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What Columbia Sellers need to know about Disclosures

If you have homes for sale in Columbia, you certainly want to present them in the best light possible to attract buyers. But when it comes to real estate, honesty is still the best policy. Avoid problems that could hinder a sale by following these guidelines for full disclosure.

  • Don’t Rely on Buyer Inspections
    Motivated buyers usually have a home inspection conducted. If it uncovers a major issue you failed to disclose, the buyer may be less inclined to trust you. You could also be on the hook for problems that arise after the purchase if there’s a reason to believe you were aware of them.
  • Know the Federal and State Rules
    Real estate transactions are governed primarily by state rules. The one iron-clad federal regulation involves issues with lead-based paint in homes built before 1978. State regulations are more comprehensive, covering matters such as mold, termites and other pests, hazardous conditions such as earthquakes and floods, and insurance claims.
  • Disclose “Emotional Defects”
    A home is more than just four walls and a roof. Many states have regulations regarding the disclosure of “emotional defects” that may make a buyer uncomfortable living in a particular home. Conditions falling under this umbrella may include murders, deaths or violent crimes, neighbor disputes, and paranormal activity.
  • Be Specific
    “I’m not sure when we replaced the hot water heater.” Vague statements like this don’t cut it. Buyers see such comments as another tip-off that you’re deceptive and trying to cover up a problem.
  • Keep a Paper Trail
    Has your home suffered from a leaky roof or chronic plumbing problems? Provide the buyer with any documentation you have regarding remediation, including repair receipts and communication with workers. In addition to demonstrating open disclosure, the paper trail provides evidence of proper maintenance.
  • Disclosures Are Not Guarantees
    Warranties on new roofs and other repairs should be provided to a buyer, but disclosure of such items doesn’t constitute a personal guarantee. Such information shows you have made a good faith effort to correct a problem.
  • Focus on the Big Picture
    Nearly every home will have minor cosmetic flaws, such as a crooked tile or two in the bathroom. Don’t get bogged down in listing every single imperfection you come across. Disclosure is meant to address significant problems affecting the safety or value of the home.
  • When in Doubt, Disclose
    Are you wondering about whether or not specific problems merit disclosure? A good rule of thumb is to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. If it’s something you would want to know about, chances are the buyer will as well.
  • Hire a Real Estate Agent
    Even if you’ve sold a home before, real estate laws and best practices change all the time. An experienced and ethical real estate agent stays on top of current regulations, has a network of top professionals and guides you through the best course of action.

Our real estate agents are more than professionals. We consider ourselves partners in your success, supporting you with expert assistance every step of the way. Contact us and let Columbia Real Estate take the stress and uncertainty out of your home selling experience.

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