A home inspection includes looking closely, paperwork, and the crawlspace

Explaining sellers dislosures

by | Feb 12, 2017 | Real Estate | 0 comments

Upcoming Free (& non-promotional) Home Buyer Classes:

Saturday, February 18th, from 11am – 2pm (ish)
     Vancouver YMCA, conference room
11324 NE 51st Circle, Vancouver WA (corner of SR500 & Gher Road/112th Ave)
Tuesday, February 21 , from 5pm-8pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College

Saturday, March 4th , from 9am-12pm (ish)
Marshall Community Center, conference room
1009 E. McLoughlin Blvd, Vancouver WA (kitty corner from Clark College)
If these class dates and/or times don’t work for you, please let us know.  We understand that you have lives, and families, and work.  We will work something out that works better with your schedule.  Just let us know….
….we also have home seller classes available too…link on left on website

Remember…with reservation…we will throw in lunch, or dinner!  😀
Happy Saturday night~

  As you may know, I was in Texas last weekend for a family funeral.  Honestly that event kind of took precedence over getting this email out to you.  However what I can tell you that the roads in Texas are awful, and it was low 50’s and drizzle for the days I was there….so I felt right at home.  Of course, the day AFTER I left it was 84 degrees!  What’s up with that???  

   One thing I do love about my job is that I was able to jump on a plane for an unexpected family event, another thing that I love is that many of my clients have become friends.  I want to thank you for your thoughts and concerns while I was gone.  It was only 3 days, and the market is pretty slow right now.  It is kind of weird, but yes, it is slow right now.  The market always slows down a bit in December, and early January….because of the holidays…but right now?  Well, we had the weather issues in early/mid December, and then the holidays, and then MORE winter weather, and then EVEN MORE weather…  ugh…  if you have been thinking about buying a home…now is a really good time before the madness of the spring season starts.  Winter is always a good time to be a home buyer, and I think that this has been the best winter for home buying in the last couple of years.  

This week we are going to take a moment to talk about home disclosures.  This is one of those things that, while important, many people don’t understand.  As a home buyer you need to know what you are looking for, and at…

The Sellers Disclosures

This is a 6 page disclosure that sellers fill out regarding to the condition and faults of the home during their ownership.  Sellers fill this form out on their own….agents are not supposed to fill it out for them, or tell the homeowners/sellers how to fill it out.  Now, we can answer questions regarding what the questions mean, but agents can not fill out the sellers disclosures.  Sellers are supposed to fill out the disclosures to the best of their ability and knowledge. Sadly, and honestly, most sellers do not know anything about their homes…or they know very little.  Sellers/homeowners don’t go in the crawlspace, they don’t go in the attics paces…and this is usually the places that inspectors find things.  Deferred maintenance gets a lot of homeowners/sellers as well.  All homeowners are guilty of deferred maintenance…even homeowners who are also realtors.  It’s been my experience that most sellers are honest about what they know about the home, but most homeowners really don’t know.  The sellers disclosures covers such things as:

1)Title and Legal – This section requires the seller to state that they have the legal authority to sell the property.

2) Water – These disclosures involve things like the source of household water (whether the seller has a well or obtains water from the public water system), whether the property receives irrigation water, and whether or not the property has an outdoor sprinkler system.

3) Sewer/On-Site Sewage System – Here, the sellers must disclose details about what type of sewage disposal system the property utilizes.  If the home has a septic system, then it needs to have had a septic inspection within the past year, and pumped, or not, upon the septic professionals advice. 

4) Structural – This is where the sellers is supposed to disclose things about the general structure of the building such as whether the roof has leaked, whether there are any defects with the chimney or the foundation, and how old the structure is.  

5) Systems and Fixtures – This section requires the sellers to disclose items that are being included with the property as part of the sale, such as the electrical system, the plumbing system, and the hot water tank. The seller is supposed to disclose any defects with any of these included items, and state whether the property has smoke alarms, or carbon monoxide alarms….which is now required…one on each level.  Smoke alarms are placed high because smoke rises, but carbon monoxide alarms should only be about knee level as carbon monoxide is a heavy gas, and putting it higher is not safe. 

6) Homeowners’ Association/Common Interests – If the property is a condo or part of some other development that’s governed by a Homeowners’ Association, the sellers need to say so, provide contact information for the person who can give the buyer copies of the relevant documents, and state whether there are any common areas or joint maintenance agreements for shared features of the property like walls, fences, or landscaping.  In the Optional Clause Addendum, be sure your buyers agent checks the HOA contingency giving you, the buyer, access to the HOA rules, regs, books, etc….within 10 days, and you have the right to back out if those are not acceptable. 

7) Environmental – This is where the sellers is required to disclose flooding, drainage problems, or material damage to the property due to events such as fire, earthquakes, or landslides.

8) Manufactured and Mobile Homes – If the property includes a manufactured or mobile home, the seller will need to make a few additional disclosures regarding any alterations made to the unit.

9) Full Disclosure by Sellers – This is the ‘catch-all’ provision, emphasizing the importance of these disclosures: If there is anything that could affect the property that the seller has not covered by the categories already addressed and that the buyer “should know about,” the seller is supposed to disclose it here.

There are 4 answers on the sellers disclosure that the seller can choose…  Yes, No, Don’t Know, and N/A.  As a buyer, you should expect to see ‘Don’t know’ answers.  This is because most sellers don’t know the answer.  Every box is supposed to be checked with one of those four answers. 

The sellers disclosure is important, but I can’t stress this enough…  it should not be considered the ‘end all, be all’ to a homes condition. It is far more important to have a thorough home inspection by a licensed home inspector.  A home inspection will tell you much more about a home than the sellers disclosures.  As a note…this is not ‘Holmes on Homes’, and the home inspector in Washington State can not do an invasive inspection.  Between the sellers disclosures, and the home inspection you should know enough about the home to (hopefully) not have any major issues after you move in.  Will you have some issues after you move in though?  Sadly….probably…  You never really KNOW a home until you are the one living in it…and what is an issue to you might not have been an issue for the previous homeowner.  Every home…even brand new homes… have ‘quirk’s, and issues that come up after you move in.  I can’t stress home warranties enough!  

The only time you might not get a sellers disclosure is if the home is a bank owned foreclosure, or an estate.  If you are buying a home from a real estate investor, your sellers disclosure will be a complete ‘don’t know’ checks because the seller, in that case, had never lived in the home so doesn’t know anything about it. 

Lead Base Paint Disclosures

If you are buying a home built 1978, or prior,  then you will receive a 2 page Lead Base Paint disclosure signed by the seller where they will be disclosing whether or not they have any knowledge of any lead base paint in the home.  I was raised in homes built prior to 1978, as I was born before then…and there isn’t anything seriously wrong with me.  🙂  Lead base paint could be an issue if it is ingested…please remember that the snozzberries DO NOT, in this case, taste like snozzberries so DON’T lick, or chew, the paint!   

You may, or may not, see an alarm disclosure where the sellers are disclosing whether or not they have the appropriate smoke alarms, or carbon monoxide detectors in the home. 
You may, or may not, see a siding disclosure where the seller is disclosing whether or not they are aware that their siding was part of a recall, or has issues. 

Ok…has always, I hope that this has been helpful to you, but if you have any questions….you know how to reach me.  😀  I am here to help. Now… I’ve got to get off of here so I can watch the grammy dresses.  😀 

Information is power, and I hope that I am able to help you.  Good luck, and as always…May the odds be ever in your favor out there….  AND If you are looking for a real estate agent, I would love to be able to help you.  
 As always….this is just a quick overview…. again…and I can’t say this enough…please remember that your agent is NOT a salesperson, and should not be acting like one.  Real Estate is not really about houses, it is about relationships.  Your agent, and your lender work for YOU.  You drive the bus…we are merely GPS to help you get to your goals.  Like the classes, this weekly blog email is to help you with your home adventure.  The goal is to be informative and non-promotional.  🙂  We are, however, hoping you will call and want us to help with your adventure.

If you have any questions about this, or something you have heard…or if you would like me to help you with your home adventure, please call, email,  text, or facebook me anytime.  I am, as always, happy to help!

Thank you again for your business and your referrals!!  …and thank you for referring these classes to your friends, family, and co-workers.

.   ..disclaimer…if you have already purchased a home, or would no longer like to receive these emails, please let me know and I will be happy to remove you from any further mailings…

Upcoming Topics: What are the ‘Hidden’ Costs of Buying a Home? ….. 
What if I don’t have a Down Payment? …..  &….
What happens after an offer is made?
Open Houses & what you need to know before you go…
Last Week:  What are Closing Costs?

Have a great day, and I will talk to you soon,