Protecting Yourself Against Liability In Your Dover NH Home Sale
The time has come to sell your home. Youre working with your real estate agent, getting your house cleaned up and ready to sell, and looking for your next home. But, as the offers start rolling in, what types of information about your Dover NH home sale are you required to disclose to potential buyers?
Not so long ago, the world of residential real estate was buyer beware. But, in more recent years, sellers are being held legally responsible when they dont disclose a major flaw that they have material knowledge of, and the buyer later discovers the flaw and wants restitution. In fact, 75% of real estate agents who took the National Association of Realtors 2011 Legal Scan survey said that this issue is among their top three current and future issues, and growing.
Although the laws can vary significantly from one state to another, there are some issues that, if you have knowledge of, should always be disclosed to a potential buyer, including:
Disclose any repairs youve made to the roof, plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning, or foundation. Include any repairs that were done by previous owners. Also include any maintenance that needs to be done on a scheduled basis and is unique to your property.
Any water issues must be reported. Some common issues include a leaky roof, flooded basement, dampness, and prior mold treatments.
Termites and other pests.
Termites are one of the most common hidden issues in a home. Let the potential buyer know how many times youve treated your home for termites, and when the most recent treatment was.
Federal law requires that all homes built before 1978 must disclose any and all knowledge of lead-based paint in the home. This is one of the strictest federal laws as it relates to seller disclosures, and penalties are steep. Additionally, youre required to give the buyer a 10-day period to do lead testing before closing.
In some states, including California, sellers are required to tell potential buyers if the home is susceptible to specific natural disasters, like wildfires, mudslides, or floods.
The laws on this fall into a gray area, but if your home was the site of criminal activity, someone died inside, or even if your home has a historical designation that would limit a new owners ability to renovate, most real estate agents recommend that you disclose this type of information to potential buyers.
The bottom line is this: You should always disclose issues that could significantly lower the value or desirability of a home. Laws and standard practices do vary state by state, so make sure to ask your real estate agent whats required in the area where you live.
And, even if youre listing your house as-is, you dont get to bypass disclosure laws. Selling a home as-is just means that youre not willing to negotiate the price of the home based on any deficiencies.
However, there are many things youre not required to tell a potential buyer. Information like personal details about you, the reason youre moving, pending foreclosure action, illness, and divorce are the most common.
Dont be afraid of disclosing anything you know about your home. Disclosing doesnt necessarily mean youll be on the hook for fixing all deficiencies, it just means its open for negotiation. Plus, put yourself in the buyers shoes. Wouldnt you want to know the history of the home you were buying?
About the author:
This Dover NH Seller Disclosure
article was created by Dick Cook- SRES. Dick is a realtor with over thirty years experience
working for customers in the Granite State. Specializing in Senior Real Estate Services, Dick covers the NH Seacoast & Lakes Regions, servicing the following communities and many others: