Posted in: Selling a home

What to disclose as a home seller

disclose home seller

When you are selling a home in Minnesota, western Wisconsin or anywhere in the U.S., you are legally obligated to disclose all pertinent information and issues about your home to potential buyers. Here are disclosure insights you can use as you sell your home.

The simple rule of disclosure is to consider what you, as a buyer, would want to know about your next home. Then, extend your buyer the same courtesy.

Common disclosures include:

  • Plumbing and sewage issues
  • Roof defects and cracks or damage to the eaves
  • Heating and cooling issues
  • Property drainage or flooding issues
  • Foundation instability or cracks
  • Water leakage, including in the basement
  • Existence of pets, especially any that have damaged the home
  • Issues with termites, rodents or other pests and vermin
  • Issues with neighbors, including tension over property lines or exterior updates
  • Seller bankruptcy or other significant financial issues
  • Any past issues related to the title of the property

Hiring a pre-sale inspector

If your home is older or you’re genuinely not sure what to disclose from the above list, consider hiring an inspector before you put your home on the market. Buyers typically hire an inspector when making an offer, so it can be advantageous to know ahead of time what they will find.

A home inspection should unearth all the potential problems that would hinder buyers from purchasing. Once the inspection is complete, you should disclose all the issues found.

"Should I risk it?"

Failing to disclose a property flaw or damage to any of the home’s systems is extremely risky. It’s possible that your buyer could take legal action against you if they determine that you failed to disclose a property defect or issue.

Consider, for example, that your property’s drainage is lacking and despite getting a quote from a drainage expert a few years back, you never got around to fixing it. Now imagine that you sell your home and fail to disclose this issue to the buyer.

It’s feasible that, after the first big rain, the drainage company will drop by with a special offer. Alternatively, your neighbor could mention to the buyer that you inquired about, but never fixed, the drainage issue. In either case, it would be clear that you failed to disclose the issue and you could be on the hook to pay for the repair even though you don’t own the property anymore. Failing to disclose is simply not worth the risk.

The short answer: Disclose everything

Though home inspections often reveal minuscule problems, such as a small crack in the wall, it is still important to disclose any and all issues. What may seem like insignificant problems now could balloon into major fixes, and the new owners may decide you were disingenuous for not reporting them.

Still unsure? That’s what your Edina Realty REALTOR® is for! Your real estate agent will be up-to-date on the state laws with which you must comply, so defer to them if you’re uncertain.

For more insights you can use as you prepare to sell your home, follow #SellerInsights on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings