The Michigan Seller Disclosure Act requires a home seller to disclose the condition and other information about the property known to the seller through a Seller’s Disclosure Statement. It is not a warranty by the seller or agent and it is not meant to replace a buyer inspection. Also, agents will not (and cannot) help you fill this out. This is required to be filled out by the homeowner and what they know to be true.
What does a Seller’s Disclosure Statement include?
A Seller’s Disclosure Statement will typically cover appliances, systems and services associated with the home. The homeowner must be truthful in all representations. If you know that the dishwasher doesn’t work, you need to indicate it. However, if you never used the dishwasher and have no idea if it works or not, you can mark “Unknown” truthfully.
How Important is a Seller’s Disclosure Statement?
A buyer and their agent may use the seller’s disclosure statement in order to structure their offer or inspect any concerns they may have over any of the statements. For example, above I mentioned the seller might not know if the dishwasher works. Well, a buyer might want to ask their home inspector to specifically test it. This could influence whether the buyer’s asking price will include a discount for the dishwasher or not.
Property conditions include statements on whether the basement or crawlspace has ever had water leaks. It also asks whether the roof has ever leaked and how old it is (again, if you don’t know you can write in “unknown”). The seller is also asked to disclose any issues regarding the heating system, the plumbing system, electrical system and if there have ever been any infestations.
If a seller were to intentionally make a false statement, they could end up in a lawsuit down the road from their buyer (the new home owner). Let’s say the seller had a foundation leak in the basement and hid it. It was missed by the buyer and their inspection. Years later it was discovered that the leak was still present and had created very expensive damage. If the new home owner could prove the previous homeowner had lied on the disclosure statement, they might decide to hire a lawyer and sue!
Always tell the truth and exactly the truth. There is no need to guess or try to dig in and find out. If you don’t know, just say so.
Here’s a link to the Seller’s Disclosure Statement. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
For even more tips and information about preparing your home for the market, visit my YouTube page here.