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Sellers: It's All About the Disclosures

When it comes to selling your house, one of the most important aspects is disclosure. Although the disclosure form may seem lengthy and confusing, it is crucial to fill it out truthfully and completely. Failure to disclose certain issues or providing false information could result in a lawsuit even after closing, so it's better to be safe than sorry. There are federal, state, and local laws that you must follow when it comes to disclosures. One significant federal requirement is lead paint disclosure for homes built before 1978. State and local laws vary depending on where you live, but common disclosure requirements include:

  • Pest infestations
  • Water infiltration
  • Mold
  • Smoke damage
  • Structural problems
  • Environmental hazards
  • Death in the home

Put it in Writing: It's important to note that disclosures must be in writing for potential buyers, and verbal disclosures do not count. When filling out a disclosure form, you may come across the terms "patent" and "latent." Patent defects are visible and typically do not need to be disclosed, while latent defects are hidden and should be disclosed. Even if you have remedied the problem, it is usually necessary to disclose it as part of the house's history.

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