One of the documents you will be given as a seller is the Seller’s Disclosure. This is a 6 page (in PA) document where you will be asked to fill out listing everything you know about your home.

For many sellers, their inclination is to only present their home in the best light, and while this can be tempting, the seller disclosure should not be looked at as a sales tool, because in reality is is a liability reduction tool. By revealing up-front everything you know about the home, honestly and to the best of your knowledge, you are preventing the six most dreaded words… “I was never told about that”.

These are six words usually uttered by the buyer after their inspection or worse, after their closing, when something has gone wrong in the home. The fact is, homes break, even well built, well maintained homes. But when things breaks many buyers will go running back to the disclosure to see if they were really told about the issue they are now faced with.

Of course there is no such thing as a perfect house, and it is a great idea to get a home ready for sale by sprucing it up, painting it and making repairs. Just be sure that the repairs are being disclosed, and they are not intended to be a band-aid just to get past the sale. Past problems will come back to haunt everyone if they are not correctly addressed, and the worst thing is for a buyer to find out that something was hidden away.

Speaking of which, the buyer will always find out. They will come across the contractor who had previously been at the home or they will bring the conversation up to the neighbor who will recite the entire history of your home.

So when faced with the seller disclosure, consider it as your opportunity to reveal what you know about your home, warts and all, and feel free to add additional details of how you corrected problems or even provide documentation. You will be protecting yourself and helping the buyer make a good decision as they search for the home of their dreams.