What is the Seller’s Disclosure?
There are state and federal laws which require the sellers of a home to tell what they know about a home. After all, an inspection may not find everything that is wrong with a home. This is because the inspector is not allowed to open a wall to see what is behind the sheet rock. And in many instances, the inspector cannot see what is under a home. This means that the buyers have to rely on truthful information from the sellers regarding the systems, appliances and the rest of the home.
When you list your home for sale, your Realtor will provide you with a copy of a form called a Real Estate Disclosure Statement. New Jersey has made this a requirement. Although, in certain circumstances, it is not a requirement. As an example, let’s say you inherited a property, and you never lived there. You cannot be expected to know every about the property, just what is visually evident.
What Does it Disclose?
The Sellers Disclosure requires you to disclose the presence of asbestos, radon, lead paint and other toxic substances if you aware that these substances exist in the home. But, you are not required to have tests done to determine if they are there. However, the buyer or their lender has the right to perform these tests.
The form asks many questions about the home. There are questions about the HVAC systems, exterior and roof, property, electrical and plumbing systems and more. If at any time there was a flood, fire or other catastrophe, you must disclose that also. Answer truthfully, as this is a legal document.
And if I don’t know the Answer?
If you do not know the answer to a question, answer “I don’t know”. Example – the same roof is on the house that was there when you purchased the home. You have no direct knowledge of how old the roof is, so check “I don’t know”.
The disclosure is designed to let the buyer know what you know about the property, and to hold you and your Realtor harmless if you have told the truth about the property.
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