Are you currently in the process of putting your home up for sale? If that's the case, ensure that you properly disclose all defects or concerns to your buyer before the selling process is concluded. There are several factors that you need to focus on when selling your home, which includes marketing and organizing open houses, but you should not forget that it is also your responsibility to disclose all information regarding your property's defects to your buyer before finalizing a sale. Disclosing required info will save you from legal problems in the future. If need be, hire a reliable inspector to evaluate your property before selling it to avoid undisclosed issues from haunting you after the sale.
1It's Crucial To Have Inspections
One main responsibility of any seller is disclosing property issues or defects to a buyer, especially if such problems affect the value of the home. If you are doubtful, schedule an inspection; it's possible to perform the inspection by yourself, but you can also employ an expert. In most cases, sellers rely on the inspections paid for by potential buyers. The common problems that most sellers have limited knowledge about include heating, plumbing, and even structural issues. In case you've been living in your home for a long time, perhaps occasional gas smells and other minor problems may be something that you no longer take notice of, even though a few of these issues pose a real danger.
2It's Important To Disclose All Issues
Let's say that your home has a gas problem that you didn't know about, but this caused a horrible accident when the next owner moved in. The previous owner (you) will likely be blamed for failing to check for defects that spell danger to residents. Thus, you are required by law to provide information about current defects or issues, but you may not be required to fix them.
Property defects that could endanger health and life need to be taken care of right away. For instance, if you notice a drainage problem that results in seasonal flooding in your area, you must work on fixing it as soon as possible. Be aware that some real estate agents and sellers try to market homes "as is" so that they won't need to disclose anything; however, this is not an ethical strategy.
3Disclose Even If You Sell "As Is"
Even though you may decide to sell your home "as is," it is still important to tell your buyer about problems regarding your property. You can sell it "as is" as long as the buyer knows and is willing to accept such defects. To avoid legal problems in the future, you need to give full disclosure as soon as possible.
You can give the disclosure even before a buyer makes an offer. If you hired a real estate agent, he must provide the disclosure document to the buyer before accepting an offer. In case you are handling the selling on your own, you could show or explain to the buyer any issues regarding your property before you take his offer or sign any agreement with the buyer.
4Keep All Related Documents
It's important to keep a good record of all related paperwork regarding your property. Doing so will help you to avoid a lot of issues later on, especially if you'll be required to provide documents and other needed facts. Ensure that you have your copy of the disclosure documents and see to it that you have dated and signed the copies of such records so that you can use these to prove that the buyer has read and understood the details that you've provided.
It is still possible for a buyer to withdraw his offer, in case you fail to provide the disclosure document. The initial offer or sale is canceled, and new negotiations can take place. Nevertheless, keep in mind that disclosures could scare certain buyers away, or these could push them to ask for a lower price. Still, you need to keep an open mind when dealing with such issues. Perhaps, you could offer to shoulder the repair costs or give the buyer credit.
5A Leaking Roof Is A Home Defect Example
One of the most common home defects is a leaking roof. If you're selling your home, you need to tell the buyer about the roof leak. Of course, buyers won't want a house that has a leaking roof.
There are two solutions to this common problem. One, you can have the leaky roof fixed before selling the house. The cost is less, particularly if the damage is not extensive and if the house is generally in good condition. Thus, when selling, you could inform a potential buyer of the roof leak that has already been fixed. On the other hand, if the roof leak is too extensive, you could list the house for less and tell would-be buyers of the problem.
6Importance Of Disclosing A Leaky Roof
When you disclose to a buyer that your house has a leaky roof and reduce the price because of that, the lender could request for a new roof before finalizing the mortgage. This is what's done as the lender could be doubtful that the borrower would complete the work, and the lender wouldn't want to end up with a house with a damaged roof, especially if foreclosure is a huge possibility. In case this is the issue, then you may have to do the repairs on your own.
You should ask the buyer so that you can use the materials that he prefers. This avoids deal cancellations or complaints that may lead to you doing the entire thing again. Any presence of lead in your property must also be disclosed; this is a requirement of the federal government aside from other disclosures required by your state.
7Why Lead Paint Disclosure Is Vital
It's important to give the buyer a document or a statement regarding your knowledge about the existence or non-existence of lead, which is often found in paint, on your property. Perhaps, you can also provide them with a booklet that will give them helpful details regarding the hazards of lead and the effects of lead poisoning. In case you're using an agent, he or she could assist you. It is also possible to download copies of related forms and pamphlets via the Internet.
There are also real estate associations that provide pre-assembled disclosure templates for home sellers. You could ask an agent for such documents even if you are not working with him. Such forms are available to sellers and would-be buyers, and these help them in managing the paperwork more efficiently. Still, you must verify with a real estate lawyer or realtor if the format or documents that you possess have the appropriate format, which may have some variations depending on the region.
As a home seller, you have certain duties not only to yourself but to potential buyers and to the government as well, which often include doing thorough home inspections so that defects can be repaired or appropriately disclosed to the buyers. If problems are not disclosed, things can turn more complicated later on as you will be liable and legally responsible for any injuries or damage that may be caused by your failure to disclose crucial details about your home. Therefore, ensure that you are following the law and doing the right thing when selling your home; have it thoroughly inspected so that you could disclose all issues before the sale is finalized.