Sally Vanjoske, Broker's Blog
Honesty is the best policy when you’re selling your home. There can be messy legal consequences when it comes to not disclosing problems contained within your home. If you’re unsure if you should disclose something, you probably should reveal it. Legally, here’s what you’ll need to be concerned about in your home as a seller:
A Death On The Property
Some would refer to these as “emotional defects.” A murder, suicide or violent crime occurred on the property most likely needs to be disclosed. If a death is more than 3 years old, it may not need to be discussed. If a buyer asks about it however, even crimes that occurred on the property more than 3 years ago must be exposed.
The Use Of Lead Paint
This is a must when it comes to seller disclosures. Any homes built before 1978 must have a lead paint disclosure signed. This is a federal law that applies to every state. Even if lead paint has been removed, the former presence of it must be revealed. If you are completely unaware of lead paint issues, you aren’t legally required to provide the information. In this area, it’s best to be honest.
There truly is no disclosure too big or too small when it comes to selling your home. You may not think of paranormal activity as something you must reveal, but everything is important. If you believe your house is haunted or if an exorcism has been done to the home, buyers should know about it. Many states have laws that include the obligation to disclose all known facts about a home. Even if you think it’s a silly issue, it could be important to discuss with potential buyers.
Property Drainage Issues
If your basement gets flooded or your backyard gets standing water, you need to expose that in the disclosure. Even if you believe an issue has been fixed, adding what has been done to documents can help to save you legal trouble later on. If you believe an issue has been resolved, at least the buyer has the information on hand as to what they might expect.
Sellers are required by law to disclose any pest issue or infestation. Any types of creatures that have been found in the home like bedbugs, snakes, mice, or bats are an issue that must be shown on the disclosure. Even if the building has had the pests but you have not personally seen them, it’s a good idea to tell buyers about it to cover yourself.
Disputes With Neighbors
It’s wise to disclose neighborly disputes with potential buyers. This is especially true if it involves your property lines and fences. Even small issues can become big ones, so it’s always best to reveal them upfront.