The Facts About Real Estate Disclosures When Listing Your Home
Whether you're a buyer or a seller, disclosures are a key part of your real estate transaction. From new landscaping and a fresh coat of paint, to appliance upgrades and room remodeling, homeowners will go to great lengths to present their real estate for sale in the best light possible. However, sellers need to be aware that while they’re fixing up current flaws in their home, they shouldn’t cover up past ones.
That’s where the disclosure comes in. All sellers will need to fill out disclosure forms about their properties, and every buyer should triple-check this form before signing on the dotted line of a contract. Below are a few facts about disclosures to help sellers ensure they’re doing the right thing when listing real estate.
The Purpose of a Disclosure
Disclosures come in a variety of forms, but their primary function is to inform buyers about the state of a home, its past and its neighborhood. They also provide sellers with a safety net in case there is legal trouble down the road.
If You Know It, Disclose It
Disclosure laws vary from state to state, so check with your REALTORÒ to ensure you’re filling out the proper paperwork. When listing past renovations, insurance claims from natural disasters, or new neighborhood construction, it’s best to err on the side of caution. List everything you can possibly think of, so the buyer can never say they weren’t warned.
When to Disclose
The seller usually provides the disclosure after they’ve accepted the buyer’s bid. In most cases, buyers can back out of the deal without losing their escrow deposit if they find something unfavorable in the disclosure. Some sellers even like to provide the disclosure to any potential buyers up front, so they know what they’re dealing with before ever placing an offer.
Disclosure Versus an Inspection
While a seller’s disclosure form gives a property inspector a jumping-off point for things to double-check, they are not the same thing. The buyer hires a property inspector after they’ve placed a bid on the home to ensure there are no major issues. There could be problems of which even the seller is unaware.
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