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What do you have to disclose about your house when selling?

Selling a home in Washington can be a complex process. Not only do you have to decide where you will live next, you will have to decide on a fair asking price, list the house for sale and allow people to come look at your home. In addition to these things, you also have to consider the legal obligations you have as the seller.

Many people fail to consider the legal nature of a real estate transaction. It is a major financial step, but it could have significant legal ramifications as well. As the seller of the home, there are certain things you have to do, including disclosing certain information to the people who may buy your home. Before you move forward, it could be beneficial to fully understand required disclosures and what they mean for you.

What do you have to tell buyers?

The law requires that sellers tell buyers about certain issues to protect the rights and interests of the party purchasing the home. What you will have to tell buyers depends on your individual situation, but the following questions could help you understand the disclosures you may have to make:

  • Do you know of any specific problems? While you do not necessarily have to go searching for issues, you have to disclose certain issues that you already know about. This is particularly important if they are expensive to fix or pose a safety threat to the home's occupants.
  • Do I have to get an inspection? In most cases, a seller will request an inspection of the home as a contingency in the purchase contract. The inspection could reveal certain problems you may need to address.
  • What if there is lead paint or other hazardous material? Lead paint is more common in older homes, and you will have to disclose the issue or the possibility of any type of dangerous material in your home. 

Failure to properly disclose certain things about your home could lead to complications in the future as you work to close the sale and move forward.

You can protect yourself as the seller

As the seller, there are various things you can do to protect yourself legally and financially. One of these is by providing the necessary disclosures to prospective buyers. It is particularly helpful to schedule a complete evaluation of your case in order to understand your obligations and how you can avoid problems that may cost you valuable time and considerable money.

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