5 Things You Are Legally Required to Disclose in Your Home Sale

By Mark Lemmons  I  July 20, 2022

If you’re selling your home, you’re probably wondering how to handle disclosing unfavorable information. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know what you need to divulge about your home and its history! In Texas, there are several things that sellers are legally required to disclose prior to selling. This is done in a Seller’s Disclosure Statement.

Here are 5 common issues you are legally required to disclose. Be sure to read to the end to find out what you are not required to disclose!

1. Structural repairs

If you have had any structural repairs on your home, you are required to disclose that to a potential buyer. These items may consist of repairs to your:

● Foundation
● Roof
● Subfloors
● Columns and beams
● Load-bearing walls
● Columns and joists
● Deck

Any work done on these items should be disclosed so that a potential buyer can make an informed decision about the structural integrity of the home. If you are aware of any previous repairs in any of these areas, you need to include that on your Seller’s Disclosure. 

2. Previous fires
Previous fires also must be disclosed – even if they were not caused by anything mechanically wrong in the home. If the damage has been repaired and otherwise would not be detectable, it is still something that a seller’s disclosure form requires you to divulge. This gives a potential buyer the opportunity to see the steps that were taken to remedy any fire damage and double-check for any structural issues that could have been caused by the fire.
3. Water damage

You also must disclose any water damage that you are aware of, even if the issue has been resolved. Oftentimes, water damage is caused by:

● Leaking toilets
● Rusty pipes
● Old water heaters
● Poor roofing
● Bad landscape drainage around the foundation
● Water/sewer issues
● Backflow and cross-connection issues

If you’ve had any water damage, you will be asked to disclose that. Water damage is often a sign that there is a deeper problem going on, and a potential buyer has the right to know about it and make sure that the underlying cause has been addressed.

4. Termites
The first pest that comes to mind when it comes to real estate is usually termites – and for good reason! Termite damage affects approximately 600,000 homes per year in the U.S. If you’ve had any active termites, wood rot, or termite treatment, you will need to disclose that information. Interestingly, some states may ask about other infestations such as snakes, bedbugs, or mice. Texas does not require that sellers disclose any other pest issues, but it is always better to be upfront about any pest problems you’ve had. These issues will probably make a potential buyer trust you more and are unlikely to deter a serious buyer, since these issues can usually be resolved fairly easily.
5. Lead-based paint

Those are the most common issues that come up on Seller’s Disclosures. There’s a good reason why each of these items must be disclosed to a potential buyer. Less common items that must also be disclosed include:

● Hazardous or toxic waste
● Asbestos components
● Urea-formaldehyde insulation
● Radon gas
● Aluminum wiring
● Unplatted easements
● Previous use of premises for manufacture of methamphetamine
● Fence or sidewalk issues
● Driveway defects
● Electrical system issues
● Flooring problems
● Windows defects
● Lighting fixture issues
● Intercom system failures

What you don’t have to disclose
In Texas, there is one particular area that sellers are not required to disclose that other states do require: paranormal activity or emotional defects. Paranormal activity would include any unexplainable events, and emotional defects could include anything from a death in the home to a violent crime occuring at the residence. In Texas, that’s not something sellers or buyers have to worry about.
What to do with existing issues

If you have any small issues that can be addressed, it’s best to take care of them prior to filling out the Seller’s Disclosure. It does not look good to a buyer when small items like smoke detectors or electrical wiring are marked as defective in addition to larger items. It’s best to take care of the small problems and leave room for any larger items that you must report regardless of the present condition of the home (like the 5 items we covered).

If you need any help navigating your Seller’s Disclosure or listing your home, reach out! Our team is here to help.

Watch this video to learn the 3 biggest mistakes sellers make!

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