Walking the Line: Common Questions about Disclosures – and the Answers to Them
We thought this would be a golden opportunity to review some of the challenges as it relates to disclosures. It really does not matter where you live, being sure that you have disclosed any and all matters, as it relates to your property, is very important. Even though state requirements may vary, we think you would agree on the importance of disclosing.
Attorneys can be a rare breed. There are those that will look about things very logically to try and find common ground and a solution. Then there are those that will just go to the extreme and make everyone’s life miserable. One could say, “The times, they are a changing!”, and our sellers need to be very thorough.
Here are a few answers to the most common disclosure questions:
What should I disclose as a seller?
The quick answer is, “Anything that has an effect or has affected the property, should be disclosed”. What would a buyer want to know?
Is there a time limit on how long a seller should disclose?
The answer is “NO”. It very important that the seller – sellers’ family members – any person or entity involved with the property, go back as far as they can and list what was fixed, when, why and if there have been any additional issues with the property. As agents, we should be asking our sellers a lot of questions about their property. More is always better, especially in this case.
As a seller, should I have inspections completed prior to listing my house?
You will get different opinions, however if you think about it, why would you not what to know what might be wrong with the property? This gives you the ability to have the item(s) fixed prior to a buyer looking at the home. If the item can not be fixed in advance, then a seller will know a reasonable value of repairs and how that cost might affect their negotiations.
As a buyer, can I accept the seller’s, or prior buyers, inspection report(s)?
The answer is, “Yes you can, but should you?” Remember, the seller hired the firm to do the inspections and only represent the seller. While you should have copies of every inspection that has been completed, it is also important that you have your own inspections completed. An Inspector is only liable and responsible to the party that hired them. Having your own inspection provides greater protection and peace of mind that every possible item has been addressed.
You also want to be as proactive as possible whether you are an agent, buyer, or a seller. The steps you take now can save all parties a considerable amount of time, money and grief. There is no substitute for “Peace of Mind and Doing the Right Thing”. Remember, “when in doubt, disclose.”
Wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year!
Written by Ron Hoy, COO, Select Group Real Estate. For questions or further information email Ron.Hoy@cbselectre.com.
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The seller should consider having an inspection in order to have more information to use in filing out the SRPD. This will reduce the risk of having to pay triple cost to repair items that may be deemed “should have known”.