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Get full report before buying

By Daphne Zollinger | Published Saturday, July 14, 2018
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Thank goodness we don’t operate in a “buyer beware” environment for home purchases. There’s too much at stake. But what exactly are sellers required tell you about the condition of their home?

Sellers can’t sweep problems under the rug

Sellers of single-family homes are required by law to give would-be buyers a disclosure notice. This notice is how sellers fulfill their responsibility of pointing out any problems or circumstances buyers would want to know when considering purchasing the home.

The notice lists dozens of items, such as ceiling fans, gas fixtures and central air conditioning, and provides checkboxes for the seller to specify whether the property has those items. The form also provides space for the seller to list any of those items that are currently in need of repair.

The notice contains a section for known defects to structural components like the roof and foundation. The form also lists conditions such as termite damage, previous flooding, components that contain asbestos and so on.

For items that need repair, defective or should be called to the buyer’s attention for another reason, the form provides the seller the opportunity to provide details about that condition or item.

Even a seller with good intentions may not be aware of every problem with his home. For example, it’s possible to have active termites in a structure for quite some time without any visual evidence.

With that type of possibility in mind, most buyers hire an inspector to examine the property and its components. The inspector will let you know if he or she finds potential problems.

There may be some conditions you would like to know about that aren’t required to be disclosed. For example, sellers do not have to report the presence of nearby sex offenders. And contrary to what many people think, Texas law does not require disclosure of deaths by natural causes, suicide, or accidents unrelated to the condition of the property.

For information about how to get the most peace of mind from seller’s disclosure rules, or if you are considering listing or selling your home soon, talk with an expert, a member of the Greater Denton/Wise County Association of Realtors.

Daphne Zollinger is the president of the Greater Denton/Wise County Association of Realtors.

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