Full Disclosure By Sellers Is Always The Best Policy

You are planning to sell your home and your listing agent is requesting that you complete the Seller’s Disclosure Notice as required for all potential buyers. Sellers must disclose anything that could affect the property’s value or desirability. The importance of full disclosure is that when sellers choose to be less than forthcoming, it can eventually prove very costly in the way of lawsuits that can be very costly or at minimum losing the sale. To better understand what is expected of sellers regarding disclosures, here are six things that must be considered so that you don’t find yourself in court and paying for the repairs as well as expensive legal fees.

(1) Repairs
If you made repairs to the home then list them and if possible provide copies of repair invoices and any additional details that you believe will ease the concerns of any potential buyer.

(2) Termites
Especially if your home has had previous termite issues, it is even more important to disclose those issues. Almost always, the buyer will have a home inspection and that will include a termite inspection also. You can let them know in advance what issues and treatments are part of the history of the house and if there are any warranties that can be transferred to the next owner if applicable.

(3) Water Damage and Mold
Have you had water issues in the past that could have resulted in water damage and/or mold? Statistics seem to indicate that this disclosure issue results in a large number of lawsuits between buyers and sellers. It is also important for you to understand that home inspectors are very adept at finding the signs of water damage and mold which can result in serious health concers and issues.

(4) Lead
This is an easy one for sellers as you will be required to comply with federal law and provide a document regarding lead-based paint. If the home was built prior to 1978, your listing agent will require that you disclose on this form what you know or don’t know regarding the presense of lead in the paint used inside and outside.

(5) Natural Hazards
Items of interest here would include flooding issues, mud or rock slides and more recently minor earthquakes and tremors that are being experienced in North Texas in the areas in and around the Barnett Shale. This area alone consist of approximately 5,000 square miles and 17 counties.

(6) Infamous Past
If a death in the home was the result of a crime, then this information must be disclosed as an example.

Some of the other items that you should disclose would be historical designations, special zoning restrictions, or local environmental concerns that could affect financing, insurance or remodeling for the buyer. Full disclosure will provide potential buyers of your home the confidence that they are dealing with someone with honesty and integrity. Your agent will also be there with you to make sure you follow the rules of disclosure and avoid the legal pitfalls of failure to do so.

Bottom line be a conscientious seller! Source: MSN Real Estate

Steve Lester is a REALTOR with JP & Associates REALTORs living in Allen, Texas.


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