An essential part of a real estate transaction is the Sellers Disclosure. This document is an important piece for both parties to understand and take seriously. So, what exactly is the Sellers Disclosure Notice? Let’s look at the definition straight from TREC: “This disclosure form is required by sellers of previously occupied single family residences. It contains information required to be disclosed by the Texas Property Code regarding material facts and the physical condition of the property.” Let me share my thoughts on its importance:
If you’re a Seller
Sellers sometimes feel that there are too many documents and disclosures required to get their house listed to sell. Believe me, I feel your pain, however don’t take the Sellers Disclosure lightly. It is very important to fill it out in its entirety and honestly. Sellers often shy away from divulging information because they think “It’s a minor thing” or they don’t want something revealed that may impact the chance to sell their home. Don’t think that way! By disclosing any and all defects or issues that you know about your property, you are essentially protecting yourself from future litigation from a buyer that might discover an issue after the sale. If the issue was not revealed and the future owner can prove that you knew about it, you might have a real problem. On the other hand, if you did disclose everything you knew about an issue and the buyer later tries to come after you for remedy, you will likely be protected due to your disclosing it to the buyer prior to them deciding to purchase the property.
Did you know that is it the law in Texas that if your house goes under contract and the buyer has an inspection conducted and they share the report with you or your agent you are required to disclose this inspection report to future buyers? Yes, even if that buyer backs out you must now share that report on a new Sellers Disclosure to future buyers if it was shared with you. This not only applies to a prospective buyer’s inspection report, but to any type of inspection done by a licensed inspector within the last 5 YEARS, this must be included and explained in the Sellers Disclosure. Investors and heirs you are not exempt, you must complete the report to the best your knowledge even if you did not live in the house. PROTECT YOURSELF… COMPLETELY FILL OUT THE SELLERS DISCLOSURE, WHEN IN DOUBT REVEAL.
If you’re a Buyer
Be sure to read the Sellers Disclosure very carefully. Ask questions. Ask for more explanation if items are not clear or incomplete. As stated above some sellers may shy away from revealing everything, so as the buyer, be sure to be thorough and ask for clarity!
Be cautious of the date of when the Sellers Disclosure was filled out by the seller. If the property has been on the market for an extended period of time ask for an updated disclosure. Sellers may push back at this thought due to the inconvenience to them, but it will be best for both parties in the long run.
Consult with your local real estate professional for further details as rules may be different than what we have here in Texas.
As always, if we could be of any additional assistance on this topic or any other real estate matter, please be sure to call us at 979-777-4990 or visit our website at www.melshell.com.