The for-sale sign in your front yard is generating a lot of interest. The recent open house has resulted in a few offers. The staging that your real estate professional recommended is working like a charm. In short, you are tempted to let a bidding war ensue and accept the highest bidder. Yet is there something that homebuyers should know about your property before they start bidding? Could something that you know about your home influence a buyer’s decision to make an offer in the first place?
California Law Specifies Some Disclosures
Have you added on a room addition or made a structural modification without pulling a permit? Did you invite your friend, the handyman, to do some of the work? Did he pull a permit? If you cannot prove that a permit has been pulled and an official has inspected the handiwork, you need to disclose this fact.
Some of these legal disclosures are not quite so easy to determine. Do you believe that your home has a neighborhood noise problem or are there nuisances nearby? Your real estate professional may be able to help you determine if your neighbor’s home business qualifies as such a nuisance. By the way, if someone died in the house within the last three years, you do have to disclose this fact – usually.
How Forthcoming Should You Be?
Honesty is the best policy. If you are forthright and disclose the loose shingles on the roof and the fact that your next-door neighbor runs a noisy daycare in her garden, nobody will be able to take you to court for allegedly hiding material facts about your home. Moreover, if a home inspector discovers the electrical wiring you did without the blessing of the permitting officials, you give the home buyers a reason to back out of the transaction. If you disclosed this fact ahead of time, this line item on the inspector’s report does not provide an out.
Disclosures Save You Time (and money)
As a home seller, your disclosures may turn some buyers away. This allows other serious homebuyers to step up and make an offer, which they might otherwise not have done. In fact, you are helping your home sell much more quickly by targeting the qualified buyers who are willing to deal with the disclosed shortcoming. Since time is money in the real estate business, a full set of disclosures can save both and still lets you walk away with your asking price – or more!