04 Jan Does Home Disclosure Need to Include Home Repairs in San Diego?
Home repairs are part and parcel of owning a home. But when the time comes time to sell, does a home disclosure need to include those repairs?
It could be a conundrum. Buyers want and deserve to have a full picture of the home they are buying and the condition it is in. But disclosing a previous home repair might actually turn off a potential buyer. A foundation that has had repairs for leaks several times over in recent years, for instance, might signal to the buyer that they could have a major water problem on their hands. Both ethical and legal considerations come into play when you are debating whether or not to confess to a previous repair.
What do you need to disclose to the buyer?
Federal seller disclosure laws require that sellers be honest and open about the existence of lead-based paint in a house. But many laws regarding what a seller needs to share with a buyer are made at the state level. This means your state may or may not require that you disclose a repair done previously.
Does home disclosure have to include a previous repair?
The law dictates that each significant repair made since purchasing a property needs to be disclosed. Your real estate agent will be able to advise you on what regulations must be followed in your state, so it’s best to disclose a previous repair to them at your first meeting about the sale. You should also note that there are some exceptions to the law. You don’t need to share every single fix made in all the years you have lived in a house – only the big ones.
You technically don’t have to disclose work done by the previous owner, even if he or she has disclosed it to you. With that said, most experts advise that sellers share that information too.
During the home inspection step, home buyers might request a copy of your Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report. A CLUE is a free report that details every claim made to your homeowner’s insurance in the past seven years. And even if you paid for a repair without using insurance, an eagle-eyed home inspector might note fresh paint on a ceiling repaired after a plumbing leak or start asking why the hot water heater and other basement appliances seem to be brand new. Failing to disclose any of these things can put you in serious legal trouble.
Ethical side of seller disclosure
Even when a disclosure is not required by law or a project was done by a previous owner, a real estate agent will most likely discuss disclosure with her clients. You don’t want the seller caught by surprise with a problem that preceded your home ownership.
If the previous owner disclosed in writing that they had a serious case of mold and it has been cleaned up, a real estate agent will advise the client (who is now selling) to pull out those old papers and disclose.
The ways seller disclosure benefits you
If following the law and being ethical are not good enough reasons to disclose a previous repair, there are other benefits to doing so.
Home buyers may prefer negotiating with sellers who have proven they are upfront with information about their home, as opposed to those who are just desperately spinning everything to attract buyers.
Providing an example of your diligence in repairing your bathroom and fixing your ceiling could have a positive impact because buyers would like to know that sellers have maintained their home appropriately. Your disclosure could protect you from future disputes with the buyers.
Buyers might feel relieved that you have already made necessary repairs, since this becomes one project they don’t have to handle in the immediate future.
Do you have a question on home disclosures? Click here to contact Shay Realtors today!