You’ve heard the old sales axiom, “caveat emptor” or “buyer beware,” right? But following on the heels of a down economy a disturbing trend has come about that should be a warning to all Edmond, Oklahoma home sellers. Sellers beware: failure to properly (read legally) disclose defects in Real Estate up for sale will come back to bite you.
Here’s the impetus. In good and bad economies alike homeowners across the country periodically end up in a financial situation where they need to move. Could be unemployment, under-employment, or any combination of factors compounding the issue. Then consider the mounting differed maintenance issues in a home where the owners’ cannot afford repairs, let alone the mortgage payment. The thing is, when the economy takes a hit, as it specifically relates to the housing market, home values depreciate. When values depreciate, and equity is lost, homeowners needing to move suddenly find themselves unable to afford to sell. So the choice is eventually to forfeit a property via foreclosure, or to try to sell a home already in need of some serious help.
Perfect storm, right? Now, homes can be sold in as-is condition, just as mortgage companies can deny a loan on a home they see as having serious defects. The problem arises when home sellers neglect to disclose known defects in a property, defects that only come to light after the sale is complete and the new owners have moved in. Many of these defects are addressed by law as well as in sales contracts, and suddenly the unscrupulous home seller is held accountable for more than just the price of rectifying the defect.
What are the most common non-disclosed defects resurfacing after the sale? Termites, water damage, mold, and lead. Even non-disclosure of previous known repair work, or the fact that a property lays within a flood plain or earthquake zone can come back on a seller. The short solution to avoiding post sale repercussions? Disclose everything. The alternative? Best not to find out for yourself. The best advice is to talk to your Real Estate agent about creative, legal ways to facilitate the sale of problem properties.