The most important disclosure you need to make – and one that is a federal law -- is whether or not your home may contain lead paint. How do you know if your home has lead paint? If it was constructed before 1978, you need to have it checked by a professional and both buyer and seller must sign a disclosure. Agents are also required to provide a pamphlet from the EPA about how to deal with lead-based paint. If your home was built after 1978, you’re in the clear.
Crime or death
In some locations, sellers are required to disclose whether or not a crime or death has happened on the property. If you’re a buyer, you can even check the address for yourself at this website for a fee.
Whether or not ghosts are real is up for debate. Nevertheless, some states do require that sellers disclose any paranormal activity in the home. If you think your house is haunted, you should disclose it. Even if you think it sounds silly.
Most states require that sellers disclose if there are any infestations or problems with pests in the home. This can include mice, bats, raccoons and snakes. If your home has been treated for termites, this is also something you should be sure to tell a potential buyer.
If you have a basement that floods or a roof that leaks, it is important that you make these issues known. Make sure to provide copies of insurance claims or receipts if water damage is an issue you’ve addressed in the past.
If water has entered your home, it could lead to mold – which is another issue you need to disclose. While most homes contain mold of some kind, it is black mold that can be toxic and needs to be disclosed. This includes whether or not you’ve done mold remediation in the past. Other types of toxic materials that need to be disclosed are radon in basements and asbestos in insulation.
Disputes with neighbors
Is part of your fence on the neighbor’s property, or is their fence on yours? Have you had any disputes with neighbors over property lines? These issues should be disclosed. In addition, while it may not be required, you may want to be upfront if there are any other issues with the neighbors. This could include if they have frequent loud parties late into the night or a particularly aggressive and loud dog.
Check state regulations
Your real estate agent should be well versed in what disclosures need to be made in your state. You can also check for yourself to make sure all your bases are covered. When in doubt, honesty is generally the best policy. By disclosing all known major issues upfront, you are protecting yourself from possible litigation in the future.
Compliments of Carol and Patti