What to Disclose When Selling Your Home
Selling a home is rarely easy. There are a lot of things to consider when prepping your home for the market, including what to disclose to potential buyers. From mold to previous insurance claims, here’s a list of things you should disclose when selling your home.
Homes constructed prior to 1978 are required to disclose the presence of lead-based hazards, including paint. If you don’t inform the buyer of lead, they can take you to court and sue you for damages.
There’s little you can do to stop natural disasters from happening, but you still have to inform potential buyers of the risk. If your home is located in a flood zone, an area susceptible to fire, or an earthquake zone, then you must disclose that information in the sale.
Aside from lead-based paints, you must disclose any toxic materials located on the property. This includes asbestos, radon, carbon monoxide, mercury, and formaldehyde. There are tests you can perform to detect these toxic materials and disclose them to buyers.
This might seem like an obvious thing to include in the paperwork, but some homeowners rely on previous listing information instead of having a professional measure the property. Even worse, square footage is sometimes guessed and estimated. If you don’t know the square footage or haven’t had the home refinanced, an appraiser can give you an exact measurement.
Certain states require the seller to inform buyers of deaths that occurred inside the structure, but only if the death was within three years of the sell. Some states also require you to note if a murder was committed within the home because a dark history can affect the selling price.
Mold is an unfortunate side effect of a damp house. If you have a high moisture area like a basement, consider getting it checked for mold before selling the house. If you’ve removed mold in the past, make sure to include that in the disclosure statement.
Replacing a roof is an expensive repair and you should disclose those risks to potential buyers. When disclosing roof damage, include the year the roof was installed or last repaired. If you don’t disclose this information it will likely come to light during the inspection.
All types of water damage should be noted in the disclosure statement. This includes faulty plumbing, a leaky roof, or damaged drain pipes. Water damage is something that is easily detected and could lead to a lawsuit if not disclosed.
Termites are a common pest in homes across the country. If you’ve ever had to remove termites from your home, then you need to include that in the disclosure. To put a potential buyer at ease, it’s also a good idea to get a pest inspection before selling the home.
Buyers can request a report on the home to find out if there were any insurance claims made on the property in the previous seven years. But, it’s best to disclose that information yourself and avoid any potential problems when you go to sign.
Before you put the house on the market, double-check that there aren’t any liens on the property or cloud on the title. Try and get these cleared up before selling or disclose them to buyers.
Repairing a foundation is very expensive. In fact, a cracked foundation can even make a home uninhabitable and fixing it requires a lot of work. Any major structural damages should be disclosed whenever possible.
Disclosure law varies widely state to state, so make sure you double-check your city before selling. It’s always a good idea to be honest and disclose as much as possible to potential buyers. Not only will this help prevent a buyer from backing out at the last minute, but it will go a long way in building trust.