Property Disclosures: Why Disclosures Plus Inspections Are Necessary

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In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics on property disclosures and they they’re important during any situation where you’re purchasing a home. These disclosures include basic information about the home that’s provided by its seller, from its history of major systems and repair to any concerns like pests, plumbing, water damage or others.

At Aerolite Consulting, we regularly interact with property disclosures and related documents as part of our home inspection and related services, which also include energy audits, environmental contaminant testing and more. There are some who may mistakenly believe that this property disclosure alone is enough as a buyer, and that you don’t need to have an inspection done — today’s part two of our series will go over why this is the wrong approach, and why it’s vital to obtain both the property disclosure and a quality inspection from professionals like ours.

Sellers Only Have to Disclose Known Issues

First and foremost, as we noted above, the property disclosure is provided by the seller — in fact, it’s sometimes called a seller’s disclosure. And as the seller is completing this document, they’re only legally obligated to disclose any information or defects that they know about.

In other words, the seller isn’t legally responsible for discovering and disclosing any latent defects that could be present in the home — and given that many of these may not be detectable without a professional inspection, it’s quite possible that there are significant problems with the home of which the seller is unaware.

References to Maintenance or Repair Specialists

Even if your home inspector doesn’t find anything major of note that wasn’t already disclosed in the property disclosure, there’s another potential issue to be aware of. In some cases, sellers will note on their disclosure that they’ve had maintenance or repair specialists out to look at an issue — but the seller may not have actually taken care of the problem.

In other words, just because a specialist was called out to take a look at an issue doesn’t mean that the problem was actually fixed. And depending on what the problem is, it could be something that leads to significant issues and costly repairs down the road if it’s not caught and dealt with early on.

For example, water damage is a serious issue in any home — and if not taken care of immediately, can lead to problems like black mold, which is not only a serious health hazard, but also incredibly expensive to remove. But by having the home inspected, not only will you be aware of this issue and the fact that it has not been remedied, but you’ll also have access to an inspector who can recommend what needs to be done to take care of it.

As you can see, while the property disclosure is important, it’s not enough on its own — and it’s vital to have an inspection done on the property as well, no matter what. For more on this, or to learn about any of our home inspection services, speak to our team at Aerolite Consulting today.