When you sell a home, what information are you obligated to disclose about your property?
People often seem confused about disclosures in the marketplace, but there is a clear statute that you follow. There is a set form of three pages for every residential property. All you have to do is answer the questions on that list.
Basically, you will confirm whether or not everything is in working order, and whether or not certain items exist on the property.
For example, if you have a swimming pool, you will have to say whether or not it’s in working order. If you don’t have a pool, all you have to do is say you don’t have one. The same is true for natural gas supply. Does natural gas come to the property, or is it a total electric home? Is there an underground storage tank?
There are a number of things on the disclosure list, but it’s not left up to your imagination. It’s a defined list that the state requires all sellers of residential properties to fill out.
Additionally, if your home was built before 1978, you will have to fill out another disclosure. The lead-based paint disclosure is required by HUD, by the state, and by the EPA. This form is very simple to fill out. You either have lead-based paint and you know it, or you’re unaware of any lead-based paint in the home.
If your home has never been tested for lead-based paint, then you have no records to disclose.
The seller, the buyer, and the Realtors must all sign the lead-based paint disclosure.
As a qualified real estate professional, I like to go over the forms with the seller as they fill them out. Sometimes, I’ll ask a question and the seller will look uncertain, so I’ll do more research on that.
Other than the seller, your real estate agent should be the most knowledgeable person about the property. I should know whether or not it’s total electric, whether the soft water system is leased or owned, and whether or not the property has any easements other than utility easements.
As the seller, if you have any questions about an item on the form, I always recommend that you err on the side of caution. You want the buyer to know everything about the property that they are entitled to. If the buyer isn’t going to buy your home because there’s been water in the heating and air conditioning ducts, let’s not sell it to that buyer. Let’s find a buyer who knows that you corrected the situation and won’t be afraid to buy your home.
If you have any other questions about seller disclosures or the selling process in general, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!