4 Disclosures You'd Better Be Prepared To Make

When you retain real estate attorney services as a seller, several big jobs have to be handled on the legal side of things. One of the most important is making disclosures. These are statements that tell potential buyers what they would be getting into if they bought a house. Here is a look at four disclosures you should be prepared to make after reviewing them with a real estate attorney.

Known Repetitive Problems With the House

If you've ever owned a house that had a basement that regularly flooded during the wet part of the year, you know what a pain it can be. As a seller, you have a legal obligation to inform sellers of problems that regularly occur. It's not the job of the home inspector hired by the buyer to figure these things out. If you know something, you had better say something. Otherwise, you may be liable for misrepresentations or outright fraud.

Chemical Exposure Issues

The classic version of this is if a house had previously been used as a meth lab. Suppose a person had previously owned the property and rented it out. If a previous tenant cooked meth in the house, the property seller is obligated to disclose this fact.

Chemical exposure issues can cover a lot of territory. If a house was built on top of a toxic waste dump that was reclaimed, for example, that needs to be disclosed. You should also include notes about any mitigation efforts that were made.

Anything You Plan to Remove

Perhaps you just love that cast-iron bathtub from the upstairs bathroom so much that you're taking it with you when you leave. You can't show the house with the tub and then remove or replace it. Any item attached to the house is presumed to be part of the sale unless otherwise stated in the disclosures.

Ongoing Property Disputes

If you're selling a house while a property dispute is in progress, that's a major disclosure that needs to be made. You should explain who is involved in the dispute and what the disputing parties are claiming. No one wants to buy a house only to learn a year later that they are being sued and stand to lose several acres.

Similar issues can arise from use rights. For example, there may be a dispute at a lakefront property about the owner's right to operate a boat in the lake.