Okay, you are ready to sell your house. Right? What’s next?
In a previous blog “Un-Decorate Now . . . We are ready to sell”, among other things I mentioned it is a good idea to have ready a seller’s disclosure. However some people have argued that since in Massachusetts it is not required then it is not a good idea.
- Have not you heard about all those horrible lawsuits brought in by buyers after the transaction is closed? This is just calling for it.</quote
What are they talking about?
After examining some of those horror stories one thing surfaced. There is a 93A law to protect consumers against misrepresentations, fraud, etc. However, this law is intended to bind every real estate professional not the home owner selling their home. Does it mean you have to get rid of your agent immediately? NO, please do not. It is just to make sure agents don’t tell buyers things like “this is the most beautiful house in the block” and such. In the end your agent must provide to you a valuable service and useful help on the process of selling your property.
So what is this disclosure about?
Well, it is just a list of items that are considered relevant to any home and it is called the “Seller’s Real Estate Information Statement”. There are preprinted forms just to check off things like if the house has central A/C, pool, etc., and if they are functional.
Let’s remember that during the selling process you, the seller, allow the buyer to inspect your property, the famous home-inspection. So many of these items (if not all) will be included on the inspection report made by the buyer.
So the question again is “why should I do it?”
And the answer is twofold; it will help in the selling process to go faster and smoother, but more important still it will help you to review the condition of your house. The exercise in completing such a statement will give you the opportunity to review what things you are willing to leave behind in that house.
So at this time we start looking at the chandelier you always loved for example and decide if it is going to stay on the home. Same goes for paintings and other artwork. And what about the flat panel TV’s on the walls? Well again you decide if they stay or no.
An important note here, you cannot assume that because you are leaving all those treasures your home’s appraisal will increase its value. As a matter of fact, appraisers (and lenders) do not assign value or consider any of those items in their valuation process because in the end they can be removed or stop working, etc. But they have (or had) some value to you. So by preparing the information statement these things come up into your attention.
Anything attached to the house becomes part of the real estate you are selling!
While we are reviewing what things stay or what you take with you before selling let’s keep in mind that by definition (legal that is) any fixture or item attached to the house becomes part the real estate that is your house. That is why almost always the range/stove remains in the home, etc. Even the trees and shrubs in the yard fit this and that beautiful rhododendron that flowers every summer must stay unless you remove it before putting the house for sale. (Oh yes, the little lion sculpture at the front steps too).
Okay, let’s review, if you have a real estate information statement, you could indicate in it that (regrettably for this buyer) the little lion sculpture is not included in the sale. And so, and so for. Get the idea. That’s why it is helpful and important to have such a disclosure. It also serves to indicate what you are not including in the sale.
So remember, if you did not remove the chandelier or made a clear disclosure that it was not included in the sale, do not remove it just before giving possession to the new owner. By Then It Is Too Late.
Good luck selling your house.