If you’ve bought or sold a home before, then you should be pretty familiar with the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement. In Georgia, it’s typical that a seller fill out this form prior to listing their home, so that potential buyers can review it prior to writing an offer. and when a Buyer writes an offer to purchase the home, it’s attached to the contract as an exhibit. It features questions running the gamut from the relatively straight forward (Has there ever been any flooding on any part of the Property?) to the much more, shall we say, obscure (Are there now or have there been any landfills, graves, burial pits, caves, mine shafts, trash dumps or well on the Property?).
Even when armed with the Seller’s Property Disclosure, many home sellers still wonder “”What Should I Disclose When Selling My House?”” The answer, according to the Georgia Association of Realtors:
Sellers have a duty to disclose latent or hidden defects in their properties that are not readily apparent from a reasonable inspection of the property. Whenever possible, disclosures should be in writing and incorporated into the purchase and sale contract to avoid any questions regarding whether or not they were received. You cannot avoid disclosure obligations by selling a house in “”as is”” condition. Known hidden defects must be disclosed.
Fairly straightforward, right? I have my own reasons for encouraging complete honesty when it comes to disclosure:
1. It’s the right thing to do. Period.
2. If you conveniently “”forget”” to disclose something, and it’s later revealed by a home inspector, you lose all credibility with the buyer of your home. You never know when you’ll actually need that credibility over the course of the transaction, so it’s best to everything in your power to perserve it.
3. She Seller’s Property Disclosure is included in the Purchase and Sales Contract as an Exhibit. As a general rule of thumb, I would not encourage anyone to knowingly deceive another person in a legal document. Bad Idea Jeans, if you ask me.
4. See #1.