January 30, 2022

What you as a seller need to know about disclosures

Does the home you’re selling have issues, such as prior flooding or termite damage? Did you know it is required by law to share this information with your buyers? Did you know it can help lead to smoother negotiations? A full disclosure - a seller’s obligation to disclose material facts about properties for sale - is vital when it comes to a successful real estate transaction.

Disclosure laws not only protect the buyers, but the sellers as well. The buyer is less likely to involve the seller in disputes and lawsuits after the sale if the information about the property is revealed upfront. You can contact your San Antonio area REALTOR® for answers about disclosure, but here is information that can help get you started.

What is on a disclosure form?

A disclosure form is a standard notice would-be buyers receive from sellers that addresses any defects the seller is aware of in the property before the sale. The notice must be sent to the would-be buyers on or before the effective date of a real estate contract.

For example, if you, as the seller, know there was a fire previously in the house, you must let the prospective buyers know. Additionally, if the roof has a leak, buyers need to know that as well. On top of Texas disclosure laws, there are federal disclosure laws. For example, someone selling a home built before 1978 must disclose any known lead-based paint problems.

Talking to your REALTOR® can help you understand your responsibilities, but as the seller, intentionally withholding information about a property can have serious legal ramifications later. You do not want to inadvertently leave something out and face the legal backlash later. Something to consider, if you have had an inspection in the last few years, you can share a copy of the report with the next prospective buyer.

What to expect from buyers?

Take yourself back to when you were a buyer, you wanted to ensure you made a worthwhile investment and gathered all the information possible before buying. Your potential buyers will want to do the same. A frequent practice is for buyers to hire an inspector who will supply a report to buyers detailing any potential issues or detailing deficiencies.

An inspector might suggest the buyer hire a specialist to investigate specific elements of your property, such as a structural engineer to examine a potential foundation problem. The buyer can negotiate with you, the seller, on who will pay for these inspections.

Legally, a buyer does not have to supply his inspection report before negotiating repairs. Also, a buyer cannot force you to remediate the issues found on the report. However, once the buyer shares information from the report with you, you now have knowledge of the issues found and you will have to disclose any material defects with other buyers.

For everyone’s protection

Disclosure is a necessary step in a real estate transaction, helping to protect both buyers and sellers. If you have questions about disclosure, ask your REALTOR® for advice.

For information on buying, selling, or leasing your home visit and find a San Antonio area REALTOR® today.