Disclosures are forms filled out by the seller of the property to inform buyers about the home and property. Sellers are required to include all known defects, for both current and past issues, to potential buyers. When completed correctly, disclosures can also keep sellers safe from legal action down the road.
What is included in a disclosure?
Disclosure forms vary from state to state, but they generally include a series of questions the seller answers yes, no, or unknown, with space for elaboration.
Seller’s disclosures list all known problems, as well as upgrades and renovations.
A disclosure form can include questions about:
- Heating and cooling
- Hot water
- Well Water
- Foundation or Structure
- Interior walls
- Exterior siding
- Patio or deck
- Termite or pest infestation issues
- Lead paint
Where do Home Inspections come in?
This depends on the seller.
Owners can choose to have an inspection before they list their property for sale. In this case, sellers must disclose everything they learn from the inspection. They can either fix any issues that arise (which would also need to be disclosed on the form) or simply include any found defects on the disclosure.
Many sellers wait for the buyer to schedule the inspection. The potential buyers can ask the inspector to pay extra attention to known defects that are on the disclosure form. In this case, issues that were unknown to the seller (and therefore not on the disclosure) may arise during the inspection.
While sellers should disclose every defect they are aware of, this doesn’t always happen. When buying a home, review the disclosure and home inspection carefully with your real estate agent. Once you sign the disclosure, you become responsible for any additional issues with the defects disclosed.