Four important things to disclose before your home is sold.

When making an offer on a house, one of the first things buyers get from the seller is a property disclosure. This is also referred to as a property disclosure statement, a real estate disclosure form, or a home disclosure. The specifics vary by state, but most states, including New York, require some type of seller disclosure. The goal is to add transparency to the transaction.

This can be a confusing topic, so to help you get your bearings, I’m sharing a few things you need to know about seller disclosures in New York:

1. You need to fill out a seller’s disclosure statement. This is an official form of disclosure that will let your buyer in on everything they need to know before purchasing your property. This form isn’t required; however, refusing to fill it out means you’ll need to give your buyer a $500 credit at closing. I recommend you fill this form out. It’s easy, and there usually aren’t consequences. That being said, consult with an attorney if you have reason to believe you shouldn’t fill out this form–you may qualify for exemptions. 

2. Optional disclosures. You aren’t required to disclose these items, but you might want to. Some common optional disclosures include tax exemptions, home improvements, area benefits, and more. This is your opportunity to brag about your home and let your buyer know how wonderful it is. 

“The goal is to add transparency to the transaction.”

3. Federal seller’s disclosure requirement. If your home was built before 1978, federal law requires that you disclose that the property may produce exposure to lead from lead-based paint. It was federally banned for consumer use during that year. Sellers of homes built before 1978 must also provide buyers with an EPA pamphlet titled, “Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home.” Then they must give buyers 10 days to conduct a paint inspection or risk assessment for lead-based paint, and include a “lead warning statement” in the contract.

4. Unfortunate circumstances do not need to be disclosed. Sometimes, buyers will get turned off from your home if they find out something bad happened in it, such as a murder, suicide, death, or dangerous disease. If something like this happened on your property years ago, don’t worry–you aren’t required to disclose these items. 

The key thing to remember about disclosures is that when in doubt, disclose. Failing to disclose something you were aware of beforehand could lead to a messy legal situation.

If you have further questions about what you need to disclose when selling your home or anything else related to real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.