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What goes in a seller’s disclosure?

Those who sell real estate property usually include a seller’s disclosure. While there are exceptions, a seller disclosure provided by sellers to potential buyers outlines any defect or issue that could impact the buyer’s decision-making process. This applies to most resident owners of a home, but it can affect the terms of the offer, or if they wish to proceed.

Sellers here in Austin typically use a form created by the Texas Real Estate Commission. This form usually arrives within three days of mutual acceptance. The buyer and seller can then change the timing of the deal if there are issues of concern.

A contract is not binding unless the seller provides the disclosure before the buyer signs the purchase agreement — failure to provide the disclosure voids the deal. The buyer can also void the contract within seven days of receiving the disclosure. If both sides sign it, the transaction can move forward.

What to include on the form

Issues or defects involved are anything relevant to the property and its value:

  • Air conditioning does that not work correctly or needs replacing
  • The property previously had a fire that caused damage
  • The structure’s foundation previously had repairs
  • The roof leaks and needs repair
  • Water damage including flooding or water penetration on to the property
  • Termite or other bug infestations that caused damage

There is also a list of things that need not be included, such as a death on the property or whether the previous occupant had AIDS or an HIV related illness. If the owner does not know an answer on the form, they must state that information as unknown.

Negotiating a fair deal

Buying a home or property is a major purchase, if not the largest one the average person conducts. While realtors are crucial to the process, real estate attorneys ensure that the agreement is accurate, fair and equitable for their client. Those contemplating this major purchase are advised to consult with one who works here in Texas and understands how the laws here work.

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William T. Peckham
1104 Nueces Street, Suite 104
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: 512-487-7604
Fax: 512-478-1790
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