Real Estate Tip of the Week: What Are Seller Disclosures?
We hope we didn’t lose you at the title – Seller Disclosures! They aren’t meant to be scary…in fact, they’re there to protect not only the seller, but the buyer too!! It’s important to understand what a disclosure is and how it benefits you.
So, what is a seller disclosure?
In real estate, seller disclosures are the seller’s legal responsibilities to reveal known defects about the home or property they are selling.
These vary by state and must be in writing. Seller disclosures are different from an inspection report – which should be done separately. Think of it this way: the inspection report lets the seller/buyer know what needs to be fixed or updated, which should then be listed on the seller disclosure.
Buyers are given the disclosure so they can assess if they’d like to move forward with the sale. They can make preparations if they choose to move forward, possibly negotiate a lower price – pretty much whatever they’d like to do. That could even be just “ignoring” any sort of issue in the home to deal with later. But essentially – these disclosures protect the buyer from making any unwanted sale or accidental problems in the future.
If a seller doesn’t include something (that has been told to them by the inspection report), then the seller may face legal trouble for not having it disclosed.
What’s usually on a seller disclosure?
- Health & safety: mold, radon, asbestos, or foundation problems are common examples.
- Renovations: any work the seller has put into the home, whether it was permitted or not.
- Pests: termites, rodents, etc.
- Mechanical: Water, sewer, AC/HVAC, appliance problems, etc.
Who can help with a seller disclosure?
You don’t technically need the help of a real estate agent for this – but it would greatly help both parties if an agent was on the case. Agents can make sure things that need to be included are on the report, and they can help the buyer make a good choice.
For more real estate tips and guides, stop by AmeriTitle’s Blog.