What should you disclose?
- If there is a question in your mind about whether or not to disclose
an item, my advice is to disclose it.
- Consider things that the buyer would not know, or may not find during an inspection, and that may affect his/her decision to buy.
- Remember that people have very different tolerances and expectations.
- Long after the sale, the buyer may decide to focus on something that you considered too minor to mention. They may hire engineers and other experts to blow what seemed like a minor issue into a costly repair. Or they may assert that the value of their property is less than they thought.
- Often sellers do not intend to hide a defect, but simply do not consider the item important, or have just forgotten about it.
- One seller forgot that he had used plywood, instead of oak floor, under a large area rug.
Disclosure Reminder: Water
- Does rainwater occasionally come into your garage, carport or house? You may not mind a little water in the garage, but this could be a big issue for the buyer.
- Any water leak or water penetration of the house, which has been fixed, should still be disclosed. By disclosing the repair, the buyer will have the opportunity to check it further during his inspection period, if he wishes.
- Any previous insurance claim for water damage should be disclosed. Insurance companies maintain a central database on claims. The buyer's insurance company may check this database.
- To find out about prior claims, you may order a (C.L.U.E.) report on your house by calling 866-527-2600 or at www.choicetrust.com
- In a heavy rain, a "river" of water runs across your lot. This may not be detected in July, and the buyer may have plans for this part of the lot.
- You have underground drainage pipes, or French drains, in the yard. (This is not a problem, but buyers should know where they are.)
Disclosure Reminder: Neighborhood
- The home next door is used for dog boarding or other business which could potentially bother the people buying your home.
- You are aware that a neighbor has received a variance to build a non-conforming structure next door.
- You've been notified that the adjacent vacant land is slated for development.
- You are aware that nearby roadways will be changed.
- You are aware of underground gas pipelines running across or near your property.
- Oak Wilt was found on, or very near, your property.
- Your lot has not been legally subdivided. Most cities and counties require this for issuance of building permits.
Disclosure Reminder: Repairs
- Sheetrock repairs or door adjustments are sometimes needed.
- You have recently made sheetrock crack repairs and painted them over.
- You've gotten bids for structural repairs, but decided not to do the work.
- You have made "temporary" repairs of some kind.
- Your septic system has backed up several times.
- A violent death occurred on the property. (Death by natural causes, suicide or accident does not require disclosure.)
- Water ponds in the shower and does not drain well.
- Circuit breakers trip if both the dryer and AC are on.
- Tile is broken under the rug; or there are ink stains under the bed.
- Pets have gone to the bathroom on the carpet, but the carpet has been cleaned. (In warm temperatures, the smell will come back.)
- The grass is a "winter rye", which will die in spring.
Disclosure Reminder: Title Issues
- Disclose any title problems which you are aware of. Small title issues are not uncommon and will not bother most buyers.
- However, if they are discovered at closing (when buyers normally review the survey), the buyer could terminate the contract. Below are some examples:
- Your house, pool or driveway overlaps a building line, utility easement or drainage easement.
- Your house or driveway encroaches on your neighbor's property (or vice-versa). An attorney should review any encroachments.
- Your property has an unusual easement or building restriction.
- You have obtained a variance from the neighborhood association. (Hopefully, you have a signed copy.)
- Your fence does not conform to property line. Most fences are a few inches off, but major discrepancies should be disclosed.