Selling a home is a complex process that involves rules of disclosure and representations made by the seller. Accurate representation of the property is crucial to ensure you are not exposed to liabilities that can cost thousands of dollars to remedy. So, what are the most common mistakes we have come across? How can they be avoided?
The law requires the seller to disclose any latent defect which cannot be reasonably discovered by an inspection of the property by a qualified home inspector. For example if a seller covered up a large crack in the basement wall that is deemed to affect the structure, or constructed an addition to a house or built a garage and has not obtained the appropriate permits, the seller must disclose these facts. If the seller is aware of any health and/or safety issues such as the presence of lead based paint, toxic mold and asbestos they must also be disclosed.
The fact that the buyer may have performed a home inspection on your property before finalizing the offer does not necessarily eliminate your responsibility to disclose these problems.
These are just a few of many mistakes that can cost a seller thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars to remedy. Therefore it is critical to discuss these issues with your agent. Your objective should be to minimize the financial cost, yet abide by the rules of disclosure and representation. It is also advisable to give all this information to your agent, in writing, to avoid the “he said she said” trap which can only lead to litigation between you and your agent.
If you are unsure about the disclosure requirements then it is wise to contact a real estate lawyer.