Many sellers dread the Seller’s Real Property Disclosure (SRPD). It can seem like you're just opening a can of worms on yourself. The reality is that this is your chance to make sure that the buyer knows everything about the house that you do and that you’ve told them in an official way.
Seller’s disclosures are mandated by either the state or the federal government. This little document helps you avoid massive lawsuits later when there is an issue that you didn’t disclose.
The types of things that you’ll be asked about on the Seller’s Disclosure include:
- The presence of lead paint
- Radon in the house
- Water damage
- Fire damage
- Who occupies the house now?
- Is it on a landfill?
- Is it in a flood place?
- Any settling or earth movement?
- Encroachments on the land
- Past or current pests
- Structural problems
And so on. It’s a document that allows you to tell the buyer everything you can about the house. Even if you’ve put this information in the real estate listing, it needs to go on the SRPD.
Most importantly, be truthful. If you lie, and the buyer can prove that you knew or reasonably would have known, you might get sued. At best, you’ll be made to take the house back. At worst, you can lose a lot of money in a lawsuit.
If you don’t know, you can mark don’t know and you don’t need to perform tests on any of these items, like lead paint or radon.
If there was past damage, like fire or smoke damage, you might be asked to prove that it was repaired, so inspections that were done after the repairs were completed will be handy to have.
If there’s anything that has been left unreported, you can make sure that the buyer acknowledges it. You might need to discount the offer to get the repairs covered, but it’s better than staying or being sued.
Many people look at the seller’s disclosure as a deal-killer. In reality, it should make the deal better. It sets the buyer’s mind at ease that they are getting a great home and will smooth the way for the deal to go through.