Agent

Sellers use disclosure to their advantage

Hiding defects not worth the hassle of a lawsuit

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Forty years ago, seller disclosures weren't part of the home-buying process. The rule of the game was buyer beware. Now most states have seller disclosure requirements, although they vary from one state to the next. Consult with a Realtor, the Department of Real Estate, or a real estate attorney in the area where you're buying or selling if you have questions about what a seller is required to disclose. Seller disclosures came into being in order to protect home buyers. However, seller disclosures can also protect sellers. For example, a seller of an older home in the hills of Oakland, Calif., disclosed in writing that the basement flooded during heavy rains. A few months after the sale closed, the listing agent received a call from the buyer. He was upset that there was water in the basement following an overnight rain storm. He insisted that no one had informed him of this situation before he purchased the property. The listing agent reviewed the transaction file. The se...