Seller’s Disclosures

You have made the decision to purchase a particular home and you have walked through it and tested various aspects of it. However, you will not know about most of the problems until you have actually lived there for awhile. This is one of the reasons the buyer is at a disadvantage. To counteract this, the seller, who has lived in the home for several years probably, knows more about the home than you do. As a result, the buyer has the right to require the seller to fully disclose any problems to the buyer before the purchase is final.

The disclosure process should reveal any conditions that will have a significant impact on a buyer’s decision to purchase the property. Foundational problems, a prior flooding, plumbing problems and other hazardous conditions may discourage the buyer from buying the home and rightfully so. The buyer can put a contingency in their offer to purchase that requires any of these problems to be fixed before the purchase is final.

With a real estate agent, full disclosure is nearly automatic. But if you do not have a realtor working on your behalf, you may not think about asking the seller for full disclosure. Also, remember that banks are not always required to give full disclosures if they are selling foreclosed properties.

Property’s Condition
When making an offer to purchase, make it clear about the condition of the property before you move in. Define the minimum standards that must be met for cleanliness and any other standards you have before you move into your new home. Otherwise, the seller could leave piles of trash everywhere upon moving out and you would have no recourse. Some standards to consider include a roof that is not leaking, satisfactory plumbing and a clean yard, among other things.

Home Inspections
Before making your final agreement to purchase the home, always require that the home passes inspection by professional inspectors. You might think walking through it and inspecting it yourself is good enough, but a professional inspector will see things that the untrained eye cannot see. Many of the things turned up in the inspection are not things that the seller has to repair before closing on the deal. However, it is a good idea to know about these issues before moving in so you can be prepared to fix them.

Do not just glance at your home inspection report once it is done. The seller might be in a hurry to sell, but take your time to ensure you know exactly what the report says before agreeing to closing the deal. If there are major problems on the report, you may want to negotiate with the seller on the price or repairs. As a general rule, allow no more than 15 days to get the report completed and about five days to look it over.

Final Walk-Through Inspections
One final thing to do before finally closing on the real estate transaction is to walk through the home one more time. Look to make sure the repairs you required have been made and the property is in the condition you stipulated in your contingency. Your final walk through should be completed no earlier than five days before the closing date. Also, make sure you have included the right for a final inspection in your offer to purchase or else the seller may deny it.