Selling a home is often a landmark event, one that signals the end of one phase of your life and the beginning of another. When the sale is done, you will probably feel a wave of relief, but the steps to get there can take time.
As a seller, you will have a lot to take care of as you prepare to sell your home. Of the many steps, one of the most important is the seller’s disclosure.
What are disclosures? In general, they are the information a property seller must provide to a prospective buyer to ensure they know everything about the property before purchasing it. For buyers and sellers, this provides a sense of security, with each party understanding all the critical details of the home for sale.
The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) has a standard “seller’s disclosure notice” form that sellers will use to disclose important information about their property. The form is extensive, but there are five key components of seller disclosure that are important to know.
First, there’s a section dedicated to what the property does and does not include. This list includes things like whether or not the property has a washer and dryer, security system, pool, grill, natural gas lines, heating systems, etc. The property owner not only checks what the home does and does not have, but they also disclose anything that is not currently in working order.
The disclosure form requires further details about the availability and functionality of smoke detectors in the home. Texas law requires that at least one smoke detector is installed outside of each bedroom.
Additionally, owners have space to disclose any known structural issues, including problems with the roof and/or foundation. Sellers will do their best in this area, but it’s standard practice for homebuyers to have their own independent inspection to ensure there are no issues with the home’s structure.
Sellers are required to disclose information to the best of their knowledge at the time they fill out the form, so they may not be held legally liable for termite damage, for example, if they were genuinely unaware of the termites (termites may be in a home long before there are any visible signs). For buyers, this means working with a Realtor who can provide guidance on what type of inspection a home needs.
Lastly, there’s an extensive section about flooding. This includes previous flood damage and the home’s potential for flooding. Depending on the home’s susceptibility to flooding, homeowners may need flood insurance.
It is important to note that although there is a long list of information to disclose, homeowners aren’t required by law to disclose everything there is to know about a home.
For sellers, disclosing the right information is essential for selling your home. The disclosure helps sellers reduce their risk and provides buyers with additional information. If you have any questions about the disclosure form you can discuss them with your Realtor and have them follow up with the seller.
If you have questions about seller disclosure and want an expert by your side, visit the San Antonio Board of Realtors website at www.sabor.com.