Selling a home usually involves more than one negotiation session with the buyer. The first round of negotiations involves the buyer and the seller agreeing on a sales price and the terms of the sale. Then, the second phase of negotiations happens after an inspection is performed on the house and you have disclosed the defects of the house to the buyer. As you can see, the deal is not necessarily set in stone after the first negotiation. The buyer consents to the sales agreement only after they accept the true condition of the home.
It may seem confusing, but it’s a lot like buying a used car. You have a price in mind initially by the looks of the vehicle, make, and model. After giving it a test drive and inspection, you may notice that the transmission makes noise or the tires don’t have good tread. So you then negotiate another price based on the actual condition of the car. Selling a home is not that much different than that.
So what must you disclose to the buyer? Well, most states have laws which make it necessary for sellers to inform buyers of known property defects. If you don’t disclose problems before the sale is final, the buyers could sue for damages later. You may even be required to disclose defects that you are not even aware of! This is why it’s best to hire a professional inspector to determine if there are any hidden issues with your home.
Here are some problems that you need to disclose when you sell your property:
One of the main concerns with water damage is that in can lead to black mold (see below). Water damage can be a result of a leaking pipe, damaged toilet, or a leaky roof. Any damage from water should be professionally repaired.
While you should disclose a leaking roof, you may not be required to fix it. Of course, a leaking roof leads to water damage. And if you wait until you sell your home to acknowledge a leaking roof, the buyer may even demand a total roof replacement. So it’s best to disclose this to buyers.
Black mold could mean a serious problem (and a potentially expensive one too). Black mold must be professionally removed along with the moisture that causes it. If you don’t disclose to buyers that you have black mold in your home, you could face serious claims for damage repair after the home has been sold.
Home sellers are required by the federal government to provide information to potential buyers about lead paint. This refers to homes that were built before 1978.
While problems with the structure of your home may mean a lower price for the sale, if you don’t disclose the issues you could face serious implications later on down the line.
Remember to give all disclosures in writing, and get a signature for acceptance from the buyer.