What To Disclose When Selling Your Home
Selling • April 9, 2021
As the Real Estate begins to gear up for a very active spring market, sellers are busy touching up their homes and making any last-minute updates before hammering down the “For Sale” signs and inviting buyers to take a look. While considerations such as what updates will bring in the highest Return on Investment (ROI) or how to stage your home to amplify its greatest assets will most definitely cross your mind, one thing that is commonly brought up is what exactly do you have to disclose when selling.
Whether or not you use a REALTOR(r) to help sell your home, you have a certain set of responsibilities to respect when disclosing information. Your house might not be in perfect condition, but are you obligated to divulge every detail? Here’s your answer.
Physical and Latent Defects
The first thing to know is that there are both Physical defects, and Latent Defects. Physical defects are those that you can see, and generally affect the aesthetic of the home, such as damaged flooring. These defects do not have to be disclosed. However, latent defects are those that can not be seen under normal inspection. If the seller is aware of any latent defects that could make the home inhabitable, unfit, or dangerous for the buyer, then the seller is obligated to disclose the information.
A main concern for buyers, especially those looking at resales of much-dated properties is the presence of asbestos in the house. Homes built prior to the 1980s had used asbestos as a form of insulation or used other home materials that contained it. These materials were later banned, but various buildings still contain asbestos products to this day.
Unfortunately, when asbestos becomes airborne, the dust can be toxic and ultimately become a cause for concern to a person’s health. The short answer to whether or not you have to disclose this information is yes. If you are aware of asbestos in your home, it is yours and the agent’s responsibility to ensure potential buyers are aware.
The presence of mould in a home can be unsafe for its occupants. If the seller is aware of this defect in their home, they are obligated to disclose this to the REALTOR ® to ensure potential buyers are aware.
If the cause of the flood is not presenting a risk to the homeowner, and there is no damage as a result of it, then the sellers do not have to disclose this information. However, if there is a crack in the foundation that puts the home at risk for future flooding, this is a defect that must be disclosed
When it comes to a sellers responsibility to disclose information, reflect on whether or not the issue could affect the sale negatively later on, or produce a lawsuit down the road. Also note that once your REALTOR(r) is informed of any issues, whether patent, latent, or stigmatizing concerns such as a death in the house, they may be bound by a moral code of ethics to disclose the information to any potential buyer. The best policy is to be open and honest about the condition of the house to avoid any headaches down the road.