Thursday, October 22, 2009

Seller's Property Disclosure Statement; Repairs and past conditions

If you are selling real estate, you should be certain to be thorough in completing the Seller's Property Disclosure Statement.

Many sellers believe that if they have fixed a problem, they are safe in answering "no" to certain questions. An example occurs in question 6 (a), where the seller is asked whether he is "aware of any past or present water leakage. . . ." Many sellers answer "no" because they replaced the roof in response to prior leaks and the problem no longer exists. It is a mistake to answer the question this way. This question (as well as others) asks about "past" conditions as well as "present" conditions. Just because you have fixed the problem does not mean you need not disclose the conditions about which the question is asked.

The buyer will eventually find out about past conditions and problems (usually after he moves in to the house and talks with the neighbors). If those problems reappear (or if new problems arise) the buyer will use any inaccuracy in the seller's completion of the form to justify a lawsuit against the seller. Any inaccuracy in the form will play very badly against the seller in court.

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