What Disclosures are needed and by who?

SELLERS  DISCLOSURE:  In almost all States it is a law that all sellers, (by owner or with a Real Estate Professional) must fill out a form entitled Sellers Disclosure.  This form is to be filled out by the Seller only and cannot be filled out or the questions answered by anyone else.  This information is from the time the Seller Purchased the home until the present time of ownership.

WHAT TYPE OF QUESTIONS ARE THERE ?:  The form will ask how long you have owned the home.  It may also cover questions regarding the condition of furnace, air conditioner, appliances, electrical, roof, basement, foundation, and type of insulation, how close you are to a dump site, airport, gun range, or other noise factors that a buyer should be aware of.  It may ask if you are in a flood zone, or have flood insurance. It may ask questions if there has ever been fire or water damage to the home and if there have been any signs of Mold. It may ask about well and septic conditions or if you are on city water and sewer.  You are required to answer only what you know from the time you have owned the home.  If this was an investment home and you have never lived in it, you are required to answer only the questions that you can about the home and state on the form that you have never lived in the home.  Check with a local  REALTOR® OR Board of REALTORS® in your area for what your State may require.  You might also be able to find your State Requirements on line.

WHERE DO I GET THE SELLERS DISCLOSURE FORM?  You can get the Forms on line, but there is a fee or  you can get this form from most Real Estate Offices or  Title Companies for FREE.  You also may be able to find them with other forms at your local Office Supply Store.

LEAD PAINT DISCLOSURE:  Another Law in most States requires you to give the Buyer a Lead Paint Disclosure.  This is required if your home was built prior to 1978.  Before 1978, all paint was lead based.  Today it is believed that peeling or chipped paint on an older home can be dangerous.  Children have been known to eat pieces of paint and become ill.  It is also dangerous to inhale the dust from cutting through walls that have been painted with lead paint.  A mask should be worn when doing remodeling of an older home.

WHAT IF THE HOME HAS BEEN FRESHLY PAINTED?  The walls being freshly painted does not change the fact that there is lead based paint under the fresh paint unless the walls have been replaced with new drywall and the old walls removed.

DO I HAVE TO REMOVE THE WALLS TO BE SAFE?  NO, just remember to wear a mask if remodeling and make sure there is no chipping or peeling paint exposed.  If you want to have your walls and home inspected for Lead Based Paint and find out options about removing it, there are inspectors that specialize in that again can be found on line.

WHEN DO I NEED TO GIVE THE BUYER THE DISCLOSURE?  The Buyer should be given all disclosures before signing an Offer to Purchase. With the Lead Paint Disclosure, you must give the buyer a 10 day period unless you agree with the buyer, in writing, to another period of time to conduct a risk assessment or inspection.  The buyer can void the Purchase Contract and receive their deposit back if these disclosures are not given to them or with-in the inspection time they choose not to proceed with the Purchase.

WHY SHOULD I FILL OUT THE DISCLOSURE?  Filling out a Sellers Disclosure and if needed a Lead Paint Disclosure is the LAW when transferring property in MOST STATES.  This also is a good way to avoid legal problems later after the sale due to something not working.  Because of this, it is best to answer as many of the questions as you can and always honestly.  When selling your home it can be helpful to have an independent inspector go over your home and receive a written report so you have the option of doing any repairs needed before the home is on the market.  This will also help you know many answers that may be on the disclosure form.  Inspectors often do Well & Septic, interior, exterior, roofs, basements, mold, electrical, and Radon.  Prices depend on how many services you have done and size of the home.  It is usually a few hundred dollars.

RADON TESTING:  Radon is an odorless and tasteless gas caused by the decay of soil and water.  It is a cancer causing natural radioactive gas.  This should be tested for by hiring a qualified Radon Inspector.  You can also purchase a Radon testing Kit and do it yourself.  Before you decide, you should check out www.radontestinglab.com  This site will give you all the added information to help make that decision.  If the radon levels are high, a Mitigation System can be installed and that corrects the problem.  Systems vary on cost, but usually start around $1,500 and higher.