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What is a Seller’s Disclosure?

A Seller’s Disclosure is a disclosure form required by sellers of previously occupied single-family residences, and it is to be used in conjunction with a contract for the sale of real property. In other words, sellers are required to provide information about the condition of the property. In this week’s blog, Michele Harmon Team reveals everything you need to know about a seller’s disclosure and how it benefits buyers and sellers.

A Seller’s Disclosure is Required by Texas Law

Sellers of a single-unit residential property are required to provide a seller’s disclosure notice to a buyer. The Seller’s Disclosure Notice details what the sellers know about the property at the time they complete and sign the notice. You may see more than one version of the notice. The Texas Real Estate Commission has one, which meets the law’s minimum requirements, and Texas REALTORS® has one, which provides more information for buyers and serves as a risk-reduction tool for sellers.

What Kind of Information is in the Notice?

The five-page Texas REALTORS® Seller’s Disclosure Notice covers multiple topics. It asks sellers to list the appliances and systems in the property, current defects, past insurance claims, past inspection reports, and other conditions of the property. The Texas Real Estate Commissions’s Seller Disclosure Notice contains information required to be disclosed by Section 5.008 of the Texas Property Code regarding material facts and the physical condition of the property.

How Does a Seller’s Disclosure Help Sellers?

A Seller’s Disclosure Notice provides sellers a place to document and share their knowledge of a property and can reduce sellers’ risks. If a buyer claims after closing that they did not know about previous flood damage, the sellers can point to Section 3 of the notice, where they indicated the flood damage – assuming the sellers filled out the notice correctly.

How Does a Seller’s Disclosure Help Buyers?

It is impossible to foresee every potential problem in a home, but a Disclosure notice will detail known conditions and defects to help provide a more complete picture of a property. For example, as a buyer, you may learn that a house has well water, plumbing issues, and aluminum wiring through the Seller’s Disclosure. This information can be used for inspections to further understand the extent of any issues.

What Doesn’t a Seller’s Disclosure Do?

  • A Seller’s Disclosure is NOT a warranty. If the seller states the house has a working fireplace, and it breaks after the buyer moves in, the seller is not required to fix it.
  • A Seller’s Disclosure is NOT a contract. A buyer is not obligated to buy a home just because they signed the Seller’s Disclosure. It only means they received the document.
  • A Seller’s Disclosure is NOT a replacement for a home inspection. The seller is required to fill out the disclosure to the best of their ability, however, they do not have to have an inspector confirm it. It is wise for home buyers to hire a home inspector to make sure the house is okay.

Do you need help understanding the Seller’s Disclosure or other aspects of a Real Estate transaction? Call Michele Harmon Team at 713-818-1330 TODAY! We will be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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