As the age-old saying goes, the truth shall set you free. This axiom rings particularly true when it comes to the intricate art of selling your home. At times, the allure of bending or obscuring certain aspects of your home’s history may seem like an enticing shortcut, especially when dealing with prospective buyers or real estate agents. However, home sellers should exercise utmost restraint when it comes to distorting the facts concerning the vital home disclosures they are obligated to share with potential buyers.
Unveiling the Truth About Disclosures
While it may be tempting to inflate your home’s square footage or downplay a previous mold issue, succumbing to this temptation could jeopardize your chances of a successful sale. Federal laws mandate specific disclosures from sellers, such as informing buyers of the potential presence of lead paint in homes constructed before 1978. Moreover, many states have their own set of disclosure laws. Generally, a standard seller’s disclosure typically covers aspects like the roof’s condition, any history of flooding or severe leaks, foundation defects, past pest infestations, plumbing issues, or boundary disputes.
Here’s a clear guide on what you should never, under any circumstances, state or write when describing your home to potential buyers.
All Appliances Are in Working Condition
Even the tiniest details can hold immense importance in the world of home sales. Jimmy Hughes, a broker with JMR Realty in Oklahoma City, shares an anecdote: “I had a deal almost blow up over a microwave. I was representing both the buyer and the seller, and the seller accidentally checked the wrong box on the disclosure form, indicating that the microwave was in working condition.”
The reality was quite different. While eventually, all parties managed to resolve the issue, it caused “quite a bit of controversy.” Whether it’s a malfunctioning stove burner or a non-functional ice maker, it’s imperative to provide potential buyers with the unvarnished truth about the state of your appliances.
The Closets Offer Ample Space
Is your closet genuinely a walk-in space? If not, it’s crucial not to paint an overly optimistic picture of this seemingly small corner of your home. A walk-in closet should, by definition, allow someone to walk inside comfortably, with enough room for browsing racks and shelves.
This Neighborhood Is Incredibly Peaceful
While it might be tempting to gloss over any unpleasant details about the quality of life in your home’s vicinity, honesty is the best policy. You must be forthright about any neighborly disputes or significant noise sources you’ve encountered.
A minor dispute with a neighbor may seem inconsequential, but it holds legal significance, and sellers have a duty to disclose it.
All Renovations Are Above Board
One surprisingly common misrepresentation involves sellers stretching the truth about a remodel. If it comes to light during the home inspection that unpermitted work has been carried out, it could lead to substantial problems and potentially derail the entire deal.
What Mold Problem?
Even if you’ve successfully eradicated mold or pest infestations from your home, you must disclose their prior presence to potential buyers.
Our Home Holds Only Happy Memories
Sellers with homes that have experienced natural disasters or been the site of significant events, such as crimes, must relay these challenging facts to buyers. Attempting to conceal such information may enhance the property’s appeal temporarily but risks placing the buyer in an undesirable situation.
So, reserve those tall tales for your next campfire gathering. If you choose to misrepresent, exaggerate, or fabricate information in your disclosure statement, be aware that the buyer could decide to walk away—or, in the worst case, pursue legal action against you for fraud.
By Staff writer