Brenda Kellen: What do you need to disclose to a buyer?
April 1, 2008
Q. I am getting ready to sell my home, what do I need to disclose to the new buyer?
A. In my own opinion ” everything. Disclose, disclose, disclose. And do it right up front. I have seen buyers with very different reactions to property problems depending on what time during the transaction they were told about the problem. In our real estate market, a seller is strongly encouraged to complete a “Sellers Property Disclosure Form”, noting any additional items the seven-page form might somehow neglect to include.
Do not lie on the disclosure form, it may come back to bite you down the road. For example, you know the roof leaks if it rains really hard, but only if it rains really hard, so you choose to not mention the leak problem. After the buyer moves in, it rains really hard and he is chatting with the neighbor, mentioning the leak and the neighbor says “the roof has always leaked when it rains really hard.” The buyer reviews his seller’s property disclosure, does not see any mention of roof leak; he may have a legal right to pursue the seller for damages. Buyers are open minded and understanding of a home being less than perfect, but they want to know sooner than later.
Q. I am negotiating to buy a condo. How do I know my realtor is telling the seller what I am saying?
A. Sometimes negotiations are very straightforward, other times they become convoluted and complicated. As the realtor, I will often convey my buyer’s perspective, requests, and questions via e-mail, including both the realtor and the buyer in the loop to be sure my buyer knows what is being said. It is also important to have a high level of confidence in your realtor’s integrity. Trust is vital to a successful transaction.