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Seller Resources - Articles

Selling Your Home - Disclosure

Whose obligation is it to disclose pertinent information about a property?
In South Carolina, it is the seller, but obligations to disclose information about a property vary. Under the strictest laws, you and your agent, if you have one, are required to disclose all facts materially affecting the value or desirability of the property which are known or accessible only to you. This might include: homeowners association dues; whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements; any restrictions on the use of the property, such as zoning ordinances or association rules. Your Homes in the Piedmont agent will provide you with the latest SC form and ensure that it is available to potential buyers.  

What are the standard contingencies?
The South Carolina offer to purchase includes two standard contingencies: a financing contingency, which makes the sale dependent on the buyers' ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender, and an inspection contingency, which allows buyers to have professionals inspect the property to their satisfaction. The contract has language regarding the circumstances the earnest money deposit is refunded.  The purchase contract also includes the sellers responsibilities, such things as passing clear title, maintaining the property in its present condition until closing and making any agreed-upon repairs to the property.

Do I need an attorney when I buy a house?
In SC,  you do need an attorney to complete a real estate transaction. If you have any questions at all, it may be advisable to consult an attorney to avoid future legal hassles. In looking for an attorney, ask friends for recommendations or ask your real estate agent to recommend several. Call to inquire about fees and to check on their experience. In general, more experienced attorneys will cost more, but real estate fees as a rule are small relative to the cost of the property you are buying.

What repairs should the seller make?
The SC offer to purchase has clear language regarding repairs.  Your buyer agent at Homes in the Piedmont will cover repair and inspections when we write the Offer to Purchase.

Do sellers have to disclose the terms of other offers?
Sellers are not legally obligated to disclose the terms of other offers to prospective buyers.

Will a neighbor problem reduce the value of my property?
While it may not reduce the actual value, a cluttered landscape next door can detract from the positive aspects of your home. Many neighborhoods have restrictive covenants and homeowners in the community must abide by the community CCR.


How do I get the real scoop on homes I am looking at?
Home inspections, seller disclosure requirements and the agent's experience will help. Some of the things you could expect to see in a disclosure form:
* In the kitchen -- a range, oven, microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, trash compactor.
* Safety features such as burglar and fire alarms, smoke detectors, sprinklers, security gate, window screens and intercom.
* The presence of a TV antenna or satellite dish, carport or garage, automatic garage door opener, rain gutters, sump pump.
* Amenities such as a pool or spa, patio or deck, built-in barbeque and fireplaces.
* Type of heating, condition of electrical wiring, gas supply and presence of any external power source, such as solar panels.
* The type of water heater, water supply, sewer system or septic tank also should be disclosed.

Sellers also are required to indicate any significant defects or malfunctions existing in the home's major systems. A checklist specifies interior and exterior walls, ceilings, roof, insulation, windows, fences, driveway, sidewalks, floors, doors, foundation, as well as the electrical and plumbing systems. The form also asks sellers to note the presence of environmental hazards, walls or fences shared with adjoining landowners, any encroachments or easements, room additions or repairs made without the necessary permits or not in compliance with building codes, zoning violations, citations against the property and lawsuits against the seller affecting the property. Also look for, or ask about, settling, sliding or soil problems, flooding or drainage problems and any major damage resulting from earthquakes, floods or landslides.

People buying a condominium or home must be told about covenants, codes and restrictions or other deed restrictions. It's important to note that the simple idea of disclosing defects has broadened significantly in recent years.  Also, the home inspection and home warranty industries have grown significantly to accommodate increased demand from cautious buyers. Be sure to ask questions about anything that remains unclear or does not seem to be properly addressed by the forms provided to you.

Elaine Whitton Davis
Elaine Whitton Davis
Your York County SC Real Estate Experts