Disclosure is the law in most residential real estate transactions, but there are nuances that every informed Austin home buyer should know. In Texas, the Seller’s Disclosure Notice applies only to sellers of property comprising “not more than one dwelling unit.” Prudent home buyers should not expect every matter of personal importance to be made known. Here are several disclosure law refinements you should know.
Texas Home Sellers are Required to Disclose That
- which the seller knows – all material facts – about the property even when the seller has never seen or lived in the property
- lawsuits or other legal proceedings may affect the property including divorce, tax claims, bankruptcy, foreclosure and heirship proceedings
- a relocation company is holding title must conform with the disclosure laws
- property has or has not working smoke detectors
- owner is negotiating a “short sale” requiring lender approval
- fire detection and safety devices are present
- previous inspection reports exist
Texas Home Sellers are NOT Required to Disclose That
- a suicide has occurred in the home
- a sex offender lives nearby
- a person died of natural causes in the property
- lead based paint is present in a foreclosure sale proceeding
Buying a Home? Stop. Look. Ask. Listen and Get It In Writing.
All home buyers would be well-served by observing these guidelines: Stop. Look. Ask. Listen and Get It In Writing. Should you not understand how a condition or issue may affect you, seek help from someone with expertise in the matter. Never rely on the seller to explain or interpret how something may affect you in the future. If an issue is especially important to you today, it will probably be more important to you down the road.
The Seller’s Disclosure Should Not Replace a Home Inspection
Don’t let the seller’s disclosure replace a thorough home inspection. Remember, the seller is required to disclose what they know (not what they don’t know) and they aren’t expected to be professional inspectors. A home inspection costs $350-$500 and is money well spent, especially if you find the home has an even bigger issue. We’ve helped people buy hundreds, if not thousands, of homes over the years and we still get a home inspection on every single house we purchase for ourselves.
Most Important Info from Seller’s Disclosure? Utility Info
Probably the most useful information you’ll find on the seller’s disclosure is the utility provider information, so keep it handy when you are packing to move. If the seller used the form that has the Austin Board of Realtors logo at the top left of page 1, then you’ll find the utility info on page 3. If the seller is using the form that has the Texas Association of Realtors logo at the top of page 1, then you’ll find the utility info on page 5.
Want More Austin Home Buyer Tips?
Check out our Austin Home Buyer Blog for several more articles and our Austin Home Buyer page for more about our team and how we help home buyers evaluate the market and the property’s condition and protect their investment. Call us at (512) 827-8323 or email us at info@11OaksRealty.com to schedule a no obligation consultation.