Seller’s Disclosure 101

There are many ways to protect and help your clients to ensure a smooth real estate transaction. One way to do this is to use a seller’s disclosure, whether you’re representing the buyer or seller. Let’s dive deeper into why you need one and how to execute one correctly!

seller's disclosure

What is the seller’s disclosure?

Simply put, the seller’s disclosure is a form that is filled out by the sellers (it cannot be filled out by an agent) that contains questions about the house. It discusses the condition of major items such as the roof, A/C, pest problems and other things like water source and easements. It should be noted that seller’s disclosures are not mandatory in the state of Florida, but all Dalton Wade agents are required to have their clients fill one out. It’s a precaution that we like to take and saves time, energy and money for both parties in the long run.

This document is a way of listing anything that can affect the value of the house, it lets the buyer know if there are any issues with the house before they commit to an offer or contract. If you’re working with the seller, ask them to be as honest as they can and to fill it out to the best to their knowledge – it’s not a contract, it’s just a way to get to know the property better. If you are working with a buyer, be sure they thoroughly read it and ask any questions. If you see any red flags, don’t be scared to ask questions. It doesn’t hurt and will protect your buyer. If there isn’t a seller’s disclosure in place- request one.

If the sellers won’t complete the disclosure, be sure to alert the inspector. If you’re not already going to inspections, you might want to start, especially on properties that do not have seller’s disclosures.

If you get a disclosure back that checks “I don’t know” on each question, be skeptical. Ask a lot of questions. People know about their property, if they are answering that way, there’s probably a reason, be skeptical.

Sometimes there are instances that happen- people can’t help it when a pipe breaks and causes some water damage. That’s life. But, if sellers disclose events like this it will be easier to explain why there may be some mold in that area and can easily be fixed. Be as transparent as possible- on both sides.

There can also be cases where agents leave out pictures and/or key information in the description and think that is a way to get around a disclosure. This isn’t the case. Just because something is left out, doesn’t mean it isn’t disclosed. For instance, if a condo has washer/dryer hookups, but they were not approved by the association, therefore making them illegal, just because they are not noted in the description or have photos in the MLS, doesn’t mean it should not be disclosed. Always err on over disclosure!

When you’re working with a seller, encourage them to share as much information as possible (like the above example) so everyone knows what they’re working with. If you’re working with a buyer, be sure they understand everything in the disclosure so they can make an informed decision.   

At Dalton Wade we believe that today’s buyers and sellers need a trusted resource that can guide them through the complex world of real estate and that’s what we provide to our clients- exceptional service.

We also believe that real estate agents deserve to keep 100% of their commissions. Dalton Wade Agents work on 100% commission, pay a $79 monthly membership fee, pay $79 a closed transaction and are paid at closing!  If you’d like to learn more about keeping 100% of your commissions, contact us today!