So you have found the house of your dreams and are ready to put in an offer. Congratulations! However, you still have a little bit of ways of head of you before you can grab the keys to the house and have a summer barbecue. You need to understand the ins and outs of the seller’s disclosure and how this may affect you moving forward.
As a buyer, you have the right to know and understand what is going on with the house, if anything, and how any problems may be remedied. Not only should you not purchase a house until receiving the seller’s disclosure, you should do everything in your power to do legwork of your own, so that you are not solely relying on the discretion of the seller.
What is a seller disclosure?
A seller’s disclosure is required by law in all 50 states. This disclosure is an official document that details any structural, systematic, plumbing, mold, damage or any other issues revolving around the property that a person or company is selling.
By law, the seller must disclose all problems with the house within reason. This helps to protect buyers from being taken advantage of by purchasing a house that is riddled with problems that they were unaware of.
So everything is perfect, right?
Absolutely not. While a seller is required by law to disclose any and all information they were aware of, this in no way protects you against any issues that they were not aware of. It is quite easy for a person unfamiliar with the ins and outs of houses to miss certain issues because they were simply ignorant or unaware.
So what can I do to protect myself?
Plenty! Sellers disclosure or not, buyers are always advised to hire a private home inspector of their own. This person should in no way be involved with the construction or maintenance of the house, so that they have no vested interest in the outcome of the inspection. By getting the house inspected, your personal inspector can find glaring issues that need to be fixed before you consider purchasing the house.
Keep in mind that just because a home has issues doesn’t mean all is lost! In fact, it might be a blessing in disguise to purchase a house that has a few issues. It is much easier to get buyers to decrease the final price if the house has a few issues that are not deal breakers.
In fact, you can pay to have the item fixed yourself at a reduced rate, or have the seller can knock something off of the price in order to make it worth your while, to still accept the deal. Regardless of what you need, make sure that you are aware of this disclosure and follow it to a tee.
This seller’s disclosure can save you a lot of time and energy during the home buying process, which will make your life easier in the long run. Mortgages are for 30 years, so the last thing you want to do is purchase a home that you don’t feel right about. There’s a difference between a gutter that needs to be fixed and a house that is infested with mold. Weigh your options to see what can be fixed and what you are willing to pass on.