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What the seller knows about

Reviewing disclosures

When you’ve found a home you you’re interested in making an offer on, the seller must give you a seller’s disclosure report, which details all the problems, defects, and hazards on the property and structures that the seller is aware of.

If you spot a big problem, and you think the house isn’t priced correctly in light of this big problem, you have the opportunity to build provisions into your offer that require that the owner make repairs, subtract repair costs from the selling price, or accept a reduced-price offer.

Note that a seller doesn’t have to report any problem that he/she is unaware of. So, while the disclosure report offers some protection, it is not ironclad. Make sure you know the difference between a big problem and a small one. If you are new at this, this is where the experience and critical eye of your buyer’s agent are essential.

It’s always a good idea for you to make any offers contingent upon the results of a professional home inspection, even if the seller has already had the home inspected.