7 things you must disclose when selling your home

Two hands exchanging keys by a red “home for sale” sign.

Homeowners are understandably in doubt when it comes to disclosing issues with their property. It can be a source of worry for many reasons but mostly that the sale will be more difficult. However, there are certain things that, depending on the state, you legally must disclose when selling your home. If you are not sure how to approach the issue, consult with real estate professionals. Failing to disclose certain things can cause you a lot of grief in the long run, and it might cost you a lot of money. Hiding problems with your property is not worth the headache, and it can hurt your sale a lot. So keep reading to find out about what you need to inform potential buyers of.

A real estate disclosure form

By law, a seller must submit a disclosure form once they put the house on the market. Your real estate team will guide you through the process. They will let you know when and how to do it once you have signed a contract together. Depending on the state, you might need to disclose the form before any deal is made with prospective buyers. In other cases, you need to put this forward only after the offer has been made, and the buyer can then potentially opt out of the purchase.

1. Repairs

Whether you have already made some repairs on your home or left them up to the new owner, you need to disclose them all. This way, there will be no surprises on either end.

  • Repairs made

You must disclose what repairs you made to the property and why. The buyers will have an inspection of the home, and they need to know what areas to focus on. If there were some problem areas, they should be prepared in case they need to be addressed in the future. These repairs may include anything related to structural integrity, roof repairs, plumbing, or electrical repairs, to name a few.


A person making measurements on the floor next to a hammer.
Repairs are something you must disclose when selling your home.
  • Repairs needed 

A seller might decide not to fix all the issues due to several reasons. They may need to make a quick sale, or they do not have the finances to make the repairs. This will significantly affect the buyer’s decision as they will want to factor all this into their budget. Therefore, the formation of the price will be done with these matters in mind. This way, the potential buyers know what they are getting themselves into from the start. Consequently, they are not given the opportunity to significantly lower the price on those bases.

2. Death in the home

If a death occurred on the property you are not always obligated to disclose it. This rule varies from state to state. When do you need to give this particular information?

  1. If there was a violent crime.
  2. In case the death was due to the condition of the property.
  3. When the buyer asks.

The future owners have the right to know about the general safety of the neighborhood and if the area has a high crime rate. In addition to that, some interested parties may be superstitious, and it might affect their decision. Or it may simply make some people very uncomfortable.

3. Issues with the neighborhood you must disclose when selling your home

Moving to an unfamiliar neighborhood is a leap in the dark and can cause uncertainty. There are many things that may be relevant to buyers. They range from noise and odors to industrial zones nearby. Maybe there have been previous altercations with one of the neighbors, or one of them has a loud and dangerous pet. All these details can be a source of potential problems, so the best practice is to mention them at the beginning.

4. Water damage 

Water damage can be the source of many problems for homeowners. It can cause mold, which can turn into a health hazard. Leaks and flooding are other threats to the structural integrity of your home. You are obligated to disclose roof leaks, water issues in the basement, and any plumbing system damages or problems that are present.

A person fixing a plumbing issue.
Be forthcoming about possible water or plumbing damage.

5. Toxic materials

The occurrence of toxic waste near your property is something to be reported as well. Depending on the state laws, you may need to disclose several hazardous materials. You need to be forthcoming about the presence of asbestos, lead-based paint, or lead plumbing. Also, if there was any toxic substance or fuel leak on the property, you should disclose it. Ultimately, if the property was ever used to store any kind of harmful materials and potential health hazards, it must be reported.

6. Natural hazards 

If your property is in an area where natural disasters might occur, you must let prospective buyers know. For example, if you’re selling a waterfront home, you need to inform buyers of flooding chances and insurance. Perhaps you are located in an earthquake zone. Or there is potential for wildfires, like in the state of California.  

7. Homeowners association 

This is an important detail that you must disclose when selling your home. Many buyers will base their decision on this fact. Since such associations impose all sorts of rules on homeowners, it may not be appealing to some. These rules may be related to monthly fees or changing the features of your home and can be quite restrictive.

Renting a storage unit when selling your home

When you are in the process of showing your home to potential buyers, you will want to remove all the excess personal items and furniture. Presumably, you will also be in the process of moving, so you will need to keep your things somewhere. If you have not already bought your next home, renting a quality unit can be useful. You can lock it all away safely, and you don’t have to worry about it until you are ready to move. There are a variety of options for renting a storage unit for any budget and period of time.

Final words 

There is no lack of things you must disclose when selling your home. The important part is to be diligent and ensure that the buyers are aware of all potential problems. Moreover, you want to protect yourself from any liability or problems arising from missed details. Make sure you put everything in writing, and you won’t have a care in the world.

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