Definition of "Seller Disclosure"

Donna Henry real estate agent
Donna Henry, Real Estate Agent Keller Williams Realty

The seller disclosure is a statement made in good faith regarding the condition of the home he/she is trying to sell. There is a seller disclosure form – called “Form 17” - that is required by most states in the USA and, in it, the home seller must make it known to the home buyer any known structural defects like plumbing and electrical problems, and any history of problems with flood, sinkholes or other prior relevant damages to the property and its land.

Although deliberate misrepresentation within this statement can result in liability charges, the seller disclosure is not a substitute for a home inspection, nor warrants anything.

The contents of a seller disclosure can vary from state-to-state  - sometimes from county to county! - but a typical form 17 contains information about:

  • Structural, electrical and plumbing status of the house
  • Title of the home and any ownership problems
  • Hazards like lead paint, toxic mold, asbestos, radon etc.
  • Water sources, rights and contamination
  • Flood danger and previous flood damages

Most of these forms have questions for the home seller to reply to or boxes to check with “don’t know”, so it’s normal that one detail or another slips away. Plus, a lot of times you will deal with a home seller that has no “in-person” knowledge of the home. Like an investor who bought the house to flip it, so he/she doesn’t know what it “feels” like living in there and their seller disclosure might misrepresent some details of it. That’s why, like we’ve said, a home inspector is still needed to avoid nasty surprises down the road.

Real Estate Tips:

The home inspector is a must, but a good real estate agent will go through everything within the seller disclosure and will be able to point out other non-structural red flags for you too. And the place for good real estate agents is right here! Feel free to contact the one you like the most and good luck!

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