If you’re looking to sell your house, you can expect to be filling out a lot of disclosure forms in the near future depending on where you live. Each state can have very strict standards when it comes to gathering information about a house that is going onto the market.
For example, there are a number of different forms that the California Association of Realtors wants you to fill out. The questions are diverse, and ask about a variety of different topics. Some of these include if you have had any claims on your homeowners insurance in the last five years; if you have painted any room of the house in the last 12 months; if you have neighboring dogs that bark incessantly; and if any livestock or wildlife, including insects or other pests, frequent your back yard.
Another form will want to know if you have made any alterations to the house. Any remodeling that you have done must be documented- including replacements to windows and doors, additions that you’ve added, or patch jobs that you’ve had to perform while living there.
California is an earthquake state, so you must explain any damages that may have been caused by natural disasters. These can include flooding, damage sustained due to hail, fires, and many others. All of this information goes down on the “Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement”.
Research and be prepared
Each state has its own regulations, so always research what you will have to disclose when buying or selling a house. These disclosure rules can often border on the ridiculous; in New York, sellers have to provide buyers with a full list of defects, including intangible ones such as hauntings.
Has anyone ever been murdered in your house? You may need to disclose that.
Sellers are often burdened with having to identify problems that they may not even be aware of. If your house is sold and some problem is discovered after the fact, you may be brought to court and forced to compensate the buyer for something that you didn’t even know about.
Buying a home may be one of the biggest steps you take in your life, and selling it may be even bigger one. It can create a tremendous amount of anxiety due to all of the state and real estate disclosure laws that you have to follow. Be prepared and research what you have to do in order to make a smooth transition.