Today, I shed some light on the infamous Seller’s Declaration, and why it’s so important to be honest and thorough when completing it with your broker. If you’ve bought or sold a home before, you’ve for sure had to fill out or read through this long and tedious form. As invasive as it may seem, it’s mandatory and essential to protect both the buyer and seller in a transaction.
A seller’s declaration is a mandatory form that is completed by the owner of a home when they put their property up for sale. In this document, they outline everything you know about the home. This includes basic details like the year it was built, whether it uses well or city services, as well as any issues you’ve observed since living there, like plumbing issues, water infiltration, or structural issues, just to name a few.
It can feel a little bit weird sharing all the negative things about your home with people who are about to make an offer on it, especially when everything else we’re doing at that time, like staging photos and videos has a goal of presenting in its most positive light. But it’s really important to be honest and thorough when completing the sellers declaration. And here’s why:
- When buyers know exactly what they’re buying right from the start, it ultimately makes the entire transaction go through a whole lot smoother. In many cases, these prior issues will get revealed during the inspection. And when they’re found it can be a little unsettling for the buyer and make them reconsider their offer while they still had the opportunity to walk away. If the buyer walks away, the seller is now legally obligated to disclose the findings of the inspection to the future buyers anyway.
- Buyers also received some protection after the sale. If issues come up later on, and it can be reasonably proven that the seller should have known about that issue, it gets considered as a hidden defect. And this means the buyer has the right to take legal action against the seller and it can lead to significant costs for the seller.
The fact of the matter is that every home has issues. That’s just the reality of home ownership. Being thorough and upfront in your sellers declaration isn’t just a legal obligation, it just makes good sense.
This is #AskPete. If you have any real estate questions, feel free to send them and I will get you the answers. Or stay up to date on the latest tips for real estate buyers and sellers by clicking the YouTube button below: