What To Disclose About A Home When Your Selling Including Any Recent Damage

When a storm recently passed through the area, it did a lot of damage. Trees were knocked down, roofs were damaged, and some homes had issues with water in the basement. And some of these homes had for sale signs out in their yard.

It happens to many homeowners that just as they are thinking of listing their ho

The Home Disclosure Process

me, or even as they have it on the market, something unexpected happens. Or maybe they’ve had some issues a couple years ago and now wonder if it could be a factor in selling their home. It’s easy to say that this will affect your listing price or even your ability to sell it, but only if you take the wrong approach.

If the problem has just happened, then first get it taken care of. Get a contractor to take care of the roof or any other damage to the home. It doesn’t’ mean you have to take your home off the market or hold off on listing.  But it will be something you must disclose, even if you already completed this part of the selling process.

The Disclosure Process.

Most states have some sort of disclosure requirement when it comes to selling a home and Iowa is no exception. In Iowa “Sellers” are required to make a disclosure (see chapter 558A of the Iowa Code)  which consists of 21 questions. If any of the answers are “yes” there is a place on the disclosure form for an explanation. Health issues such as Radon, Lead Paint, etc. are covered on the disclosure. It is interesting that “mold” is not covered. However, the instructions on the form require the seller to “disclose all known conditions materially affecting the property”, and requires “additional” pages be attached to the disclosure if necessary.

With most of the questions you simply answer yes or no. If you do answer yes to something you do have the opportunity to answer the question in more detail. For example, if you had a leaky roof in the past you can mention the date it was repaired/replaced and that it has not been a problem since.

There are health risks you need to disclose as well such as:

  • Lead paint
  • Asbestos
  • Radon
  • Mold

It doesn’t mean you can’t list your home or that you can’t sell it as is.  It’s simply something that needs to be disclosed.  It’s up to the potential buyer whether these issues impact their buying the property. For many homeowners this won’t be an issue if it’s a property they love and that fits their budget.

Issues with Water A Major Problem to Disclose

If there is a major issue with many homes it is most often related to water. One question will be if your roof has ever had problems. Another if you have had water in the basement or any other part of the home. Even if it was just a trickle in the basement, then you still disclose it.

The good news is that if you’ve had a problem and resolved it, there is room to put that on the form.  In many older homes water might still seep into the basement, but if you have a sump pump then you can disclose that, as well.

Some older homes in the area may have older basements that aren’t completely finished. This could mean they may have some seepage of water. Again, this doesn’t mean you can’t sell the house, you just have to make sure potential buyers are aware of it.

Emerald Ash Borer

There is one additional form you need to provide information on and it relates to the emerald ash borer. As the form states, having trees on a property adds to its value. If the trees are ash and have been infected by the emerald ash borer, it can be expensive to have those trees removed.

Many people might not even know what type of tree is on their property, let alone if they have a problem with the emerald ass borer. This is something your Realtor will review with you.

Lead Based Paint

There is a federal law that requires sellers of certain properties (built in 1978 or prior) to disclose the presence of lead paint or if the seller has any documentation concerning lead paint on the property. There is a hefty fine for not making this disclosure properly.

Will Any Issues Impact My Listing Price?

If the problem has been resolved and everything repaired or replaced it shouldn’t impact your price.  Even such issues as water seeping into the basement, might be overlooked by some buyers who like your home and are satisfied that the water won’t prove to be a risk for their belongings.

When you meet with your Realtor disclose any issues that you think might impact your listing right away. They can thus do the research to determine how much impact, if any it might have on your listing price.

You Must Disclose Any Issues Or it Could End Badly

When you’re Realtor is preparing to list your home or property you need to be truthful. You might think about hiding some potential problems, but if they come to light later it could have serious consequences. First, your home will be inspected so the issue might be discovered then. If something is found, then the buyer can ask you to take care of it before the sale is final or they simply could walk away from the deal without any repercussions.

If something is discovered after the sale of the home is complete that was intentionally not disclosed, it could result in expensive litigation.

If you think you might be able to disclos

e something at the closing, it simply gives the potential buyer a chance to toss aside the agreement and walk away from the table.

What Happens If Something Happens After the Disclosure is Signed

As in the case of the recent storm, something could happen with your home after you’ve signed the disclosure. This will trigger a requirement to amend your original disclosure. If it’s something you can get repaired, then take care of it. Whatever the case you’re still responsible for anything that happens to your home until the moment you hand over the keys.

If you’re considering selling your home and have questions about potential issues with your home, then contact American Realty. Our Realtors can answer any questions you might have and what impact any issues might have on the sale or the listing price. We have been serve Dubuque and surrounding communities such as Peosta, Dyersville, Farley, and more for over 45 years. Call us today at (563) 556-4577 to speak to one of our experienced Realtors.

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