6 Things Home Sellers are Required to Disclose.
Think of seller disclosures like a Carfax report. Plus, the harm in not disclosing something can result in some serious legal and financial woes. Here’s a list of what you legally need to include in your sellers’ disclosure to keep yourself out of hot water.
1. Lead paint One item is a must when it comes to being upfront with potential buyers: the use of lead-based paint in your home. If the home was built before 1978, each party in a transaction needs to sign a lead paint disclosure. This is a federal law and applies to every state. No matter if you think the lead paint has been removed or not, it still needs to be disclosed.
2. Paranormal activity Ghosts haunting your house? Fess up to the potential buyer ASAP. “When you think of paranormal activity, you don’t think of home disclosures, but you should. If you think your house is haunted, or if you’ve had an exorcism done, you should disclose the info to the buyer side. Although rules vary from state to state on this topic, in some states, like Arizona, sellers are obligated to disclose “all known material facts” about a home, which could potentially include hauntings and paranormal activity. There truly is no disclosure too big or too small or too silly.
3. Emotional defects Depending on your location, you may be required to disclose what some call “emotional defects” about a home — specifically, if a murder, suicide, or violent crime occurred there. In California, for example, Civil Code 1710.2 details that any death on a property does not need to be disclosed if it occurred more than three years prior to the sale of the home. But read the fine print: If a buyer asks, this same statute requires the seller to disclose any death on the property more than 3 years old. We are not California, disclose it.
4. Pests Whether it’s snakes, mice, rats, bats or termites, in most states, sellers are required by law to disclose any sort of pest infestation or issue. Recently, a client shared with me one of the many reasons they backed out of the contract was due to animals living in the attic. Per the pictures, it looked like everything lived in the attic. The amount of animal feces was horrific and for health reasons, although it could be treated and cleaned, they did not want the risk of any health issues.
5. Property drainage issues In Florida, we do not have basements however we do get flooding. Whether its in your home du to drainage issues or in your backyard with standing water. The seller has to disclose it. If construction is taking place next-door or behind your home, it is possible one may experience drainage issues. What if a developer changed some of his grading and added drain systems to your yard? You must disclose this prior issue. Take other people’s experiences as a warning. It is always best to disclose major or unusual issues even if you believe the issue has been resolved!
6. Neighbor disputes or boundary issues It might not seem like a big deal that your fence is 1 foot inside your neighbor’s property line, but it can affect a new owner down the road. What may seem like a small neighborly dispute could actually become a major one when homes change hands, so it’s wise to disclose it upfront. We don’t need to fear thy neighbor.