Property Disclosures: Why They’re Important for Inspections

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As any current homeowner can definitely tell you, there are a few vital documents that may play a big role in your purchase and eventual acquisition of any property. One of these that’s important to know about, especially surrounding the home inspection period of any purchase, is known as the property disclosure.

At Aerolite Consulting, we’re proud to offer a wide range of home inspection services to clients around Utah, from standard inspections to environmental contaminant testing, energy audits and more. It’s often quite helpful for our inspectors to have access to the property disclosure — not only for their own needs, but to make their services even more effective and useful for the client in question. Part one of this two-part blog series will go over what the property disclosure is and why it’s helpful for your purchase, while part two will look into why it’s vital to have both a property disclosure and a quality inspection from professionals like ours. Let’s dig in!

What is a Property Disclosure?

First and foremost, we want to be sure all our readers understand what a property disclosure is. This document, also sometimes called a seller’s disclosure, is simply a list of any and all known issues with the property in question. It may range from very minor to fairly major problems, but the key is that it’s a complete and accurate reflection of what the seller knows about the condition of their home — warts and all.

What’s Included in the Property Disclosure

In most cases, the property disclosure will be several pages long and include a wide variety of information. Here are some key points that are typically included in these documents:

  • The age of major home systems, including the roof, HVAC system, water heater and more
  • Whether any additions or other changes have been made to the property since its original construction
  • Pest control history for the property
  • Environmental concerns like asbestos, radon or lead paint that may be present
  • Any plumbing, electrical or other mechanical issues that are known about
  • Water damage or flooding that has occurred on the property in the past

Why Property Disclosures Matter During Inspections

When our inspectors arrive for a home inspection, one of the first things we do is review the property disclosure with our clients. There are several reasons for this.

First, it gives us an idea of what sorts of issues we may be looking for during the inspection itself. If the home is known to have an issue with its electrical system, for example, we’ll be on the lookout for any signs of this during our inspection and can provide a more accurate assessment as a result.

Secondly, it allows us to better understand the client’s needs and what they’re looking for from us. If they’re particularly concerned about water damage or flooding, for example, we can make sure to give this issue the extra attention it deserves during our inspection.

And finally, the disclosure offers a comparison point against which we can compare our findings. If the seller says there’s no water damage on the property but we find evidence to the contrary, this could be a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

In part two of our series, we’ll go over why it’s important to have an inspection done, even if you already have a property disclosure in hand. For more on this, or to learn about any of our home inspections or related services, speak to our team at Aerolite Consulting today.