Minnesota sellers are required to fill out a seller’s disclosure or non-disclosure. The seller’s disclosure form is fairly long and detailed. Sellers are asked about leaky basements, roofs, walls and more.
I usually give sellers the disclosure form a few weeks before I list a home because for some filling out the form is overwhelming. it is alright to answer a question with “unknown” or if it is a matter of not understanding a question a real estate agent or Google can sometimes help.
The whole idea behind the disclosure is for the homeowner to disclose everything they know about the property that might be a problem for future owners.
Sometimes sellers forget things they know about the property because they have lived in the home for decades. It is also possible to live in a house for a long time and to not be aware of a defect, like a collapsed sewer line or a water heater that doesn’t vent properly.
Often owners of rental properties use a non-disclosure which states that they did not live on the property and do not know anything about it.
As a Realtor® I am required to disclose what I know about a property. If I know that the roof is leaking I have to disclose it. I recently wrote an offer on a house that had mold in the basement and some serious foundation problems. Both the seller and the seller’s agent knew about the issues but did not disclose that information.
Problems arise when sellers fail to disclose something important that the home buyer believes they should have known about. In other words, sometimes people try to hide defects which is why it is so important to have a complete home inspection. Most home sellers are honest and most realize that by hiding defects they could end up in court.