What You Must Disclose When You Sell Your Own House

By: Geri Mason

As a for sale by owner home seller, you are responsible for completing many of the steps that a real estate agent would typically handle for you.

Most likely you've already fixed up the inside and outside of the home, set a reasonable price for the home, and begun advertising your homes.

(there is a free ebook: 101 Tips For Selling Your House,for you to download, from a link at the bottom of this page).


Now you're ready to accept an offer on the home, right? Well, not quite. Before you begin entertaining offers from prospective buyers, you first need to prepare property disclosures.

Property disclosures for a for sale by owner home include information that pertains to the property condition or location.

This includes pieces of information like the age of the property, problems with the property or components, appendages that might extend beyond property boundaries, and whether or not the home is on an earthquake fault, in a flood zone, or in an airport path.

Any of these facts could affect the buyers decision to purchase the home and must be disclosed.

Depending on the state where you are selling your for sale by owner home, you might need to fill out property disclosure forms about your home.

Even if you are not required to to give prospective buyers formal property disclosure forms, as you would if you were working with a real estate agent, your state's law probably requires you to at least tell buyers information.

If you are not sure what property disclosures you have to give you can consult a real estate professional such as an agent or an attorney. These professionals are well versed in real estate law and can give you guidance on the necessary information to give your buyers.

An example of a property disclosure that you must fill out is the lead-based paid disclosure if your home was built prior to 1978.

This is a property disclosure that is required by federal law and must be provided regardless of the state where you selling your home.

With this property disclosure, the buyer is given 10 days to conduct an inspection for lead based paint. You could face a lawsuit if this is not done and the buyer later discovers that the home indeed has lead paint.

Buyers must also be given material facts.

This is any information about the home that would affect the buyer's decision to purchase or the price offered.

This means that you have to tell buyers any defects about the home, especially if these defects could potentially cause the buyer not to purchase. At first thought, you might be cautious to reveal this information as it could cost you a sale.

Consider the alternative of being sued for thousands of dollars because the buyer was negatively impacted by a material fact that you did not disclose.

While it might not first seem like it, property disclosures are designed to protect both the buyer and the seller of the home for sale by owner.

Buyers are given all the facts they need to make an informed purchase decision. Sellers are protected from lawsuits by buyers that claim they were not informed.

You should keep a record of property disclosures given to your buyers, especially the buyer that ends up closing the deal.

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