Your Seller’s Disclosure

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So you are thinking about selling your current home which nolonger fits the needs of your family and buying one that does fit.  And you are thinking about hiring a realestate agent to sell your current home and find you a new one.  One of the jobs of your real estate agent isto protect you. 

Whoa!!! Protect you? Protect you from what?  A realestate transaction involves contracts and the transfer of real property. Thereare time frames in that contract that need to be adhered to.  And in both Kansas and Missouri, the selleris required to disclose what they know about the property. 

The Seller’s Disclosure Statement of Condition form that isprovided by your realtor is a tool that helps to protect you as the seller ofreal property as well as inform you as a buyer. Answering the questions to the best of your knowledge is very important,as is carefully reading the disclosure of the home you are buying.  Your agent cannot fill this out for you for alot of reasons, but mainly because your realtor doesn’t know anything about theproperty.  In fact, except to hand it toyou, your agent isn’t supposed to touch it. And just asking your agent if there is anything to be concerned about inthe disclosure doesn’t abdicate your responsibility as a buyer to be informedabout what you are buying.

You, as the seller, are signing your name that everything inthe document is true and correct to the best of your knowledge.  Why would you want someone else to fill itout who doesn’t know anything about the property?  And there may be things that are notaddressed with the questions on the disclosure. You have to disclose them anyway. There are lines at the end that are for that very thing.

This document gives information to your agent on how tomarket the property (is there a home owners association, is the refrigeratorstaying, etc.), helps negotiate repairs after inspections (if the buyer knewabout an issue from reading and signing the seller’s disclosure they shouldn’tbe able to renegotiate that after inspections), and keeps the buyer from beingable to come back on you for non-disclosure. For a buyer, it gives you information that will help inform your offerprice, things you want the seller to take fix that should be addressed in yourinitial offer, or if you really want to purchase this house.

All that being said, the seller is not expected to conductinspections to find out about things that they have no knowledge of and sellerswill forget things.  No one isperfect.  And no house is perfect.  The buyer should have inspections and therewill be things that come up after a buyer moves in that weren’t disclosed(because they weren’t a big enough deal to the seller that they felt disclosurewas necessary or that they simply didn’t know about).  However, it is the seller’s responsibility tobe careful, thorough and honest when filling out this document, and be preparedto update it when things happen or new knowledge is gained between filling itout closing.   And it is the buyer’s responsibility to readit carefully, ask questions, have all the inspections they want during theinspection period and  to be as informedas possible about what they are buying.

While the Seller’s Disclosure Statement of Condition is along and cumbersome document, it is an important one.  Take your time in both filling it out if youare selling, and reading it if you are buying. These are not things your agent can do for you.