When it comes to real estate transactions, sellers have a legal obligation to disclose past and current defects of their home to potential buyers. How far does this obligation go, though?
On one hand, sellers want to minimize the negative disclosures that may affect their ability to sell their home for maximum profit. Buyers, on the other hand, want to know exactly what they’re buying so they can estimate potential repair expenses and negotiate the purchase price accordingly.
Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s a good idea to understand the basics of real estate disclosures.There are required disclosures such as water damage, mold, termite damage, cracks in the foundation, leaks in the roof, and issues with any appliances or mechanical systems. You also must disclose previous repairs and renovations and any potential environmental dangers.
In addition, there are several federal laws that apply no matter where you live. If you’re selling a home that was built prior to 1978, for example, you must comply with the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992. If lead-based paint is present, you must let the buyer know.
My advice to any seller is, when in doubt, disclose. Full disclosures will protect you from future legal claims and give buyers confidence that they’re being treated fairly. Just because you disclose a problem doesn’t mean you have to fix it. Interested buyers will be anxious to close the deal, and they may be willing to overlook minor issues. More serious defects may lead to further negotiations, but they won’t necessarily be a deal breaker for serious buyers.
If you have any further questions about disclosures or any other real estate topic or you’re thinking of buying ro selling a home in the San Diego area, don’t hesitate to give me call or shoot me an email. I’d love to help you.