Here are a few important things to disclose before selling your home.
Most states, including Maine, require some type of seller disclosure. The goal is to add transparency to the transaction.
In this disclosure, a seller provides written information about known things that could impact the property’s value. There are a number of different things you have to disclose as a home seller, but today I’m going to highlight a few of the most-forgotten (and most-impactful) items. We have a very useful form that helps prompt sellers to provide all the necessary information. Here are a few of the most important items:
1. Water supply. You need to disclose the type of water systems your property has, if there have been any issues in the past, and the type of water quality testing that has been done. There are questions to answer about water quality, quantity, pumps, and more. This includes letting the buyer know if there are any available test results. There are a lot of private wells in Maine, so this is an important section.
“When in doubt, disclose.”
2. Hazardous materials. Underground storage tanks, asbestos, radon, lead-based paint, and methamphetamine can all cause hazardous conditions in a home. It’s imperative that sellers disclose this information. These are hidden dangers, so the seller is the most important source of information in this area. You may be able to go back and look at past property disclosures for the home you’re looking at.
3. Federal seller’s disclosure requirement. If your home was built before 1978, federal law requires that you disclose that the property may produce exposure to lead from lead-based paint. It was federally banned for consumer use during that year. Sellers of homes built before 1978 must also provide buyers with an EPA pamphlet titled, “Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home.” Then they must give buyers 10 days to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint, and include a “lead warning statement” in the contract.
The key thing to remember about disclosures is that when you’re in doubt, disclose. Failing to disclose something you were aware of beforehand could lead to a messy legal situation.
If you have any questions about what you need to disclose when selling your home or anything else related to real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.