A white, multi-story house with extensive roof damage.

Seller Disclosure Red Flags to Be Wary of

When buying a home, there’s a lot of paperwork involved. Hence, understanding what the documents are for and why they are crucial will help you steer your way through the home-buying procedure. The seller’s disclosure is one of the documents that you need to understand to avoid purchasing a house with potential problems. It is therefore important not to overlook some major red flags during the procedure, some of which are spelled out in the seller disclosure statement. Here are 6 seller disclosure red flags that you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to when buying your dream home.

1.    Notes or Lack of Details About the Roof

Subjective seller disclosures with vague descriptions that use terms like “small,” “insignificant,” or “slight” should be a warning. These statements may not extensively disclose the extent of the problem and should be cited as areas for inspection. Thus, if you see “a small leak in roof” or “slight hail damage,” you need to make sure that you dig deeper or call your home inspector to look into it so you know the extent of the damage before it’s too late.

2.    Foundation Issues

If the statement includes any information about issues with the foundation, then that’s a major seller disclosure red flag. As you stroll inside the house, look for cracks in the wall or sagging floors. These are signs that there are problems with the foundation of the house.

3.    Land Use Restrictions

When you buy a house, you might be thinking about various projects you would like to take on, like building an addition or making renovations. Due to this, you need to verify that there are no previous land-use restrictions or easements. This is because land restrictions and easements can affect the value of a property. The buyer should receive a titled report or a memo giving a detailed description of the easement. Additionally, a survey would be advisable to identify landmarks and how it affects the property.

4.    Liens

Issues about liens when a legal right to the home is held by a creditor or other party besides the seller should appear during the title search. Be extra careful if this seller disclosure red flag appears in the paperwork. Make sure you consult your real estate attorney, your title company, and the agent acting for the other side to get clarity on the issue. You should also be informed of the time frames it could take to clear the title.

5.    Flood Damage

It is very important that you know your new home’s previous experience with flood damage prior to signing anything. Flood damage is serious and creates spaces, which often fester with mold. Some areas are more likely to flood or become subject to hurricanes or tropical storms. That being the case, make sure you first see if the area you are looking in has a past with flooding.

6.    The Dreaded “Unknown” or “No Representation”

This seller disclosure red flag is not automatically a sign to run away from a property, but if the seller marks a unit such as the windows or basement on the disclosure statement as “no representation,” be wary. You will most definitely want a home inspector to look more keenly at that area. What exactly does this mean? Sellers can opt to place “no representation” on an area of the property in their paperwork to avoid disclosing the characteristics or conditions of an area of the home, even if they are aware of the issues. Try consulting your realtor about this too.

Get Help Navigating Seller Disclosure Red Flags

At Cheryl Bower Realtor,  we understand that analyzing seller disclosures can be challenging. This is why we are here to help you buy your dream home while avoiding risks that come along the journey. Contact us today and schedule a call so that we can discuss how we can work together.

About Cheryl Bower

Cheryl has been a Lyon Hoag (Burlingame, CA) resident since 2004. She was raised in the Richmond District (San Francisco, CA). Licensed as a Realtor since 2005, she represents buyers & sellers in the San Francisco & San Mateo County real estate markets.