The Property Disclosure: How Sellers Can Avoid Being Sued

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The Property Disclosure: How Sellers Can Avoid Being Sued

While you’ve lived on your property for years, renovated, remodeled and repaired you’ve done so all to benefit yourself and your family. Now when you’re preparing your home for a sale you’ll do the same, but this time to prepare your home for someone else and their family. Part of a sale however, is disclosing what it is you know about your property and its surrounds – even if this isn’t going to paint your home in the best light.

The Purpose Of A Disclosure

Disclosures come in various forms but its main purpose is to inform a buyer of the condition of the home and the neighborhood. You also have this document to safeguard yourself as a seller in case you encounter any legal trouble down the line.

Disclose Everything You Know

What you need to disclose may vary so you should discuss this with your real estate agent so you know you’re filling out the paperwork correctly. List past renovations, insurance claims from natural disasters and neighborhood construction list everything you know so you’re erring on the side of caution.

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When To Disclose

Usually disclosures are given when the seller accepts a buyer’s bid. At this stage you’ll probably feel nervous about revealing everything you know about your home and neighborhood but this will keep you out of legal trouble. Some sellers also choose to disclose everything about their property before a buyer makes an offer.

Disclosures And Inspections

While a disclosure may work to inform an inspector where to look it doesn’t replace the actual inspection. An inspection safeguards the buyer’s interests so they know exactly what issues the home has.

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Besides doing the honest thing a disclosure can also protect you as a seller should any unexpected surprises occur for a buyer. If you knew the property next door was to be turned into a high-rise mixed-use development and didn’t disclose it, a buyer has grounds to sue, and could be successful in their bid. Even if you think this is unlikely to occur, disclose what you know so you’ll leave your property and the place you’ve called home with a clean conscious.