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Learning More About Real Estate

After finally saving up enough money to use as a down payment, I decided that it was time to hit the market. I met with a lender, got pre-approved for a loan, and then started visiting different properties. However, I quickly realized that I didn't know as much about real estate as I would have hoped. I wanted to find a great neighborhood and know what to ask the professionals, but I could tell that I needed a little help. To point me in the right direction, I started working with a great real estate agent who was familiar with the area. This blog is all about educating the general public on real estate matters.


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Learning More About Real Estate

All You Need To Know About Property Disclosures

by Nathan Olson

One of the most important documents concerning properties for sale is a seller's disclosure report. In most states, the real estate law requires that a property seller provides a disclosure report to the buyer. In essence, a disclosure report provides information on the property's condition that may adversely affect the asset value. Thus, disclosure is relevant to both the seller and buyer in real estate transactions. This post focuses on disclosures as an integral element of properties for sale.  

What Is a Property Disclosure? 

A disclosure is a written document prepared by the seller of a property on sale and provided to the buyer. The document discloses information about the property conditions, including any defects or historical problems. In this way, the buyer uses the disclosure statement to learn about the property and the seller's experience with the asset. Notably, the local government assumes the responsibility of creating the disclosure laws. However, the actual document originates from the local real estate association and entails a list of questions about a seller's home and experience. 

What Should Sellers Disclose?

There are several disclosure elements in any property on sale. The most important component of the disclosure includes any renovations, upgrades, and improvements done on the property. Notably, the disclosure must state whether the work occurred with or without a city building permit. In this way, the buyer will assess whether the upgrades pose safety hazards to the property occupants. 

A property disclosure should also include the following aspects: 

  • State whether any death has occurred in the home, especially those related to property accidents or crime
  • Declare any neighborhood nuisance such as noise, smoke, or odor 
  • Disclose the presence of hazards such as natural disasters or toxic waste and materials like asbestos, radon gas, and lead-based paint 
  • State if the home is under homeowners association regulation 
  • Disclose past and present water leaks and damage
  • Reveal pest issues, including termite infestation 

How and When Do Disclosures Happen?

The property seller should make a disclosure using an official form. If the questions in the form are not comprehensive, the seller should supplement them with additional disclosure items. Importantly, the seller and the buyer should both sign and date the form for reference. 

Ordinarily, the seller gets to see the disclosure document when the seller accepts the offer. However, some sellers may provide the disclosure form before receiving the offer. However, a buyer should review the disclosure upfront to guide purchase decisions. Notably, ensure that you review the disclosures and seek clarity before signing or sealing the deal. 

Importance of Disclosure 

The disclosure document is valuable to both the seller and buyer of a real estate property on sale. Broadly, the disclosure helps the buyer to make a purchase decision. The information provided helps in assessing the condition, safety, and price of the house. Thus, the buyer can consider whether the house is a good investment. This consideration is especially important to buyers looking to flip homes through renovations. Conversely, the disclosure may be part of the legal obligations for the seller. Thus, providing a property disclosure protects the seller from legal suits that may result from disgruntled buyers. 

Whether or not a disclosure is legally required, it increases openness and confidence in properties for sale. The sellers protect their reputation by disclosing any property defects, while the buyer uses the disclosed information to guard their interest. 

To learn more about this subject or to get help finding properties for sale, contact a local real estate agent.