In Michigan as in other states when a home owner puts their home on the market in most instances they are required to fill out a sellers disclosure form.
This form really isn’t tricky or difficult to fill out. It has basic “yes and no” questions about whether certain items are in working order and also has a section with specific questions for the home sellers to provide clarity on other items/areas of the home. The most difficult part of filling out the disclosure statement for most home sellers is the small font on the form and difficulty in reading it.
In Macomb County and the Metro Detroit area our sellers disclosure forms are provided by the Michigan Association of Realtors and is a standard form. It is rare that I see a variance of this form. What I would like to see however is a “Page 2”: a blank page that the seller can add items that he or she has run across in the home that is not covered on the standard form. There are always gray areas – items that do not fall into the disclosure and therefore are not touched upon by the home sellers. This can be confusing for them and for those involved in the transaction.
For example: During one recent home sale the seller of the home had removed a small fountain/pond area. The landscaper that was hired to do the removal and add soil and sod to the section told the sellers that there could possibly be settling in that area but the extent of the possible settling is uncertain. On the sellers disclosure there is a section that addresses this in a “gray area” approach. Because not enough time had passed for the home seller to see if the settling would occur she added a separate blank page to the disclosure that stated what the landscaper told her. I liked this approach. It was informative and proactive. The home buyers appreciated the information and now know what to look at for next spring after the rainy season.
Home buyers want to see an honest disclosure. I work with many home buyers and I can firmly tell you that they would rather see a “This could happen” or “This happened but is now repaired” than to be surprised with something later. When a home buyer reads the sellers disclosure they are more apt to feel comfortable about proceeding with their offer to purchase when as much information as possible is given. Adding an extra sheet of paper with an explanation is something that home buyers will appreciate and thank you for.