Friday, March 14, 2014

Understand Before You Sign: The Seller's Disclosure

There are a lot of documents involved in the buy-sell process, all of which are very important to understand.  As always, we are here to make your experience as smooth as possible; so we'd like to walk you through one of the forms you'll see when you buy or sell a home- the seller's disclosure.

This document is a statement disclosing the condition of, and information concerning a home and its property. It is not a substitute for a home inspection because it is based solely on the seller's knowledge. If a seller is unaware of a problem, he or she is not responsible for disclosing it. This is an opportunity for a seller to be upfront about the condition of the home; and an opportunity for a buyer to obtain important information before entering into a purchase agreement.

The seller's disclosure is available to anyone interested in the property, not just buyers who have signed a contract to purchase the house. It is extremely important to note that the disclosure is a legal document. This means that if a seller knowingly omits information or provides misinformation they may be held accountable in a court of law. It is always best to be completely honest and deal with any issues right away.

Seller's disclosures vary from state to state. The form used by the Midland Board of REALTORS® includes questions regarding the functionality of appliances such as a range/oven, alarm system, ceiling fans, sprinkler systems, central air conditioning, the sump pump, etc. It also covers topics like the type of insulation in the home, the kind of plumbing system and historical presence of water in the basement and pest infestations. Sellers are also asked to disclose information regarding "common areas" on the property- meaning facilities or spaces over which a homeowner's association or other entity may have authority.

If you've gone through a house with your REALTOR® and you'd like more information about the structure, ask for the disclosure. Your agent can walk you through it and answer any questions you may have.

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