When selling your home, you're obligated by law to disclose certain information about your property. Washington state requires that all sellers complete a six page written property disclosure form. This form, also known as “Form 17” or a “Seller Disclosure” is a required set of questions that must be answered truthfully and thoroughly. Before submitting an offer on a home, the buyer reserves the right to receive a seller disclosure. In many cases, a signed seller disclosure will be included with an offer to indicate that the buyer has read, reviewed and accepted the property disclosures.
Most states require sellers to complete this form when listing for sale. Nearly all of the questions are a basic yes/no/unknown/NA response. The questions will address material facts, major defects, special disclosures, and federal disclosures. All forms vary by state and require different information. Our form here in WA state includes questions related to title/possession, structure, systems/fixtures and environmental concerns, just to name a few.
These include the age of the property, it's condition, known problems, and defects. These are all of the information that would influence a buyer's decision to purchase your home. These disclosures require you to address known defects, things that are reasonably apparent, to ensure you don't knowingly hide a major defect. In WA state, the disclosures “survive” the transaction. This means that if a known defect is intentionally hidden, the buyer can seek damages from the seller even after the transaction has closed.
All major defects MUST be disclosed. For instance, fire or flood damage. If your home's electrical system isn't up to code, and you're aware of this, it must be shared with potential buyers. Repairs you have completed, as well as improvements and upgrades, should be noted as well.
Since all states have varying federal and special disclosure laws, it's imperative that you reach out to a local real estate agent to get assistance with the sale of your home. They'll have a copy of the required disclosures and can assist you to ensure you don't find yourself in hot water, legally, if an important disclosure isn't shared with buyers. Feel free to reach out to me anytime with questions regarding seller disclosures or any other real estate concerns.