What you must disclose to buyers if you're selling your home can get complicated. Although the laws vary by state, you must tell buyers about any problems you know exist in your home. Find out more about the Maryland real estate seller disclosures and what you can do to protect yourself.
It's never easy to sell your home without jumping over a few hurdles. Aside from trying to find as many potential buyers as you can, Maryland law requires you to disclose any “latent defects” with your house before you can close a deal.
So, if you're selling your house in Maryland, what must you tell potential buyers about the condition of your home? This guide will help you avoid a potential lawsuit if a buyer claims you didn't provide the proper Maryland real estate seller disclosures.
You obviously want to get the most money possible when you sell your Maryland home. Part of getting the highest price is making your home look move-in ready. However, if your home has small and inconsequential defects, it could still hurt your chances of getting top dollar.
Some defects are just normal wear and tear that comes with older homes and shouldn't affect values. The problem is it could make buyers skittish about buying your home. So, what should you disclose to potential buyers? In Maryland, you the law requires you to make certain disclosures.
Maryland Real Property Section 10-702 requires you to fill out a form that gives you the choice of disclaiming to buyers your selling your home “as-is” with no representations or warranties about its condition, or disclose to buyers certain defects or other information about the state of your home. However, Maryland law doesn't allow you to do both.
If you choose the disclosure route, the form will offer you a layer of protection if a buyer suddenly claims problems arose after purchase. The form contains a pretty extensive list of potential problem areas, which includes but isn't limited to your home's water supply, the condition of the roof, or the condition of the foundation.
If you choose to sell your home “as-is” using the disclaimer portion of the form, you're essentially telling buyers you have no knowledge of any defects that could affect the property. From there, it's up to the buyer to determine if there are any problems that could negatively affect the home down the line.
For example, if you choose to sell your home “as-is,” and the roof starts to leak one week after someone moves in, the buyer cannot expect you to pay for the repairs. However, if you choose the disclaimer route, it doesn't mean you're off the hook for any potential problems buyers may encounter.
Maryland law still requires you to disclose any “actual knowledge” you have about any latent defects with your home. If you know the roof leaks, or you know there are cracks in the foundation, you must disclose that information to buyers.
You probably don't know about every small defect or potential problem in your home. So, if you genuinely don't know that your underground plumbing leaks and a buyer encounters a problem after they move in, it's up to the buyer to fix the defect.
You might be thinking it's smart to choose the disclaimer route and protect yourself from any liability down the road. However, this plan could backfire if buyer's start to wonder why you're not choosing to fill out the full disclosure.
Some buyers might decide to hire an inspector to uncover any potential problems since you've decided not to fill out the full disclosure. If the inspector finds any defects outside of what you've told buyers (per the rules of the disclaimer), it could kill any chances of selling your home for top dollar — or selling it at all.
Why It's Important to Use an Agent
So, what route should you take to stay within the rule of law in Maryland while trying to sell your house for the most money? It's always best to hire a local, top-rated real estate agent who understands what buyers want and what buyers expect.
It's never easy to fully understand what you must disclose to buyers with so many potential problems that could arise after the sale. So, you should always connect with an agent (like our Clever Partner Agents) who knows the disclosure laws for selling real estate in Maryland.