Lancaster County PA Realty Check: Sellers - Disclose Everything!

Sellers - Disclose Everything!

In Pennsylvania there is a Seller Disclosure law that requires sellers to provide prospective buyers with fairly extensive information about the home they are selling.  Among the types of information required:

How long you have owned the properrty

Whether you live in the property

Whether pets have lived in the property

Condition of the roof, whether there has been any leaking, repairs or replacement, and if you have documentation of such repairs or replacement

Condition of the heating, plumbing and electrical systems

Whether there has been any water, mold or mildew in the basement

If there are underground tanks, settling or fill in the yard

Any zoning violations, or notices of public assessments or real estate tax increase notices

Whether there are any liens or legal problems that would prevent you from conveying clear title.

Many sellers have asked me over the years if one particular minor problem or another is worth the trouble of reporting on the disclosure.  My answer?  DISCLOSE EVERYTHING! 

This is the right answer on several levels.  First, it's the honest thing to do.

Second, it's the law.  Proper reporting of problems protects you from later liability for non-disclosure.

Third, from a totally pragmatic point of view, if buyers see that you've disclosed everything that they can observe for themselves, and that you've also disclosed a few things that they can't see for themselves, they're going to feel a lot more comfortable about your credibility.

Of course, buyers also have the right to require an independent home inspection as part of their purchase offer. If the inspection turns up things that you have already disclosed, you have a much better chance of the transaction going to settlement without further disputes.

Good disclosure helps everyone.  It gives buyers useful information, protects sellers from non-disclosure issues, and helps agents do their jobs with fewer distractions.

If you would like more information about Seller Disclosures, please feel free to call Brian Schulman at (717) 951-5552, or email brian@findlancasterhomes.com .

©BrianSchulman2008

Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

 

 

Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

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Comment balloon 7 commentsBrian Schulman • June 24 2008 06:11PM

Comments

It's amazing how smoothly transactions go when a property has been well maintained.  Nothing to disclose.  Nothing to hide. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Lenn, so true.  But many low priced, older city listings, for instance, will  come with inspection problems identified almost every time.  The sellers may not have the funds to correct them.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 9 years ago

Good advice.  I've heard it said, "When in doubt...Disclose!"  I don't think you can go wrong with that attitude.  :)

Posted by Debi Ernst, GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate (St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors) over 9 years ago

Full Disclosure is probably the most important thing a Seller can do. And the forms need to be filled out CAREFULLY...no mistakes. A Buyer will pick up on every discrepency...guaranteed!

Posted by Joan Mirantz, Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire (Homequest Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Debi, it's just good sense and good policy to disclose everything possible.

Joan, you're exactly right - if an issue comes up after the purchase, the first thing the buyers will do is see if anything was disclosed on the seller disclosure.  If not, the seller may have a problem.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 9 years ago

I remember what it was like in pre disclosure times...not easy , even though people tended to be cooperative when problems arose.  Disclosure is the best thing that ever happened in real estate!

Posted by Trey Thurmond, College Station , Texas Homes (BCR Realtors) over 9 years ago

Trey, good disclosure indeed prevents a lot of problems in advance.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 9 years ago

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