How much information does a prospective home buyer need?
After living in your home for a few years, you’re used to its quirks. The squeaking floorboard by the stairs probably doesn’t bother you anymore, the rear left burner on your stove no longer lights and you have to allow twenty minutes for your bath water to heat up after your spouse showers.
Despite how endearing you find those things that give your home character, not everyone will appreciate them. Before you put your home on the market, consider what will be important to someone else when they think about buying your house. And how will you command the best possible sale price, yet make potential buyers aware of the unseen problems with your property?
What do you need to disclose when you sell your home?
There are many things you can do to increase your list price, and while someone looking to buy a home probably won’t expect your house to be perfect, there are some pieces of information you should disclose. This can help you negotiate an appropriate dollar amount with your buyer, make them aware of additional costs they might incur and establish your defense against future legal action.
There may be home-related concerns about which you are unaware. However, you should disclose information to the best of your knowledge.
Your written disclosures may include:
- General information about the title, occupancy and inspection of your home
- Any structural modifications you’ve made, necessary foundation repairs or soil problems surrounding your property
- The age of your roof, and whether you have contracted repairs or know of any existing defects, damage or warranties
- Past or present pest infestation, mildew or dry rot damage
- Undetectable storm or fire damage to your home’s windows, flooring, walls, or structure
You may also be wise to disclose the presence of lead-based paint or any deaths that took place at your residence. And pre-sale inspections may provide further insight into the agreements you make with your buyer, as well as your protections once the sale is complete.
You can’t make accurate predictions about what someone else will experience once they gain ownership of your home, and you likely won’t know what concerns your prospective buyers have. However, the best thing you can do to help others establish their future in your home is to provide transparency about its past.