Seller's Disclosure: What You Need to Know

Let’s face it, as a home seller there are probably things that you would like to keep to yourself, especially when it comes to problems or defects in your home. When selling though, full disclosure is best for not only yourself but also for the potential health and safety of the buyer. Here is a summary of what you need to know about a sellers disclosure.

What is it?

A Seller Disclosure is something all homeowners selling their home must give to buyers. It will list any and all problems with the home. It’s important to note that you only have to disclose things that you are aware of. It is when people are aware of problems and withhold the information that issues can arise. Buyers when notified of home issues can choose to use that as a negotiation tool to bring down the price of a home.

Why You Have To Provide It?

There are both state and federal regulations you must follow in regards to a seller disclosure. The state will primarily handle most of the regulations and because of this, it is important you check with an experienced realtor on exactly what your state requires home sellers to disclose. Federal regulations mandate the lead paint disclosure where sellers notify buyers if their house was built prior to 1978. In this case certain information about lead paint must be distributed to the buyer.

What Must Be Included?

While all states differ in regards to what they mandate their sellers to disclose, below are some general things most states require.

Past Fire

Flooding Basement

Roof Damage

Plumbing Issues

Electrical Issues

Mold Damage

Natural Disaster Zones

Past Earthquake Damage

Foundation Issues

Home Repairs


What Happens If You Leave Things Out?

If sellers do not fully disclose the problems in their home, they can risk the chance of a lawsuit, which takes a lot of time and money. If you aren’t notifying sellers of health hazards and someone gets sick or if they get injured due to a defect in the home there is a whole slew of risks involved. The bottom line is be up front with all issues that you are aware of and better yet, if you have receipts of any repairs put them together in a binder for a buyer to view. It may seem like airing out all your home problems may scare buyers away, but sometimes it can do the opposite.

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