Imagine your home experienced freak flooding during an atrocious rainstorm a year ago. You lost a some important keepsakes, but the house has been repaired and treated for mold and water damage. Intense rain and flooding aren’t unlikely to recur in your area. But you put the house on the market because you can’t live in a home that scares you during every thunderstorm. Do potential buyers need to know why you’re moving? Maybe you think it’s none of their business. Real estate law might say otherwise.
Disclosing problems with your on-the-market home
Shades of gray disclosures
If you neglect to provide thorough disclosures for the property you’re selling, you could find yourself facing a lawsuit down the road. Sellers are required by law to disclose all known problems with a property. If a major problem occurred but has since been repaired, disclosing the issue – especially if it could potentially happen again or repairs were costly – is the safest route.
These statues vary from state to state and often even from city to city. Consulting your realtor or taking advantage of a complimentary consultation with a real estate attorney will help you create a thorough and clear disclosure form that will help protect you from possible litigation. The court will likely not accept ignorance as an excuse for omitting a problem with your property.
Let it all hang out
It can be tempting to downplay major and even minor issues with your home. After all, you just want to sell the thing and make your property as appealing as possible to potential buyers. However, honesty will get you much further than being coy. Sure, an unappealing disclosure could lose you an interested party, but staying mum could also make a deal fall through, costing you time and money. The drawbacks you think your home may have does not make it unsellable – they are merely a jumping-off point for negotiations.
From a crumbling window frame to recurring squirrel infestations, be forthcoming about all material flaws. And own up to any ongoing disputes between neighbors. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, but what you do know – and neglect to disclose – could have you facing down a lawsuit accusing you of fraud.