When the time comes for buyers to start seriously looking at properties and considering an offer to purchase they often wonder and ask their agent, "what exactly does a seller have to disclose about this property?" The MLS listing sheet that is made available online to you and your agent is filled with a lot of information about the subject property. In fact, there is a designated section for "disclosures" to state anything that must be disclosed to potential buyers. So, what can you expect to be in this section or disclosed to you at the time of a showing? Read on for some principles and questions to find out the most important information regarding a property.
Although disclosure laws differ from state-to-state, there are three overlying principles:
1. If you have specific knowledge of something, disclose it
2. If you are confident the answer is no, say no.
3. If you genuinely do not know the answer, say you don't know.
What comes with the property?
What are the sellers leaving and what are they taking with them to their next home.. Any appliances and fixtures (light fixtures, mirrors attached to walls, window treatments, etc.) that are not remaining with the property must be noted as excluded
by the seller and their agent during the marketing period of the property for sale.
What features does the property include?
What are the systems? Is is city/town sewer or is there a private septic? Is it wired for surround sound, alarm system, etc.
Are there any significant defects?
Any structural or mechanical defects that are known to the seller should be disclosed. Known pest or water problems should also be disclosed. Buyers are encouraged to conduct their own home inspection to further investigate the property.
Are there any hazardous materials or conditions?
Known lead paint, asbestos, radon, pests, mold, etc. should be disclosed to any potential buyers. Often, sellers have no idea about many of these.
Are there any disputes with neighbors or local municipalities?
Are there any ongoing issues with neighbors that will be passed on to the new owners? Property line issues, existing structures, overhanging trees, etc.
Are there any organizations that have authority over your property?
With a condo there is going to be an association. Is it owner managed or professionally managed? Who makes the calls about the common areas of the building? If the home is a single family but the neighborhood has a homeowners association it should be disclosed. If the property is within a town/city historic district and the historic commission must approve of any updates/alterations that must also be disclosed.
Anything else that was important for the seller to know at their time of pruchase they should find important to tell the buyer at the time of sale. These few items are not everything but they are a good start.
We are here to guide you through what you should know about a property prior to purchasing it. Reach out to get started on your homebuying process [email protected]
Information from this article can be found on Inman