The seller’s disclosure is a required document in a real estate transaction. Both state and federal laws require the sellers of a home to tell what they know about a home.
Why is a Seller’s Disclosure required?
The reason behind this is, an inspection may not find everything that’s wrong with a home. After all, the home inspector isn’t allowed to open a wall to see what’s behind the sheet rock. And sometimes, the inspector cannot see what is under a home. As a result, the buyers have to rely on truthful information from the sellers regarding the systems, appliances and the rest of the home.
Your Realtor will provide you with a copy of a form called a Real Estate Disclosure Statement when you list your home for sale. This is required in New Jersey. However, in certain circumstances, it isn’t a requirement. For example, if you inherited a property, and you never lived there. Therefore, you cannot be expected to know everything about the property, just what is visually evident.
What Gets Disclosed?
The Sellers Disclosure requires you to disclose the presence of asbestos, radon, lead paint and other toxic substances if you’re aware that these substances exist in the home. But, you’re not required to perform testing to determine if they are there. However, the buyer or their lender reserves the right to perform these tests.
Many questions about the home are on the form. You’ll find questions about the HVAC systems, exterior and roof, property, electrical and plumbing systems and more. And if at any time there was a flood, fire or other catastrophe, you must disclose that also. You should answer truthfully, as this is a legal document.
What if you don’t know the Answer?
If you do n’t know the answer to a question, the proper answer is “I don’t know”. As an example – the same roof is on the house that was there when you purchased the home. You don’t have direct knowledge of how old the roof is, so check “I don’t know”.
The disclosure is designed to inform the buyer of what you know about the property. In addition, it could hold you and your Realtor harmless if you have told the truth about the property.
And if your Realtor cannot answer questions about the Seller’s Disclosure, call me.
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