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Avoiding disputes with property disclosures

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2022 | Real Estate Litigation

There are many steps involved with selling a property. The process can be emotionally tiring too, and it is understandable that you may feel in a hurry to wrap things up as quickly as possible. This should not come at the expense of important aspects of the process though, as sticking to things like property disclosures can actually protect you from litigation in the future.

Disclosing problems with a property is not the last nail in the coffin that you might think it is. Few — if any — homes, commercial structures or other properties are free from defects or other types of problems. The typical buyer in Texas expects to encounter a few issues with a property, so it is always better to be up front.

Is an inspection necessary?

Some lenders require buyers to have an inspection before completing any real estate transaction. However, you can always prepare yourself ahead of time by having someone inspect the property when you are getting ready to sell. Defects that are important to catch ahead of time include:

  • Termite damage
  • Known lead
  • Structural issues

Clearly identifying these issues in a property disclosure will ensure that both you and the buyer are on the same page about the status of the property. You do not have to disclose minor issues, either. There is no need to inform a potential buyer that a room might need a new coat of paint or that the carpet in a hallway is wearing thin.

Am I supposed to repair all the problems?

Fortunately, you do not have to fix the problems with the property. Your only real responsibility is to make sure that buyers understand potentially serious defects. This information usually will not deter buyers who are otherwise excited about the property and willing to put in the time and effort to make it work for them.

One of the biggest benefits to having an inspection and disclosing all defects is that it shields you against potential litigation. Be sure to keep a copy of both the inspection and the written property disclosure statement. This way if a buyer tries to say that you never warned them of these issues, you have evidence that says to the contrary.

Property disclosures are just one of many steps involved with selling a property. While well intentioned, many sellers who try to manage the process all on their own end up making small but meaningful mistakes that can ultimately impact the entire sale. As such, you may find it helpful to first learn more about Texas real estate law and where to seek guidance when necessary throughout the process.