Disclosing Defects When Selling a Home
When selling your home, you must be completely transparent about its condition. The buyer deserves to know everything about the place. Furthermore, if you conveniently “forget” about disclosing defects when selling a home, you might be legally prosecuted. With that in mind, here is everything you need to know about the different disclosures when selling your place.
Remember that home buyers often need lawyers when purchasing a home, especially if it’s their first purchase. If you don’t disclose any of the home defects, you might face a lawsuit.
Roof leaks are the most common defect you must disclose when selling your home. You also need to tell if there are any broken or missing shingles or if stagnant pools of water form after a rainy day. And be transparent about any tree damage after a storm.
Foundation cracks are a severe problem. It would be best if you did not hide this from a buyer. These may happen due to many reasons and can affect the stability of the home’s structure and walls.
Another common item you must disclose is any pest activity on the property. This includes thermite damage inside the home, rodents, insects, or any other infestations. They pose a serious health threat, and the buyer must be aware of them.
A flooded home can be fixed. However, you need to mention this to the buyer, even if you repaired the home and resolved the issues. Flood usually happens in the lower levels of the house, like a basement.
Previous fire incidents
Fire damage can also affect the structure and safety of a home. It is also important to disclose the reason for the fire so the future owner knows how to avoid it.
Toxic health hazards
Like pest infestation affects human health, other toxic hazards do, too. Thus, you need to disclose it if they exist. These would include:
- lead paint;
- asbestos ceilings or pipes:
- carbon monoxide leaks.
All of these hazards can lead to injury or death of the buyer, and it is imperative to disclose them immediately.
Bad electrical wiring
Older homes need to be thoroughly checked for bad electrical wiring. This is one of the causes of fire incidents in houses. If not taken care of, faulty electrical wiring may lead to serious accidents.
Problems with heating
Mechanical issues with the HVAC system can lead to health issues. That directly affects the quality of air. Even though it is up to the buyer to thoroughly check all the systems and make sure they are operational, you must not hide that fact.
Rusty plumbing pipes
All new homes have plastic plumbing pipes. They can last much longer, and they do not rust. However, homes with metal or copper plumbing pipes may have problems with leaking pipes. If this is the case in your home, you must let the buyer know. The plumbing pipes will probably have to be fully replaced.
Natural hazards location
Natural hazards like an earthquake or a flood are not something that humans can control. However, if you know that your home is in an area where any natural hazards are common, you need to disclose this information. Even though homes in these areas are cheaper, some people do not wish to risk their lives.
Previous deaths in the home
You may think that disclosing defects when selling a home does not involve death. But, even though death is a natural occurrence, it can come in many forms. Superstitious people do not wish to buy a home where someone has died in the past. Just be sure to mention any previous incidents that include death. Just have in mind that different state laws have different rules. For example, some states require disclosures for deaths in the past three years.
Shared ownership of a home
If you are selling a home with shared ownership, the buyer must know this. If you conceal this fact, it may look like you are trying to commit fraud and sell the home without the approval of the other owner.
Any current property disputes
Trying to sell a home with a property line dispute is complicated. No buyer wants to purchase a home and inherit potential problems with the property line. This is another situation where trying to hide something will make you look like a fraud. Let the buyer know that there is an ongoing dispute and make sure it is resolved before the purchase.
How to prepare for your first home sale
As you can see, there are many different defects you must disclose when selling a home. First-time home sellers may have difficulties with tracking everything. If this is all new to you, there are ways to prepare and handle these issues.
The first piece of advice is to be fully honest and transparent. You want to avoid a lawsuit, and you want the buyers to like you.
Secondly, if you know that the home has some defects, see if you can fix them. You can substantially raise the value of the house and avoid future problems with disclosures. Still, keep in mind this depends on the type of defect and the cost of the repairs.
Thirdly, if you don’t know if your home has any defects, hire a home inspector. This is an excellent way to have a professional take a look at your property and let you know about potential problems.
And finally, also consider hiring a lawyer if your real estate agent does not provide one. A lawyer knows everything about the state rules, and they can help you with the contract and potential legal issues when selling the home.
Disclosing defects when selling a home is a must
Do not create legal problems for you. Disclosing defects when selling a home is not up for debate. Always be fully transparent towards the buyer, and you will sell your home faster than you think. Best of luck!