When you sell your home, you'd hate to have the buyer later claim that you misled him or her about the home's condition. The fact that the buyer had the home inspected by a professional contractor may not fully protect you from legal claims. Making clear disclosures will help you reduce the risk of liability to the buyer.
- Sales Contract. You'll probably see a clause in the sales contract in which you represent that all equipment and improvements in the home are in working condition, except for the items that you specify. Be sure to insert any items that are not in working condition.
- Seller's Disclosure Statement. A Michigan statute mandates the use of this form. In the form, you'll disclose what you know about problems with or defects in your home. The form covers not only appliances and systems in your home, but deals with such issues as leaky roofs and basements. If something changes after the buyer receives your disclosure statement, you should inform the buyer in writing.
- Lead-Based Paint Disclosure. Federal law mandates the use of this form. You'll disclose what you know about the presence of lead-based paint in the home, and give the buyer any records you have on the subject. You'll also need to permit the buyer - or his or her expert - to inspect the home for lead-based paint.
- Your General Duty. Besides being diligent in completing the above forms, you have a general duty to be honest with the buyer about the condition of the home. For example, if the buyer expresses concern about the condition of the home's foundation, reveal all that you know - preferably in writing.
The attorneys at the Ann Arbor firm of Hamilton, Graziano & London can explain your disclosure obligations in greater detail, and can help you with all other legal aspects of selling your home.