If you provide full disclosure when selling your house, you'll protect yourself from any potential legal complications that may arise if your buyer discovers serious defects after the sale. Experienced home buyers won't necessarily balk if your disclosure report indicates there are some problem areas. It is simply a negotiation tactic that demonstrates good faith and facilitates a quicker sale.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Real estate agent
- Certified home inspector
- Copy of your property records
Contact your state's chamber of commerce to see if it has a standard disclosure form available. Some states regulate seller disclosures, listing a set of criteria that must be met in order for full disclosure to be achieved.
Hire a certified home inspector to come to your house, assess its structural conditions and prepare a report listing the strengths and weaknesses of your home. The inspector's report should indicate the degree of the problem (minor, severe or unacceptable).
Obtain a copy of the home inspector's report, and file it with your real-estate agent. Then, if any interested buyers ask your real-estate agent if a disclosure report is available, she can produce it immediately. You can also keep one on hand in your home to show to any interested parties who visit your open house.
Provide prospective buyers with records of any repairs or renovations you've had done on your home when you're selling it.
Access your home's property records, which you should have a copy of as the homeowner. (Get them from your local city hall if you don't already have them.) These documents will detail the exact location of the property lines and will also indicate where shared areas, such as fences or driveways, fall in terms of possession.
Provide interested parties with information regarding water-usage limits, any construction that's going on in the area and/or any developments that might be planned for the neighboring community. Basically, if something is going on that might affect property values, you should let the buyer know.
Tips and warnings
- You can find a reliable home inspector in your area by visiting the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) website (see Resources below).
- Many states used to have "buyer beware" laws when it came to full disclosure. This is no longer the case. Virtually every U.S. state now protects the buyer and requires the seller to make a disclosure when selling a house.
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