Seller’s, if you are selling your home, be pro-active when it comes to disclosure of your home’s deficiencies. Reduce your risk of being sued by your home’s buyer by being accurate and up-to-date when completing and offering-up the document known as the ‘Seller’s Disclosure (SD).
This is really rather simple.
Ask yourself… ‘If I were buying this house, what would be important for me to know about the house history of damages, repairs, and ongoing/recurring quirks the house has?’.
An example might be a roof leak that you recently had ‘repaired’. If you recently had the roof ‘repaired’ yet it has not yet rained again, just because you paid someone to work on the roof does not mean you are off-the-hook if the roof leaks after your buyer takes possession. You will still have an angry buyer to contend with.
An outdated Seller’s Disclosure can be your worst nightmare. If you complete a ‘Seller’s Disclosure’ and then are subsequently made aware of additional defects as a result of roof leaks, wind damage, plumbing leaks, foundation movement, etc. and you don’t update your SD, you are subject to the same penalties as if you completed an inaccurate SD.
Additionally, if a Home Inspection is performed on your house, and your real estate agent convinces you to not accept a copy of the Inspection Report (so you won’t have to disclose the findings to future potential purchasers of your home), and you are made aware of certain defects, yet fail to update the SD, you have pretty much guaranteed that an angry homebuyer will be able to document that you knowingly withheld information about the condition of your home.
In the event of a lawsuit, Real Estate agents often have Errors & Omissions Insurance that will ‘protect’ them from substantial financial loss. Home Inspectors have Professional Liability insurance that ‘protects’ the Inspector from substantial loss. You, as a seller, will typically be much more impacted than anyone else in the lawsuit. In all likelihood, you simply won’t have an insurance policy that will pay your legal bills or legal judgements.
Full Disclosure before and during a real estate sale is almost guaranteed to cost you, the home seller, far less than a post-transaction lawsuit that demonstrates a willful failure to disclose property defects.