Depending On Seller Disclosure Is A Risky Leap Of Faith | Propertylogy

Depending On Seller Disclosure Is A Risky Leap Of Faith

By on October 31, 2019

While the majority of home sellers are not crooks and have no intention to deceive, they are also fully in their right to seek the best possible deal from a potential buyer.

Couple that with knowledgeable real estate agents who know the rules and regulations like the back of their hands, most sellers only disclose as much information about their house as the law requires them to.

Real estate is a tricky industry filled with blur lines, diverse interpretations, gray areas, and things that people know but do not say.

This makes it very difficult for law agencies to clearly define what is allowed and what is not.

Seller disclosure is one of those things that both buyers and sellers have to navigate in order to get the most of a transaction.

A buyer would inevitably want to get good value for what he paid. The seller would want to get as high a price as possible from the sale.

Most states require home sellers to disclose certain information pertaining to a property. Especially with known problems.

This simple term of known problems can also cause chaos in terms of interpretation.

This basically means that if there is a serious problem with the property but it is not known by the seller, the seller would have no liability for not disclosing it… as he was not aware of anything to disclose!

In addition to that, what constitute to problem is also up to interpretation. This is because what a buyer deems as a problem might not be defined as such by a seller.

Seller disclosures

While you cannot depend on a seller’s disclosure to be the whole truth, what is disclosed and declared on their part can be deemed as truth.

What one must be aware of is that a seller is under no obligation to disclose any facts or adverse property conditions that he is not aware of.

This implies that even if the piping system has been choking for a while, and there has been no professional inspection on the piping system to diagnose it as a problem, the seller can rightfully omit this information from a buyer as he is not aware of any problems.

Seller disclosures are also just a fancy term for descriptions of conditions that are current or in the past. And a seller would be home free once ownership has changed hands.

For example, if the ventilation system is as good as dead, if the seller is able to revive it for a day during the open house and walkthrough, then it’s the new owner’s problem when it breaks down again a week after handover.

This is assuming that there is no guarantee provided by the seller.

Moreover, adverse conditions that sellers are required to declare are subject to interpretation.

A planned construction that would commence next month which would fully obstruct the view of a penthouse might not be perceived as a problem to the seller. But a big reason why a buyer bought the property could be because of the current view.

Then there is the rule that don’t require sellers to disclose obvious problems in some states.

For example, a crack in the wall can be deemed as an obvious problem that a buyer would discover. So they are not required to turn the buyer’s attention to them.

Yet buyers can still missed them when excitement was in the air.

We are merely scratching the surface here.

As you can see, while disclosure can be helpful in the assessment of a house to purchase, it would be naive to think that they are all that is needed to determine if it is in a reasonable condition.

This is why it is always best to hire professional home inspectors to inspect a house so that you would be informed of minor and major problems that you would have to deal with as the new owner.


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