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Selling Your Home? Be an Open Book!

If you have your home for sale or are planning to list it soon, keep in mind the importance of disclosing important facts about your property to any prospective buyers.

Many homeowners fear that sharing negative information about their property will scare away buyers. Usually, the opposite is true. If a buyer feels that you are not being forthcoming about the home and are perhaps dishonest by omission, they tend to walk away from the purchase due to distrust. On the other hand, if you lay all of your cards on the table from the beginning, buyers know what they are dealing with and can feel confident in their decision to move forward with the purchase.

Not only is it good practice to be completely truthful, it’s the law. If you sell your home with a problem that you didn’t disclose, you aren’t necessarily off the hook once the home has closed escrow. In fact lawsuits and claims against sellers are quite common once a buyer discovers something about the property that wasn’t disclosed before the purchase. The last thing anyone wants is the headache of litigation.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has a Seller’s Disclosure Statement. This form is designed to assist sellers in disclosing material facts about the property. Sellers are instructed to answer the questions as truthfully as possible and to attach any supporting documentation. The form is not required for new construction properties.

Your Realtor will supply you with a Seller’s Disclosure Statement form when you initially list your property. The form is required to be delivered to a buyer on or before the effective date of a contract and becomes part of the contract paperwork. The seller signs the form when they complete it and the buyer signs the form to acknowledge they have received and read the form.

Common items to disclose are any past or current problems with the home such as roof leaks, plumbing issues, a cracked foundation, etc. You’ll need to disclose if your property is in a flood zone, if there are endangered species or their habitat on your property and if the home is part of a homeowners association. If the home was built before 1978, the possible presence of lead-based paint must be disclosed.

So, as Nat King Cole once sang, “…straighten up and fly right,” you’ll want to be sure that in selling your home, you do just that! Disclose, disclose, disclose!

Source: Desert Lifestyle Publishing

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