20 October, 2012

The Importance of Complete Seller Disclosures

by Samia cullen

In our fast moving market, many houses are selling within a week, and prices are rising rapidly.  As a result, some buyers are rushing to buy without taking the needed time to investigate thoroughly the houses they are buying.
Sellers should be keenly aware of the importance of the different reports and documents that they are filling out and signing in the course of selling a home. Full and complete disclosures protect the seller in the event of a subsequent lawsuit by the buyer; conversely, incomplete disclosures can come back and haunt them in court. Unfortunately, in the course of my business I often see disclosure forms that are not filled out properly, including questions that are not even answered at all. 
Most lawsuits against sellers relate to these disclosures.  California law requires sellers disclose all material facts of which they are aware, or of which they reasonably should be aware, bearing on the value or desirability of the property, including negative conditions that arose during or prior to ownership. Therefore if the seller is in doubt as to whether a condition constitutes a defect, it is always prudent to disclose rather than to remain silent.
Some sellers react negatively to filling out these disclosures at a time where they are busy preparing their home for sale. Many also feel that if they disclose all the problems, their house may not sell. Obviously, this could happen if there is a major issue, but typical disclosures normally do not discourage serious buyers. As you prepare your home for sale, spend a few minutes in every room of the home and note the defects and issues that you know of or have encountered in that room.
Full disclosures of all material facts reduce the risk of subsequent disputes and lawsuits regarding the property. 

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