Why Are You Forgetting This Disclosure?

Real Estate Agent with Joe Manausa Real Estate 8508880888

The State of Florida requires house sellers' to disclose all known defects that might materially impact the value of a home, yet this seems to be an area where most sellers (and their listing agents) appear to "forget" to be totally forthright.

When a real estate company is hired for the job of selling a home, the listing agent typically has the homeowner fill-out and sign a Disclosure By House Sellers statement. The seller is supposed to record all changes that have been made to the property and itemize things that might be wrong with it too.

For the most part, I think house sellers try to be honest on this, though many are concerned about this process working against them gaining top dollar when they finally do sell the house. Usually, with proper explanation, they do the right thing. But there is one big exception to this rule.

The Disclosure By House Sellers

Florida house Disclosure By house Sellers RequireThis is one of those articles that might sound very much like common sense, but I can assure you that this is not the case.

And the purpose of this article is not to provide advice for buyers about the disclosure made by house sellers, rather the intent is to educate people who are selling a house in Tallahassee about their disclosure responsibilities in order to prevent unnecessary legal actions after the sale of a home.

The key is to disclose, disclose, disclose. If you are not sure if something (that you know) might impact the value of the house, go ahead and disclose. My experience has shown that most things put in the disclosure "up front" do not stop a house from selling, it is the discovery of those same things with no disclosure, after contract, that creates all the messes for house sellers.

Specifically, if your roof leaked and you fixed it (or had it fixed), disclose it. If your yard floods during heavy rain storms, disclose it. If you had a pipes replaced or inspected, disclose it.

When in doubt, disclose it. If you will live by this as a rule, you should have no problems when you sell a home.

When Sellers Fail To Disclose

OK, so when do we typically see house seller's fail to disclose?

After doing repairs or replacements for a buyer, the seller should update the Disclosure By house Sellers and provide a newly dated version to the buyer at closing. This protects the seller from the buyer saying they were not told of something.

But equally as important, if the sale does not close (which happens often), the updated disclosure form should be the one offered to new buyer prospects. And this is the area I see seller's most-often mess up. They provide the new buyer prospects with the original, out-dated even though they know they performed work for the previous buyer. Do not let this happen to you!

If you are planning a house sale in the near future and would like some pre-advice before you put the house on the market, we offer an excellent, no-strings-attached house visitation evaluation. We'll look at your home's condition, recommend some "elbow grease" preparations, and give you a firm idea of what your house would sell for in today's housing market. To get started scheduling this, just drop me a note and we'll be in touch shortly.


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Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Good morning, Joe. An excellent reminder about updating disclosures. It's an item that many agents check off when they list and then never revisit.

Sep 27, 2015 11:22 PM #1
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Thanks Nina Hollander ... it is so easy to forget to update ...

Sep 27, 2015 11:25 PM #2
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

Hi Joe, Great reminder for sellers to Disclose, Disclose & Disclose. Those same sellers will want to fully disclosed on a house they buy.  I have the seller complete the seller disclosure at the listing appointment when ever possible.

Sep 27, 2015 11:29 PM #3
Gwen Fowler-CRS- 864-638-3599 SC Mountains & Lakes--
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Salem, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

I ask sellers to update after every inspection, just to be sure they understand they cannot hide facts from future buyers.  This is most important to buyers when they are seeking a good house.

Sep 27, 2015 11:30 PM #4
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Joe - good post. When buying condo-hotels and dealing with those big brokearges, which are very specific and careful about the paperwork, we get these 5-page forms filled out, and it is such a waste of time, because Sellers of condo-hotel unit only stayed there a week a year or so, and have no idea of all these things.

It is pretty much that the Seller know nothing about anything... When we represent the Seller, we provide this statement signed by the Seller instead of going through the 5-page form.

But when we get one for our buyer (without asking, of course), I tell them that they need to read it now anywya :)

Sep 27, 2015 11:34 PM #5
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I invite dialog about this and support it before and during the transaction stage

Sep 28, 2015 12:00 AM #6
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

I have Sellers who have never stayed a day in their investment properties and know virtually nothing about the condition. When it's time to sell the disclosure means almost nothing and adds no merit to the transaction except for several answers of I Don't Know or Not Applicable. The concept is a good one however it's an impractical resource in many scenarios. 

Sep 28, 2015 02:36 PM #7
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

Kevin, have you considered the importance of an "I don't know" in the scenarios when it is later proved the seller was lying? So you have a seller that has never been there, I think their disclosure of "I don't know" would encourage the buyer to do a tighter inspection knowing the previous owner didn't really pay attention to conditions. The flip side is the seller that tries to use this as a shield but actually did know of the duct-tape solution on the leaky roof.

Sep 28, 2015 08:17 PM #8
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