Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you need to pay special attention to the Seller’s Disclosure Notice. As a buyer, you’ll want to be sure to ask your Realtor to obtain this for you to review on homes you’re interested in before looking at them. You certainly don’t want to waste your time with homes that are riddled with major foundation, electrical, plumbing and structural issues! So, it’s good to know about any issues before your Realtor even schedules a showing appointment. Most thorough Realtors® will include the SDN in the documents section of the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) listing, so they are easily available to your Agent. Seller’s Disclosure Notices will also tell you things you may not have even thought of such as: if there is gas or electric heat, how many cooling units there are, if there is a mandatory HOA, what is the age of the roof, etc.
As a seller, the most important thing for you to know is that you need to fill it out HONESTLY, and to the best of your knowledge! If you don’t know something, check “unknown”, don’t simply guess! Also-if you have never lived in the home, (say it was an investment property), try to get information (that is not time sensitive) off the previous SDN (i.e. what type of foundation it is), and from the previous listing. You can also ask your Property Management company to provide some information for you as well. But I’ll say it again, DON’T guess when filling it out!
Here are some tips about the SDN that may surprise you:
- Seller isn’t required to disclose if a suicide occurred in the home or if a sex offender lives nearby; although this is good information to include if the seller is aware of it, as a buyer may learn about it from another source! (I’ve got first-hand experience with this one!)
- As mentioned above, a seller who has never lived in the home is still required to fill out a SDN, but can use “other sources” for information.
- Lawsuits which can directly or indirectly affect the property (i.e. divorce, tax, bankruptcy, foreclosure and heirship proceedings) if asked about on the SDN (1406) must be disclosed.
- A buyer isn’t required by law to sign a Seller’s Disclosure Notice.
- Relocation companies with title to a property are required to fill out the SDN.
I hope this information about a very important tool, the Seller’s Disclosure Notice, has helped you if you are considering selling or buying a new home!