Watch Out For These Red Flags in the Seller’s Disclosure

by Apr 17, 2017

There is a lot of paperwork involved when buying a house. Understanding what the documents are for and why they are important will help you navigate your way through the home buying process. The seller’s disclosure is one that you need to understand to avoid buying a house with potential problems.

If you see any of the following red flags on the seller’s disclosure, you need to proceed with caution.

The Roof

You want to find out everything that you can about the roof. If the disclosure says “unknown” or does not include any information about the roof you need to do your research to see what you can find out.

If the seller’s disclosure contains anything about a “small leak” you need to have your home inspector look into it. Replacing a roof is an expensive repair that most buyers do not want to be responsible for.

Foundation Issues

If the seller’s disclosure includes any information about problems with the foundation it is a major red flag. As you walk through the house look for sagging floors or cracks in the wall. These are indicators that there are problems with the foundation.

“No Representation”

Some states allow the seller to select “no representation” on certain areas of the seller’s disclosure. This means that they are able to withhold information even if they know the answers.

If you see this on the report then the inspection is even more important. You will want to actually have the inspector look at the those areas specifically to see what they can find

Flood Damage

If the house was once a victim to flood damage you want to step carefully. If the water damage was not properly cleaned up there could be damage to the structure and growth of dangerous mold.

Liens

If there are liens on the property the sale might not be able to progress. If you are really interested in the house then you will want to speak with the seller’s agent, title company, and possibly a real estate attorney to see how to proceed. You will want to find out what the approximate time will be for the lien to be removed.

Doing Work Without Permits

If the seller completed an addition or made a number of improvements to the house without obtaining permits you don’t really know what to expect. There is always the possibility that the work wasn’t completed to code, which could lead to safety concerns down the road.

Lead Paint or Asbestos

These are two items that you do not want to see included on the seller’s disclosure. They can be dangerous if not handled correctly and costly to have properly removed.

If you are interested in proceeding with purchasing the house make sure you obtain quotes on how much it will cost to have it removed professionally.

Every buyer wants to find a great deal on a house they love. But buyers caught up in the excitement of finding a home they love can easily convince themselves that minor issues aren’t a big deal. Be alert when reading the seller’s disclosure so you don’t overlook red flags about the house.

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