A Seller Must Disclose!

Prior to listing a condominium or single-family home for sale an owner in the State of Washington is required to complete a very detailed state prepared Seller Disclosure Statement that must be available to all potential buyers.  Buyers have the opportunity to review this document and can terminate the transaction if the buyer finds something unusual or unacceptable to the buyer.  The buyers Earnest Money Deposit will be returned to the buyer without any objection from the seller.

Here’s the tricky part.  If a buyer performs an inspection of the property and communicates a concern to the owner that was not disclosed on the Seller Disclosure Statement, the owner must immediately update the Seller Disclosure Statement to reflect what they’ve learned.  This is not unusual.  Generally, an owner doesn’t hire and inspector to perform an independent inspection of the property prior to listing the property for sale.  An inspection may uncover something that should be disclosed on the Seller Disclosure Statement that the owner didn’t previously know about.

Rather than providing copies of any pages from the inspection report to the owner, buyers should simply request specific actions/repairs to be performed by the owner prior to “Closing” on the Inspection Response Form.  A buyer should request copies of the invoices paid for the repair and, require those repairs to be performed by a licensed/bonded/insured contractor.  The buyer should also gain written approval for a re-inspection of those items 2 or 3 days prior to “Closing” to confirm the work has been properly completed.  The buyer should allow the owner to perform those actions/repairs that do not require specific expertise to perform.

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