When people buy a new home they have a right to be informed of the problems that they may face on the property and any issues that the home previously experienced.
However, as a seller it can be difficult to know whether the required information is being disclosed. Nobody wants to appear misleading, especially when it can impact a sale, and making sure all the proper information is finding its way to the buyer is imperative to make the deal go through.
What Needs To Be Disclosed?
Disclosures are not handled at the Federal level except for the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, which requires all sellers to have their home inspected for lead paint if it was constructed before 1978.
Other possible disclosures include any legal issues with the property title, mold and water leaks, problems with the plumbing or sewage on the property, and issues with the roofing, air conditioning and heating systems.
Disclosure Laws Differ From State To State
While it is best to err on the side of caution when dealing with home seller disclosures, every state's laws are different and some are more stringent than others. A seller may believe they are disclosing everything that is required and still find themselves on the wrong side of a lawsuit.
When deciding what to disclose to a buyer it's best to always consult a local real estate agent. Any professional will know the specific laws to their area and will be sure to let you know if you have left something vital off the list.
When Disclosing Can Be A Positive
All disclosures are not created equal and in some situations they can even work in the favor of the seller. When the seller tells the buyer about an issue from the home's past that has been repaired it can be a huge benefit.
Not only is the buyer being informed about the home's history, they are being shown that the seller was a responsible home owner who took care of the property and fixed the issues as they came up. This can give them a sense of security and confidence that the home was well maintained.
If you are in the process of selling your home but can't figure out what you need to disclosure legally and what you should disclose morally, speak with your local real estate agent. They will be able to walk you through the process so nothing is left off the list.