Sunday, September 25, 2016

Disclose or not? 4 things to consider

When you list your home, should you divulge all of its deepest, darkest secrets? Like the time the water got in through the basement door and ruined your new carpet? Or when your foundation settled, causing some cracks in your walls?

The short and unqualified answer: Yes. You should disclose any problems you have had with your home while you've owned it.

The long answer: Missouri has a few statutes that require homeowners to disclose certain things to potential buyers, such as whether your home was used in the production of methamphetamine or whether children were harmed or endangered in your home. But, in general, Missouri doesn't require sellers to disclose defects. 

Our first reaction may be to hide some of the less positive aspects about our homes. But sellers will find benefits from full disclosure, the first being you would certainly appreciate full disclosure if you were on the home-buying side of the table. Here are other ways disclosures can help:

1. Disclosures show that you are being upfront with the buyer about the condition of the home and that you aren't hiding anything. Problems are inevitable, especially as homes age. It would be unusual for a 30-year-old home to have no issues. 

2. Perhaps more important than the problem may be how you handled it. Keep records of how you addressed the problem, and provide the name of the contractor or service person who completed the work.

3. Providing details about the home's history can help the home inspection go more smoothly. The home inspector can independently verify that the problem was resolved successfully. 

4. The buyer can't claim later — after closing — that he or she didn't know about a problem. You've got it documented.

The information in this blog is not intended as legal advice. Do not consider the blog to be a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed in your state.