Getting the “Real Scoop” on the Houses You Are Looking At
wants to make sure the car they buy is not a lemon, and that is doubly true when
it comes to buying a house. If you are buying a pre-owned home, you can only
hope that all of the previous owners before you took care of the house, using
the proper methods. To set your mind at ease, and to make sure you are not
getting a bad deal, home inspections, seller disclosure requirements and the
agents experience will all help to safeguard you. Disclosure laws vary by state,
but in some states the law requires the seller to complete a real estate
transfer disclosure statement. The following are some items you can expect to
see on a disclosure form.
- Range oven, microwave, dishwasher,
garbage disposal, and trash compactor.
- Safety features- burglar and
fire alarms, smoke detectors, sprinklers, security gate, window screens and
- TV antenna, satellite dish, carport or garage, automatic
garage door opener, rain gutters, sump pump.
- Amenities such as pool or
spa, patio or deck, built in barbecue and fireplaces.
- Type of heating,
condition of electrical wiring, gas supply, and presence of any external power
source, such as solar panels.
- The type of water heater, water supply,
sewer system or septic tank.
Sellers are also required to indicate any
significant defects or malfunctions existing in the home’s major systems. The
checklist specifies interior and exterior walls, ceilings, roof, insulation,
windows, fences, driveways, sidewalks, floors, doors, foundation and electrical
and plumbing systems.
The form also requires sellers to note the
presence of environmental hazards, walls or fences shared with adjoining
landowners, any encroachments or easements, room additions or repairs made
without the necessary permits or not in compliance with building codes, zoning
violations, citations against the property and any lawsuits against the seller
affecting the property.
Make sure to look for or ask about settling,
sliding or soil problems, flooding or drainage problems and any major damage
resulting from earthquakes, floods or landslides.
If you are looking to
buy a condominium you should be informed about code and deed
The amount a seller is required to disclose about defects
has broadened significantly over the years. It helps to protect the buyer from
buying a cosmetically good-looking house that is a potential money pit. But even
with all the forms and laws in place, make sure to ask a lot of questions.
Especially if you are unclear about something, or if your concern was not
addressed on the forms provided to you.