I want to talk to you today about the seller’s disclosure. First and foremost, do not be afraid of the seller’s disclosure. State and federal laws are strict in requiring sellers to disclose what they know about the condition of their homes, but this isn’t obvious or discernable to a potential buyer.
Buyers are unable to see behind walls or under houses, so they rely on truthful information from the seller about the operations, appliances, and systems of the home. When you sell a home, your real estate agent is going to present you with the federal and state mandated disclosure called a real estate disclosure statement.
You are required to disclose the presence of things like lead paint, radon, asbestos, and other toxic products if you know your home has them. While the forms may ask you to disclose whether or not you know there are lead paint and radon present, you are not required to do tests to determine the presence of toxic chemicals. However, your buyer’s lender could always require proof of tests and/or remediation for any problem that has been disclosed, such as fire or water damage.
It’s important to answer every question as truthfully as you can. You must answer the questions yourself because your real estate agent, as a professional, can’t fill out the disclosure for you. However, they can help you understand what is being asked of you. If you’re in doubt about what you should disclose, it’s best to err on the side of too much information rather than not enough.
While disclosure forms do allow you to answer “I don’t know” or write “N/A” to a question, you should only do so if you’re unsure about the condition of that item. If you answer that you don’t know the condition of an appliance that you use daily, such as a sink or bathtub, that might actually raise some suspicions in the eyes of the buyer.
The best way to feel confident about the condition of your home is to have it inspected by a licensed, professional home inspector. Your real estate professional will be able to recommend someone to you. For a few hundred dollars and a few hours of your time, you’ll either find that your home is market-ready or the inspector will bring a problem to your attention that you can fix.
If you have any questions about this or buying or selling, please feel free to call or email. I look forward to speaking with you soon.