No one knows your home better than you, and when selling a house everyone wants to focus on the features that will sell their home the fastest. However, as a seller in the Washington DC metro area, you are required by law to disclose certain defects of your home to prospective buyers.
Structure and Insulation
Even before the home inspection, disclose any defects to the structure of your home which includes floors, walls, roof, basement, windows, and fireplaces. Defects to these areas can include leaks, cracks, and any damage related to floods or fire. Flood damage can often create a mold issue that you may not be aware of. Also, include any prior knowledge of formaldehyde foam insulation or windows that need to be replaced.
Water and Sewer
The majority of disclosure requirements concerning water and sewer relate to the presence of lead. If any lead tests have been administered on the water supply to your property be sure to disclose the results. Grant prospective buyers knowledge about any lead-bearing plumbing or if any part of the lead water line has been replaced along with the replacement date.
Disclosure statements include a list of appliances that can be included in the sale of your home. Next to each appliance on the list will be a box. You are expected to mark whether or not you are aware of any defects to the appliances. The list of appliances includes ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, garbage disposals, sump pumps, central vacuums, ceiling fans, saunas, pool equipment, pool heaters, and garage door openers. In addition, any defects to the intercom system, security system, smoke detectors, sprinkler system, water treatment system, and carbon monoxide detector must be disclosed to prospective buyers.
Any issues that relate to defects of your electrical systems, air conditioning, or heating are required to be disclosed to a buyer. This can be something as minor as low airflow vents and as large as leaking pipes.
If you have a history of rodents or wood-boring insects like termites you are required to disclose this to buyers. Even if you have fixed the rodent or insect issue, you are still responsible to disclose that information. Rodents and insects, specifically termites can leave damage such as weakened floors, walls, and more. Termites chew through wood in their search of cellulose and leave long, deep grooves. These grooves eventually weaken the wood creating severe structural damage to your home.
Requirements for disclosures in Washington DC also include any known zoning violations, building restriction violations, or any recorded or unrecorded easement on or affecting your property.
You are required to inform prospective buyers if you have knowledge of the property being a Washington DC landmark. This includes the home being designated as a historic property or if it is located in a designated DC historic district.
Any environmental hazards that may affect the property such as contaminated soil, asbestos, radon, lead-based paint, and underground storage tanks must be included in the disclosure as well.
Disclosing any defects of your home will keep you safe from a lawsuit later down the road. It is always wise to show transparency with prospective homebuyers from the beginning. For more information on the Washington DC metro area required disclosures, visit the District of Columbia Property Disclosure Act.
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