition before it changes hands.
Real estate disclosure rules differ from one state to another. To ensure you comply with the specific requirements of your state, reach out to your agent, attorney, or broker who will provide you with a checklist. Take the time to thoroughly review the entire list and make sure to include as many detailed notes as you can. It is important to include the dates of any upgrades or repairs made to the property. When filling out the disclosure form, be sure to be honest and provide complete information. If you have any inquiries or concerns, it is recommended to consult with a lawyer instead of relying solely on your agent. Your agent may avoid answering certain questions as they may fall outside their area of expertise and they want to limit their own legal responsibility.
Keep in mind that IF YOU’RE NOT HONEST, you could face a lawsuit.
If you’re found responsible, you’ll have to pay for repairs, legal expenses, and potential fines. In some cases, the property sale may be canceled. Seek guidance from a trusted professional for real estate disclosures.