Near the end of the home selling process, after the negotiations are finished and the purchase agreement is signed, all home sellers must provide what is referred to as the seller's disclosures. In a real estate context, a disclosure is when the seller informs the buyer about any potential problems with the home that is being sold. For example: if the heating system isn't working and the seller informs the buyer, this would be considered a seller's disclosure.
Each state makes its own laws about what exactly the seller is required to disclose. In some states, like Massachusetts, sellers don't need to disclose any information to the buyer unless directly asked. That means that even if all the appliances in the home are completely broken, unless the buyer specifically asks if they're working, the seller has no obligation to provide that information. In other states, like Idaho, doing the same thing is completely illegal.
If you're selling a home in Idaho, it's vital that you understand the Idaho real estate seller disclosure laws. The best way to make sure you have a clear picture of these statutes is by working with an experienced real estate agent. Here are the main points you'll want to discuss with your realtor.
What Are You Required To Disclose?
The laws regarding seller disclosure can be found in section § 55-2508 of the Idaho Code. This section provides the Seller Property Disclosure Form, which can guide you through what you need to disclose to the buyer.
The section begins by stating that the seller does not need to disclose anything about the condition of the home that the seller wouldn't know simply from living there and that the buyer couldn't determine for him or herself upon looking at the house. That is to say that the seller need not disclose any information about the structural components of the house, roofing, or any other issues that would require some level of expertise to discover. It is the buyer's responsibility to get the home professionally inspected, not the seller's.
So what specifically does the seller need to disclose? Here are the main categories of issues the seller needs to inform the buyer about:
Area of City Impact and Annexation
The seller must inform the buyer as to whether or not the property is in an area of city impact, of AOCI. In the Idaho Code, an AOCI is a portion of a county that a neighboring city is legally able to annex and is expected to expand into. For the most part, outside of being in a different legal jurisdiction, this won't affect the property. However, it is important to speak with your real estate agent to make sure you're aware of all the possible future implications.
If the property receives any city services or has a written consent to be annexed by the city, the seller must disclose that as well.
Appliances and Service Systems
The seller must note any appliances or service systems that are not functioning properly at the time of sale. This includes microwaves, smoke detectors, pools, refrigerators, etc.
Any known problems with basement water, the foundation, septic tanks, wells, plumbing, drainage, electrical systems, heating, and roof condition and age must be reported to the buyer.
Any zoning violations, easements, encroachments, lot line disputes, or other conditions that may affect the seller's ability to clear title must be reported to the buyer.
Pest Infestations and Hazardous Materials
Any ongoing pest infestations or known hazardous materials must be disclosed.
Additions and Alterations to the Home
If there have been any additions or alterations made to the home without a building permit, the seller must disclose them to the buyer.
Unlike the other categories, this one is a bit more ambiguous. The section states that the seller must disclose “any other problems, including legal, physical or other not listed above that you know concerning the property.” A qualified real estate agent will be able to go over any concerns you have about your home and determine whether or not they need to be disclosed to the buyer.
What Happens If the Disclosure Is Inaccurate?
If the seller does not accurately report known issues on the Seller Property Disclosure form, they are liable for any damages incurred on the buyer. Don't try to cover anything up and make sure to consult your real estate agent to ensure that you don't get yourself into trouble.
Even though it may be at the tail end of the home selling process, seller disclosure is an extremely important step that should not be overlooked. If you are selling your home, it's essential that you work with a qualified and experienced real estate agent who can guide you through the entire procedure. Clever Partner Agents will sell your home for only $3,000 or 1% of the closing price — you don't pay anything unless it sells!
If you're interested in selling your home, just enter your zip code here to view qualified real estate agents in your target market.