Does the seller have to provide disclosures

DISCLOSURES! They are an important part of a Real Estate transaction and for the purposes of this article I will be discussing disclosures as it relates to a standard sale. Let me begin by giving you a frame of reference and then sharing a story that I heard several years ago about someone not disclosing a water leak.

During a real estate transaction in California the Seller is asked to complete the Transfer Disclosure Statement and the Seller Property Questionnaire. Both of these forms have a lot of open ended questions about the Seller’s property. Questions like, how old is the roof? Do you have sprinklers? What repairs have you made on the property? Are there any neighborhood nuisances? It’s a LOT of information in these forms. When you consider all that can happen in a day it’s understandable why completing these types of disclosure is a daunting task. But it must be done!

In the story I was told the Seller was completing their disclosures and thought nothing of the leaking hose bib.Apparently, at the front of the home there was a hose bib that had been leaking for a LONG time. The Seller did not think anything of that leak. They fixed the hose bib, paid the high water bill and called it a day. There was nothing left to do. Yet, the new owners took issue with the undisclosed leak. Apparently the continuous leaking had undermined the home and they sued!

I don’t know if the Seller won the case or if the Buyer won the case. In fact, I don’t care! The reason I shared this story with you is because I hope this article can help you avoid needless headaches and hassles. Here are my tips to Sellers when you are selling your home

BEFORE YOU SELECT AN AGENT to sell your home, begin chronicling your home’s history. YES! Go back to when you purchased the home and begin listing all of the repairs and improvements you have made over time
REVIEW YOUR RECORDS. Sometimes clients find receipts in their tax files that help them recall what improvements they made. If you have been using the same vendor for your home you may ask them if they have a record of the work they completed on your home.
ASK FOR THE DISCLOSURES!!! When you hire your agent, ask your agent to get you the disclosures right away! You want to have an ample amount of time to disclose what you know.
DON’T ASSUME. You really cannot assume the buyer knows what they are getting themselves into. If you live in an area where wildlife roams the neighborhood then make sure to disclose that to the Buyer! If you live near a train and you can hear, or even feel, the train going by then disclose that!
REMEMBER 3D! This is disclose, disclose, disclose. If you think of something then disclose it to the Buyer! If you remember something it must be important enough to disclose the item
WHAT IF YOU “COMPLETED” YOUR DISCLOSURE? Sometimes, after you turn the disclosures into your agent you remember something else! When that happens I recommend you disclose the item to your agent and request your agent provide an amendment to your disclosures adding this new information to what you have already disclosed to the Buyer

I realize this is a LOT to take in but hopefully this information will provide you guidance with how to move forward with your transaction(s). If you would like to learn more about this topic, or Real Estate in general, please place your mouse pointer over the words About Us and then click on the Contact Us button to let me know how I can assist. Thank You!

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