Digging into seller and HOA disclosures!

As Listing Coordinator, I have the distinct pleasure of working with all of our seller clients to help them prepare to list their home.  It can be a lengthy process, but our skilled listing team is here to make the transition as smooth as possible.  One of my favorite parts of a real estate transaction is helping our clients before their home goes on the market – not only by coordinating our incredible staging team, photographer, and sign installer, but by answering questions about disclosures.  Does anyone actually enjoy paperwork?!  (The answer is no).  We often have a version of the age-old question “Do I have to?” from a client or two.  The answer is both yes and no, but *our* answer is yes 😉

Here are three common Questions and Answers about disclosures:

Q: Why exactly does someone selling their home need to complete the disclosures?

A: As a seller, you have bought a home before.  Place yourself in a buyer’s shoes – you know nothing about this home, except that it’s in the perfect area, convenient to work and friends.  The disclosures help to start a conversation between your respective realtors if there is a question about the age of the systems, any renovations, any prior leaks, what the HOA fees actually cover, etc.  Be sure to seek your agent’s counsel on necessary items/issues/renovations to disclose, as he or she can explain the consequences of failure to disclose a known issue.  In addition, your HOA contact is the best resource for current HOA dues, special assessments, and other fees.

Q: Are the questions difficult, and is the paperwork time-consuming?

A: Thankfully, the disclosure questions are straightforward.  It can be a lengthy process if the information isn’t handy, so be sure to have all repair/install invoices handy.  Allot 30 minutes for a seller disclosure, and another 30 for the HOA disclosure.  Knowing the age of your home’s HVAC, roof, and septic system (if applicable) is very important.  A buyer can’t make an educated offer on a home without considering the age of structural elements and appliances!  Other questions on the disclosure include “Is your home part of an HOA and is it subject to Covenants and Restrictions?”, “How many insurance claims have you filed during your ownership?”, and even “Was your home built near a landfill?”.  If you (the seller) have lived in the home, you will probably know these answers.  If your home was purchased within the past 5 years, you may want to check your previous contract to review the disclosures from that time, and make updates to your answers as necessary.

Q: What is an instance when a seller would NOT complete disclosures?

A: An estate sale (seller has not lived in the home), an investment property either owned by an individual or a business (again, seller has not lived in the home, *unless* the seller wishes to disclose the newly renovated kitchen/HVAC/roof, in which case we recommend completing the disclosures), or if the home is a complete tear-down.  There may be one or two other extenuating circumstances in which a seller would not complete disclosures for a home.  Also, the HOA disclosure is not required in a home that is not located within the confines of a Homeowners’ Association.

Disclosures can appear tricky.  With the right listing agent, you can feel confident in your answers and complete the forms with ease.  Thinking about selling your home?  Our rockstar listing staff would LOVE to speak with you!  Give The Peters Company a call at 678-921-1470!

Written by Christina Rotolo

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