New Jersey is a full disclosure state when it comes to real estate. When you list your home for sale, your Realtor will supply you with a blank form, the Sellers Disclosure. It is not mandatory, yet, for the seller to complete this document and make it available to a prospective buyer. But it may soon be so.
The purpose of the disclosure is to give a potential buyer the necessary information about the major systems in the home so that the buyer can make an informed decision.
The Sellers Disclosure asks a number of questions of the seller. It asks the age of the building, HVAC system, appliances, roof and more. Also it asks questions about the plumbing, electrical systems and (if applicable ) a swimming pool.
The disclosure will also ask questions as to whether or not there have been water leaks, wood destroying insect damage, also damage from fire, wind, smoke or flood. Additional questions will be about the well and septic systems if the property indeed has those systems.
This is just a small sampling of the questions about the home that are asked.
If you have lived in the home, it’s in your best interest (if you are the seller) to fill out the disclosure. It is important to answer all questions truthfully. Do not try to cover up any negative information, as this is a legal, binding document.
If you are the buyer, please read carefully, as you will be required to sign the document, and if something arises that is in the sellers disclosure, you have no further recourse. Also please remember that the sellers disclosure is in no way a substitute for a home inspection.
If you have not lived in the home (you may have inherited the property) there is no reason for you to complete the disclosure. When completing the disclosure only answer questions that you have first hand knowledge of. For example, if you purchased the property and the furnace that was existing at that time is still in service, you probably don’t know exactly how old it is. There is a procedure for answering questions with “unknown”. Please don’t guess about anything.
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