If you are selling your home on your own, you are responsible for completing the steps that a real estate agent would normally do. You have probably already fixed up the inside and outside of the house, knowing this is important to sell. You have set a reasonable price and have begun to advertise your home for sale. Now it’s time to sit back and wait for those offers to pour in. Well, actually, it’s not. Before you can even think about offers from prospective buyers you need to prepare the property disclosures. As the owner/seller, the property disclosures you reveal will detail the age of your property, and any problems with the property or any buildings or trees on, or that extend beyond, the property. You must also reveal whether the home is on an earthquake fault, or in a flood zone, or in Tornado Alley. Even something as normal as living under the path of airport traffic can affect the possible sale of your home. Buyers do take all the above into consideration when choosing a location. While real estate agents do have to file property disclosure forms in every state, not every state requires homeowners selling their property on their own to do the same. However, state laws may require you to at least verbally tell any prospective buyer about any issues. Contact a real estate agent or real estate attorney if you are unsure just what you do need to disclose. These professionals can guide you through the process of what you should be telling the buyers. One example of a property disclosure would be telling prospective buyers the home was built before 1978 and may contain lead paint. This must be disclosed no matter what state you live in, it is required by federal law. After this disclosure, the buyer has ten days to have the place inspected for lead based paint. You could face a lawsuit if you fail to disclose this information and the buyer finds lead paint after the home has sold. Sellers must disclose all material facts pertaining to the property. You do have to tell buyers about any defects in any part of the home, especially if these details could cause someone to change their mind about buying your home. You might want to withhold some of this information – knowing it will cost you the sale of your home – but doing so would just be costly to you. A buyer that is negatively impacted by a material problem you did not reveal can sue you for thousands of dollars. It’s always better to disclose all facts before any sale. Property disclosures were designed to protect the buyer and the seller. The buyers are given all the information about the house. They are able to make an informed decision with this knowledge. Sellers are protected from lawsuits because they have completely informed the buyer of all issues. The buyer cannot claim he was uninformed if the property disclosure reveals something different. It is important to note that as a home owner selling your own property it is up to you to keep proper records of all property disclosures you give to your prospective buyers, especially the buyer that closes the deal. Failure to do so could result in legal troubles you can live without.
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