When selling a property, whether it’s a home or commercial property, there are a number of disclosures that are mandated by law. In fact, some of these real estate disclosures go far beyond a leaky roof or the basement’s propensity to flood in heavy rains. Plus, there are differences from state to state, which can complicate matters even further. So what do residents need to disclose? A refresher can be helpful for real estate agents, so that’s precisely what we’ll explore in today’s article from Southern Connecticut Coldwell Banker Realtor Judy Szablak and founder of Szablak Consulting.
What Real Estate Disclosures Are Required When Selling a Home?
The general rule when it comes to real estate disclosures is this: the homeowner (or property owner) must disclose any and all information that could impact the value of the property and the property’s desirability to the potential buyer.
On a practical level, this requirement is designed to protect home buyers from a situation where a property owner conceals important information in an attempt to sell the home to an unsuspecting buyer. For example, if a buyer purchases a home in the middle of winter, there may not be any evidence present to indicate that this home’s basement is prone to flooding when heavy rains occur during the springtime. There are some properties that flood on a fairly regular seasonal basis, so this would be a good example of a mandatory disclosure because it’s something that the new owner would need to know since water damage can have a major impact on property value.
Other examples of issues that would necessitate disclosure include a leaky roof, prior fire damage, prior flood and water damage, and damage from natural disasters, such as earthquakes.
In California, which is a state that’s known for having some very stringent disclosure requirements for real estate, homeowners are required to disclose if there has been a death in the home in the past three years. While at first glance, this may seem like a rather odd requirement that’s seemingly designed to protect the superstitious folks who believe in hauntings, a death on the property can have some significant effects in terms of the structure’s value.
For example, if someone died inside the home and the body was not found for several weeks, then this would create a situation where the remains would be allowed to decompose. Body fluids can seep into floorboards, walls, ceilings and even into concrete. The odor can also be very extreme, penetrating the home in a manner that’s extremely difficult to fully eradicate. The property may appear perfectly normal under most circumstances, but hot, humid conditions tend to amplify odors, so a home that’s typically odor-free may mysteriously take on an unsettling odor of death in the summer heat.
A home that’s the site of a notorious crime could attract visitors and macabre tourists — a fact that a potential buyer would definitely want to consider when purchasing the property. (Though in some rare instances, a property’s macabre history can serve as a major selling point!)
California even requires homeowners to reveal the presence of neighborhood issues that can impact qualify of life. For example, if the neighbor’s dogs bark incessantly, this would be considered a mandatory disclosure. California also requires real estate sellers to disclose that there is a database of registered sex offenders and if one of these individuals happens to live in your area, it could become a factor in your home sale.
So what happens if a seller fails to disclose key information about the property? Well, if the buyer has reason to believe that the prior owner was aware of the problem, but failed to disclose that information prior to the sale, then the buyer may take the seller to court to seek damages. It’s also possible that a Realtor could face some adverse consequences if it’s discovered that the real estate agent was complicit in concealing and withholding information from the new buyer.
To minimize the chances of a problem, Realtors should encourage their clients to hire a third party home inspector to visit the property. This can provide your client with greater peace of mind since they can proceed into the transaction with confidence knowing that there’s little chance of any unrealized issues causing a problem down the road.
Tips to Grow Your Career With Szablak Consulting Founder and Realtor Judy Szablak
Getting started in real estate and setting off down the path toward success can be a real challenge. But this is where you can benefit from working with a career consultant like Judy Szablak. She can provide new real estate agents with valuable insights and recommendations that give them a competitive edge in today’s real estate industry. A consultant will not only offer advice and recommendations, but she will also share her valuable knowledge and expertise on topics such as online marketing for Realtors and social media marketing to get leads, to sales motivation tips and other tips to sell more homes!
Aspiring top producing real estate agents may also with consider reading Realtor Judy Szablak’s related article with advice to help you enjoy a long lasting real estate career.
If you’re ready to take your career to the next level or are just starting working as a Realtor, turn to real estate professional and consultant Judy Szablak, founder and CEO of Szablak Consulting and Best Agents Online, LLC. With Judy’s guidance and expertise, you’ll take your career to incredible places, finding success that’s beyond what you believed to be possible!
If you’re a real estate agent who is ready to elevate your sales or if you’re a realty owner or manager who’s seeking a dynamic, expert coach to bring a new element of professionalism to your sales team and your brokerage firm, turn to Realtor Judy Szablak of Szablak Consulting. Call 855.438.5839 or complete the booking form.