What legally needs to be disclosed
While it varies from state to state, sellers are generally responsible for letting home buyers know about issues that will impact the house’s value, according to the Robertson Firm’s website. For example, if there are cracks in the foundation, leaks in the roof, or pest control issues, sellers need to disclose this information to prospective buyers.
In fact, sellers can be legally liable should it come to light that they withheld information about major issues. The important thing to note is whether the seller knowingly withheld this information. After all, you can’t tell buyers about issues you’re unaware of yourself.
Possible undiscovered house issues highlight why thorough home inspections are a valuable part of the home selling process, especially for buyers. It’s also easy for interested buyers to look up what permits have been pulled in your house’s lifespan.
Some buyers actually seek out a home in need of repairs. They might be in the market for a fixer-upper, or a house they can get at a discount because of its issues.
Real estate disclosure forms
Each state has its own regulations regarding real estate disclosures as part of a home sale. Both buyers and sellers would benefit from looking up their state’s particular laws.
For example, you may need to disclose when the roof was last replaced, the age of your swimming pool or hot tub and if there has been any water damage to the house.
All of this information is useful to potential buyers so they know the quality of the house they are looking to purchase. It’s also a good way to protect yourself by showing you did your due diligence in reporting issues and repairs to the buyer.
This form also asks sellers to provide contact information for contractors who have previously done work on the house. These contractors may have knowledge about materials used and any issues that arose.
For something as important as the foundation, the buyer will want more information when you disclose foundation repair. Be prepared to let them know what issues arose, such as settling/sinking in the floor, gaps, and cracks.
Also be prepared to report the area(s) of the house where the issues occurred, when it was fixed, and the contact information for the contractor who managed the project.
Disclosing other matters
While the real estate disclosure form has specific questions regarding different areas of the house, it also allows sellers to disclose other matters as well.
For example, the seller’s property disclosure form by the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors asks, “Is there anything else you feel you should disclose to a prospective buyer?”
This form section allows sellers to be upfront about large projects and repairs done in the past, including disclosing foundation repairs.
Issues with the foundation greatly impact the home’s value, and it probably cost you a great deal to repair it.
Even though the problem has been fixed, it’s good for the seller to know that it was done correctly. Including the year you repaired the foundation, the contractor who took care of the project, and any relevant information will allow the buyer to feel more comfortable with the foundation fix. Even though it’s not legally required since it’s not a current problem, something that large is good to share.
On the other hand, there are projects that home buyers probably have little interest in knowing about, such as replacing a bathroom vanity. It’s a good practice to ask yourself, “If I was the buyer, is this something I would want to know about?”
If you hired a real estate agent, they could also help you determine what needs to be shared and what’s irrelevant. When in doubt, ask your agent for their opinion.
What to do if a foundation issue is preventing your house from selling
You can skip the hassles of disclosure and inspections by selling your property to the home buying company Meridian Trust. For more than 15 years, we’ve helped tens of thousands of homeowners by purchasing their homes in “as-is” condition for cash.
Call us for a free, no obligation property value analysis and if we’re able to make you a cash offer, you can decide if you’d like to move forward. There are no hidden fees, and we even cover the closing costs for you.
To get started or learn more, call us at (954) 807-9087.
Note: This guide is for informational purposes only. Meridian Trust does not make any guarantees about the sufficiency of the content in or linked to from this blog post or that it is compliant with current law. The content within this blog post is not a substitute for legal advice or legal services. You should not rely on this information for any purpose without consulting a licensed lawyer in your area.