If you are selling your home, you should make sure that you disclose any known defects with the property. Doing this is one way that you can help prevent real estate disputes that may hurt your ability to sell your home and land you in court.
By law, sellers are required to disclose material defects that impact a property. This disclosure needs to be in writing and is not the same thing as providing an inspection. Instead, think of a disclosure as explaining all of the issues that are visible and known to you as the seller. If the buyer wants to have an inspection of the property, that’s a different arrangement that may help them uncover issues with the property that you, as a seller, did not know about.
What are some common seller disclosures?
Some of the common disclosures that you may want to make include:
- Details about mold or mold remediation, if you’ve had to have it done. You should also disclose asbestos or radon in the home, if you know it’s present
- Legal issues. If you have a lien on the property or any other issues that could affect the sale, you should let the potential buyer know
- Mechanical and structural issues, like the age of your HVAC system or problems with the foundation of your home
- Renovations that you performed, even if you didn’t get a permit to do them
- Knowledge of any pests, like rodents or termites, that may affect the home
Essentially, you want to disclose anything at all that may affect the quality of the property and that the buyer would want to know about. It’s less common to disclose problems with neighbors, though you certainly can if the issues are bad enough that they could impact the buyer’s enjoyment of the property or put them in danger.
A good seller disclosure document will disclose as much as possible. Being forthright puts you in a better position as a seller because the buyer cannot come back to you later and claim that you didn’t disclose something important that you knew about. This will help you avoid legal trouble in the future.