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Sam on the Sellerís Disclosure Form

Posted by Rona Fischman January 17, 2011 02:03 PM

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Sam Schneiderman, broker owner of Great Boston Home Team discusses the pros and cons of sellerís written disclosures, like this one.

A sellerís statement is a signed statement from the seller that answers pre-printed questions regarding the property.

Some states mandate sellerís disclosure statements. Massachusetts does not. That is why during some, but not all, transactions, a ďsellerís statementĒ or ďsellerís disclosureĒ is given to the buyer and/or the buyerís agent. Buyers are asked to sign a copy of the sellerís disclosure to confirm that they received it.

Sometimes the form is provided at the first viewing of the property. Other times it appears later, but almost always before the purchase and sale agreement is signed.

There are several variations on this form. Some forms are long and detailed, others are shorter. Some forms include an indemnification that states that the information came from the sellers and the agent is indemnified (held harmless) in the event that the statements are not correct.

Listing agents like sellerís disclosures because the sellerís disclosure makes it harder for the seller to use the agent as a vehicle to provide false information. The longer forms also make it harder for sellers to simply fail to provide information that a buyer should probably have about the property before they commit to buying it. The more detailed forms encompass most aspects of the property, including a history of work that the seller did to the property during the term of ownership.

Some sellerís attorneys advise their clients not to provide a sellerís disclosure because they feel the less that their client provides, the better off they may be later in the event that the sellers make a mistake, whether knowingly or not. They feel that the buyer can do as much investigating and inspecting as the buyer wants before committing to the purchase.

If youíve had any experience with sellerís disclosure forms, here are some questions for you to contribute to the discussion:
Did the sellerís disclosure appear at the time in the transaction that was best for you or the seller?
Did it provide you with everything you needed to know? If not, what else did you want or need to know?
Were the disclosures accurate or did you have any surprises later?
If the disclosure form was not correct and you bought the property, what did you do?

Most important, do you think that Massachusetts should have a mandatory sellerís disclosure law and uniform sellerís disclosure forms that need to be provided at a specific time in the transaction?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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