Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Disclosing Disclosures

You know you're legally obligated to disclosure, but what exactly are you supposed to disclose? Most states require disclosure of any "material facts," that is, anything that may impact the buyer's decision or price offer, even if these material facts are not apparent. Some examples of material facts include square footage of home, age of property components and systems, leaky roof or flooding basement, asbestos problems in insulation and information about developments that might impact the property such as planned roadways, etc.Disclosure laws vary from state to state. In some cases, you may be legally bound to disclose information about violent crimes that may have occurred on the property, seismic activity reports and the notification to buyers about the availability of a list of registered sex offenders. Check with me, your attorney or city planning department for disclosure requirements specific to your area. You don't want to leave anything out.

If you're questioning whether to disclose something, it's safest just to do so. A buyer who proves you knowingly withheld from them material facts about your property can claim damages suffered or demand price concessions. As your Realtor, I will always be available to help you with any questions about what to disclose.

After you've spoken with me and have created a list of disclosures, it's a good idea to put everything down in writing. Most states require the use of special disclosure forms. After reviewing the form or list, the buyer should acknowledge receipt of the disclosures by signing and dating at the bottom.

The most important thing to remember when disclosing material facts is that anything questionable will more than likely be questioned. Think about what you would want to know about your new home, and use that as a guide for what to disclose to your potential buyers about your home. When in doubt, disclose anyway; it will save you costly legal issues in the future.

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