Sec. 5.008. SELLER’S DISCLOSURE OF PROPERTY CONDITION. (a) A seller of residential real property comprising not more than one dwelling unit located in this state shall give to the purchaser of the property a written notice as prescribed by this section or a written notice substantially similar to the notice prescribed by this section which contains, at a minimum, all of the items in the notice prescribed by this section.
The property code goes on to specifically mention which items must be disclosed in the seller’s disclosure.
The basic seller disclosure forms are composed and available to the public from the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). The Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) has their own version of the form.
Seller’s Disclosure (TREC)
Seller’s Disclosure (TAR)
The TAR Seller’s disclosure is more thorough and, in my experience, more commonly used.
Note – the seller’s disclosure is only required for single-family buildings. Multi-family homes like fourplexes and duplexes are not required to provide a seller’s disclosure. Likewise, foreclosures generally do not have a seller’s disclosure.
Filling Out the Sellers Disclosure Unlike the listing agreement and other documents, the real estate agent is strictly prohibited from filling out a disclosure on the seller’s behalf.
Be sure to include any previous inspections you’ve completed on the property within the past 4 years.
It is possible to send the Sellers Disclosure electronically for a seller to sign. E-signatures are permitted.
Updating the Sellers Disclosure Recently, the Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) released a new document for use when a seller needs to update the Seller’s Disclosure. It is important to update the seller’s disclosure as new information comes out. Failure to disclose a property condition can easily turn into a legal issue, even long after the closing.
Inspections are the most common reason you may need to amend the seller’s disclosure. It’s not uncommon that the buyer sends the seller a copy of their inspection report when asking for repairs during the option period. At that point, the seller is now responsible to be aware of all the issues in the inspection. The seller is responsible to add the inspection to the seller’s disclosure for subsequent buyers if the current buyer ends up walking away from the deal.
What to Look for in the Seller’s Disclosure Hopefully, seller's should be diligent in completing the seller’s disclosure.
The most interesting things to check on is whether or not there have been recent repairs done to the property, like a new roof. Previous flooding, termites, or foundation issues should be disclosed here and are good to know about in advance.
Don’t let a thorough seller’s disclosure scare you. If the seller filled it out and was honest, then great! That is more than you will get from some sellers. They deserve credit for that!
If the seller was conscientious about disclosing issues upfront, hopefully, that is a good sign that they were conscientious about repairing the item or will treat you conscientiously throughout the contract.
If you do run into an issue in an insurmountable issue in the seller disclosure, thank the seller.
Their honesty may have saved you an option fee and inspection cost.
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