“Septics, Foundations and Flashing – Oh My!” The topic of property condition and disclosure is a hot button for buyers and sellers alike these days. We’re finding that the difference between having a great experience versus a not-so-great experience is very much connected to what’s behind the curtain!
If you’re a buyer looking at a property that someone else has owned and maintained, there can be a lot of mysteries. If you don’t have a lot of familiarity with how things work, especially with rural living, you need someone to help you understand what to look for. That kind of assurance can come from a qualified inspector as well as a real estate agent you trust. You can also refer to what the seller has disclosed in their Real Estate Condition Report.
From a seller’s perspective, it may have been years since you’ve sold a property. You may not know how to prepare your property to sell or what kinds of things you should disclose. You too, need someone to help you understand what to look for and what to do. Likewise, that kind of assurance can come from a real estate agent you trust, a qualified inspector and your Real Estate Condition Report.
Inspections are an opportunity for buyers to get to know a property better. An inspector can share maintenance tips to keep a property in good shape. They can point out areas to keep an eye on and they also look for defects. In Wisconsin, it’s not a requirement to have your property inspected before you list it. But we have a recent example of two siblings who inherited the home where their parents lived. They never lived there and didn’t know much about the workings of the place. They chose to get an inspection, so that they could address any major issues (defects) before listing and so that they wouldn’t get blind-sided with problems down the road when a buyer was involved. It served them well. Their buyer had great confidence in the property, which resulted in good feelings on both sides when an Offer to Purchase came into play. Win-win.
The Wisconsin Realtors Association has released a new version of the Real Estate Condition Report, which we feel will be beneficial to both buyers and sellers. It’s much more specific so that sellers can understand areas of concern in advance and be clear about what they know. It’s also divided into categories so that buyers can easily zone in on areas that are important to them.
Talk to your real estate agent. Tell them your concerns and ask them if they see anything that needs to be addressed. Review the Real Estate Condition Report with them and find out what items they feel may be defects and which items fall under the category of maintenance. (“My dog is missing a left foot” is a defect. “My dog needs his nails trimmed” is maintenance.) Your agent should have knowledge and resources to help you put your best foot forward, so that in the end, everyone can lock arms and skip down the yellow brick road together. There’s no place like home! ~ Wanda Boldon