Networx: Sellers disclosure: What do I need to know when selling my home?
When you’re selling a home, the words "sellers disclosure" may fill you with confusion, even with fear. What exactly is the point of a sellers’ disclosure and how much do you need to reveal? The following FAQs will give you the answers you're looking for.
Q. What is a sellers disclosure?
The disclosure may also provide general information such as the age and condition of fixtures and appliances, the number of an assigned parking spot (where there is a shared lot), or whether the home is classed as a heritage building.
Answer the questions to the best of your knowledge. "Unknown" or "not applicable" are usually listed as possible responses.
Q. Am I, as a seller, legally required to submit a disclosure?
A. That depends on where you live. Certain states (California, to name one) have very stringent requirements. In others, the disclosure is optional. And in some areas, the sellers disclosure actually becomes part of the property purchase contract.
Speak to your broker or a local real estate lawyer to find out how to proceed. While these professionals are not permitted to fill out the sellers disclosure for you, they can certainly answer any questions you might have.
Q. Which home improvements need to be included in the disclosure statement?
Q. Does a sellers disclosure take the place of a home inspection?
A. No, your prospective buyer will most likely still opt to have the home inspected by a professional as a condition of the sale. You as the seller might want to hire a home inspector yourself prior to officially listing your property, to give you a "heads up" on issues you weren't aware of.
Q. What if I know there’s a problem?
— You might choose simply to leave the issue as is. In that case, disclose the defect and be prepared to make a concession on the price.
Q. What happens if I fail to disclose a known issue?
A. Once again, the answer depends on your state law. Generally, if the buyers discover the omission before closing, they are allowed to walk away from the deal. In many areas, if they have gone through with the purchase before finding out something’s wrong, they can sue you (ouch!), within a specified time period.
Q. Can't I just market my home "as is"?