A seller disclosure is a form where the seller lists any known defects or problems with the home and the surrounding property. It is typically given to the buyer after an offer is made. This provides protection to the buyer by giving advance notice of any repairs that may need to happen. This also provides great protection for the seller by ensuring a fair and informed transaction. By revealing your property’s flaws in a translucent and balanced way you afford each party to go into the sale with eyes wide open.
Buyers will often conduct their own walk through of the home and have an inspection done prior to the purchase of a home but almost inevitably many will discover defects after closing. By completing a seller disclosure for the buyer and disclosing, or making the buyer aware, of as many defects as possible before the closing you will increase the buyers awareness and reduce the chance of a lawsuit in the future.
We advise our clients to make the following disclosures to avoid legal liability:
Federal law requires that home sellers in every state of the US notifies buyers of potential lead-based paint in the home (if the home was built before 1978. (See 42 U.S.C. § 4851 et. seq.)
Required Disclosures in Utah
In Utah, sellers are required to notify the buyer if there have ever been “use, storage, or manufacture of methamphetamines” on the property.
General Disclosures To Avoid Legal Liability
Disclose any knowledge of the following information to the buyer:
- zoning or legal violations on the property
- legal actions that will affect the property
- if the location is within a Greenbelt
- any problems with the roof
- oustanding utility payments
- culinary water problems
- damages to septic or sewer
- damages to heating or cooling devices
- damaged appliances
- structural defects
- termite problems
- existing rot
- existing mold
- remodeling that have been done
- boundary disputes
- electrical problems
- existing water damage
- any toxins
- potential or existing hazards
- HOA conflicts or problems, past due payments
- any damage reported to home owners insurance
Remember that no house is perfect and no level-headed buyer will expect your home and property to be perfect. Providing your buyer with a list of defects won’t kill the deal but will only help protect from lawsuits later down the road. Jensen and Company can help you as a seller prepare a sufficient disclosure. Although the paperwork is simple and straightforward it is critical to have it reviewed and completed with professional guidance in order to make the purchase happens and avoid fraud litigation if the buyer maintains that information was withheld from them.