Statutory Disclosure Requirements...
When we meet to place your property on the market, in addition to signing a listing agreement, I will give you some important "homework assignments" to complete,
As you read these forms, you may realize that the answers to some of the items could hurt that glowing image of your home that you want to present to prospective buyers.
Do you really need to answer all of these questions? Yes! Fill out the Statements and Checklist completely and to the best of your knowledge. Anything less may lead to problems long after the sale.
Sellers are required by law to disclose facts which materially affect the value or desirability of their property. The Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement helps a seller meet this requirement by providing a standardized format for the information.
Few people enjoy, or can afford, unexpected problems. Problem conditions made known to buyers before the purchase are often easier to accept, and can be handled right up front.
If you know about a problem, but don't fully disclose it, the buyer may be able to rescind the purchase and recover monetary damages. Full disclosure can reduce or eliminate the possibility of a later legal action.
The Physical Inspection...
In addition to your written disclosures, professional inspections are also highly recommended. The professional physical inspection is usually scheduled to take place within a few days after you and the buyer have reached mutual agreement on price and terms.
The Structural Pest Control Inspection...
Often referred to as a "termite report", the structural pest control inspection is conducted by a state licensed inspector. In addition to actual termite damage, the pest report will indicate any type of wood destroying organisms that may be present, including fungi (sometimes called "dry rot"), which generally results from excessive moisture.
Can I sell my home "as-is"?
Yes. But, selling "as-is" does not release the seller from the duty to disclose. In a recent Court of Appeal decision, Loughrin vs. Superior Court, the appeals court held that a sale "as-is" does not absolve sellers from liability if they negligently misrepresent or conceal material facts regarding the property. The court stated the "contrary to the apparent assumptions of many people dealing in real estate (including some brokers), a sale "as is" is not the equivalent of a waiver of potential claims of misrepresentation." Basically, the court reasoned that even a detailed "as-is" disclaimer did not address the issues of misrepresentation, concealment, or negligence. The "as is" sale simply means the buyer accepts the property in the condition visible or observable by him.
Look out! Simply "overlooking" some fact about your property's condition could be construed by a court as negligent concealment.
So, What To Do...?
Carefully consider your answers on all of the disclosure forms. Give detailed answers. Use extra sheets if necessary. Previous problems should be disclosed, even if you believe the problem has been fixed.
Do you have copies of invoices for repairs, improvements, and alterations made to the property during your ownership? Make copies of them to attach to your disclosure. Copies of plans, permits, and other related documents should also be included with your disclosure statement. Think back; has there ever been a dispute with a neighbor over property lines, trees, or other issues? Even if the conflict was resolved long ago, make a note of it in your disclosure. After you're gone, neighbors can and do say the darnest things. Encourage your prospective buyer to obtain a professional physical inspection. Make your property accessible for all contracted inspections. When in doubt, err on the safe side and disclose, disclose, disclose!