Planning to sell your home? Be sure to prepare for some paperwork as disclosures will be involved. Some required and some not, based on the state in which you reside.
The State Residential Real Property Disclosure
All states require a general residential real property disclosure to be filled out and signed by the sellers. The buyers sign it at contract time. This disclosure asks if the sellers are aware of the following:
* flooding in the crawl space and/or basement
* material defects in the basement or foundation, such as cracks
* leaks in the roof, ceiling or chimney
* defects in the electrical system
* defects in the plumbing system
* defects in the heating, air conditioning or ventilation systems
* defects in the fireplace, if applicable
* defects in the septic, sewer or disposal systems
* an unsafe concentration of radon in the home
* an unsafe concentration of asbestos on the premises
* unsafe conditions relating to lead-based paint
* infestations of termite or other wood boring insects
The disclosures may have additional questions and are not limited to those above. If sellers are aware of any of the issues addressed in their state's disclosure, it's in the owner's best interest to fix the issues. Most real property disclosures have a provision in them that if sellers get the issue repaired to the best of their knowledge, they don't have to disclose the issue. Home values will be higher if sellers have clean residential real property disclosures.
A radon disclosure is also required when selling a home. Radon is an underground gas that can cause lung cancer. Radon gas can enter homes through cracks in the foundation, basements and crawl spaces. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that radon levels under 4.0 pCi/L are acceptable. Levels under 4.0 pCi/L may still pose a risk, however. The radon disclosure asks the sellers if they are aware of an unsafe level of radon in their homes. It asks if they have any records or reports of unsafe radon levels in their homes. It also asks if sellers are aware of past radon mitigation in their homes.
Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
Another disclosure that is required is the lead-based paint disclosure. This is usually required for homes that were built before 1978 as a law was passed that year prohibiting its use. Lead from paint, paint chips and dust can cause health hazards. The lead-based paint disclosure asks if sellers are aware of lead-based paint in their homes. It also asks if the sellers are aware of lead-based paint hazards in their homes. Finally, it asks if the sellers have any records or reports pertaining to lead-based paint in their homes.
Many states are now recommending mold disclosures. Mold can cause many health hazards including but not limited to, allergy-like symptoms such as a sore throat, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, a dry cough, skin rashes or other lung-related health issues. It's important for home buyers to know if there is mold growth in the home they are purchasing. Many home inspectors will be able to notice mold growth in attics, under sinks, in basements and other places. If you are a seller, and know of mold growth in your home, you should have it remediated. This will make your home easier to sell and of course be best for your health and safety.
Disclosures are a normal part of the home selling process. Sellers that don't have anything negative to disclose will typically be able to sell at higher home values.