What to Disclose as a Home Seller

by Feb 6, 2017

When you are a home seller, you want to make your home look extremely appealing to potential buyers. That can make it difficult to disclose any problem areas that your house has or had in the past.

While it can be tempting for a home seller to skip over doing this, you are required to disclose everything you know. The ramifications of trying to hide information will only hurt your sale in the end.

Here is what to know as a home seller:

Federal Disclosures

You are required by federal law to disclose if your home has any lead paint. If you home was built after 1978 you should be ok on this potential issue. However, if your house was built before 1978 it could contain lead paint.

State Disclosures

The rules about what sellers are required to disclose and in what format differs from state to state. Typically, the things that need to be disclosed are if there were any major problems in the house. However, some areas require sellers to disclose if the house has been through a natural disaster, or if there was a crime committed in the house or if someone died there.

List of Items that Should be Disclosed

Trying to hide things that should be disclosed from the buyer can land a home seller in a heap of trouble. You could become legally responsible for correcting a problem, or you could lose the trust of the buyer. If this happens you risk losing the sale altogether.

  • Water Damage and Mold – If you know that your house has a leak in the roof or a wet basement then you need to disclose that information. If the house had a problem that has been corrected make sure to provide receipts to show the difference.
  • Lead Paint – You are required by federal law to disclose this.
  • Termite Damage – If you previously or currently have a problem with termites you should disclose this information to the buyer.
  • Insurance claims – If you have had to file any insurance claims you will want to disclose this to the summer.

Why You Should Disclose the Information

It might seem counterintuitive to tell the potential buyer about all the problems your house has, but it is an important process. When you disclose the problems that the house had in the past, but show proof that it has been corrected you begin to build trust with the buyer. As soon as the buyer begins to uncover problems that you did not make them aware of you are going to lose the deal or deal with a lower price.

The majority of homeowners are going to pay to purchase the house with a mortgage, which will require them to hire a home inspector. That means even if you try to cover up information about problems or repairs, they are most likely going to be found anyway.

If an inspector has to find the problem you lose the trust of the buyer. They will begin to question other things as well. The best way to make a deal go smoothly is to disclose all the information from the start.

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