Sellers Disclosure Required When Selling a House in Texas

When it comes to selling a house in Texas, you encounter all kinds of bizarre situations— from preparing for numerous showings, negotiating with the opposing party, packing your belongings and shoving them in a closet, and dealing with a massive pile of paperwork.

If you’re trying to sell For Sale By Owner, then you need to know about these sellers’ disclosure in your particular state. There are numerous For Sale By Owner Websites available on the web to assist you in your home selling journey. 

Of all the paperwork, one of the most important pieces of documentation you’ll encounter is the seller’s disclosure. 

Before your mind goes of trying to figure out what importance sellers disclosure Texas holds during the sale, understand the fact that as a home seller in Texas, it’s a legal obligation. 

Seller disclosures are controlled by Texas Property Code Section 5.008 which states that sellers of single-family residential real estate must provide buyers with a written notice indicating their knowledge of the property’s condition, and it specifies the wording that should be included on that form, with a focus on substantial flaws.

The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), a state organization in charge of managing the real estate market, has integrated such a phrase into a standard form.

The buyer must receive this paperwork “on or before the effective date” of the property purchase contract. In other words, you cannot have the buyer become committed by the purchase contract only to deliver the buyer a disclosure form a week later stating that the power in the property does not work. 

Obviously, a substantial flaw like this might affect a buyer’s choice regarding the deal, or at the very least the offer price.

If you fail to provide the pre-contract disclosure document, the buyer may cancel the transaction within seven days after obtaining it from you. Given all of the hassles that come with selling a house, you don’t want to add another layer of uncertainty. 

The disclosure form will be signed by both you and the buyer as confirmation that it has been presented and received. (Of course, a copy should be kept for your records.)

What’s the importance of Sellers Disclosure?

For one it protects both the buyer and the seller during the transaction.

Let’s understand this better:

Seller

If your home is in good condition, a seller’s disclosure can assist remind the buyer of all the features they adore, such as the comfortable fireplace or brand-new stove. These attractive qualities might help you make more money when selling your house.

But what if your residence isn’t picture-perfect? Welcome to the club, which includes the vast majority of us! The seller’s disclaimer reveals such weaknesses, which is a positive thing. 

It puts everything on the table, so if something goes wrong, the buyer won’t be able to blame you because you forewarned them.

Assume a seller is aware of bad wiring in their home but fails to disclose it. The seller violated the law. Furthermore, the buyer might sue them for failure to notify the defect and for repair costs. And what if the poor wiring causes a house fire, resulting in more expenses and injuries? The buyer might also sue the seller for those losses.

You don’t want a lawsuit, and you certainly don’t want anyone injured. You want to make a transaction that benefits both you and the customer! 

A thorough, truthful seller’s disclosure can assist you in accomplishing this. It serves as a beginning point for talks, allowing you to determine who is liable for certain repairs.

Buyer

Previously, buyers had no means of knowing whether a home had issues. They had to rely on the sellers’ word or ask questions to the neighbors to get an idea. 

At times sellers frequently “forget” to reveal bizarre difficulties, such as the fact that their basement flooded every two years or that the backyard shed was powered by an extension line buried in the soil. 

As a result, buyers were duped into purchasing some really bad properties. They might have passed on such houses if they had known the reality. Alternatively, they may have requested that the seller make repairs or adjust the sale price.

A seller’s disclosure informs a buyer about what’s wrong (and right) with a home so that they may make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase it.

Some sellers are reluctant to provide a disclosure because they are concerned that it will reduce their profit or prevent the sale of their house completely. That’s why Texas passed regulations forcing them to divulge information so customers know what they’re buying.

Should You Be Honest In The Sellers Disclosure?

All of these sellers disclosure may appear to complicate your life by forcing you to address certain potentially value-reducing characteristics of your home. Is there a genuine, practical purpose for these disclosures to be transparent and honest?

Assume you sell your suburban home outside of Dallas and fail to disclose on your disclosure form that there is a large termite infestation eating away at the foundation. 

Eventually, the buyer discovers the problem and knows that exterminating the rodents and repairing the foundation will be expensive. The buyer may file a lawsuit for breach of contract or fraud.

Consider another case. You do not reveal the history of termite infestations before signing the purchase deal. Before closing, the buyer employs an inspector, who discovers the termites right away. The customer understands you neglected to communicate the problem, loses faith, and cancels the deal.

In any situation, the buyer’s eventual “surprise” will further complicate your life. As a Texas home seller, being truthful on your disclosure form is usually the best policy.

What Are the Myths Surrounding Seller’s Disclosure?

While sellers’ disclosure is a very important document, there are certain myths surrounding the importance of this document. 

Let’s demystify some of these myths:

Myth 1: It’s A Warranty

If the seller states that the something (maybe an appliance) is in perfect working condition and after the buyer moves in and discovers that it’s broken, the seller is obligated to repair it.

Myth 2: Buyer Who Signs It Buys It

The buyer is not obligated to purchase your house just because they signed the seller’s disclosure. That just implies they received the material and have understood the current condition and price of the house they are going to move into. In short, it’s just an acknowledgment paper.

Myth 3: Substitute for an Inspector

The seller must complete the disclosure to the best of their abilities, but they are not required to have an inspector validate it. As a result, the buyer should typically still hire their own inspection officer to ensure that the house is in good condition.

What If Something Malfunctions After The Disclosure?

After the seller has completed the disclosure, negotiated a contract, and is ready to close on the house and suddenly something which was in working condition suddenly malfunctions, a fresh seller’s disclosure needs to be drafted informing the buyer of any difficulties that arose after you negotiated the contract. 

The clock then resets: The buyer has seven days to cancel the transaction or renegotiate the contract based on the new information. That is why it is beneficial to hire professionals like Houzeo to take care of sellers’ disclosure and keep you out of legal trouble. You must read Houzeo Reviews for more information.

What’s The Duration of a Sellers Disclosure?

In Texas, the seller must disclose a disclosure on or before the effective date of the purchase contract. So, technically, the buyer can sign a contract before receiving a disclosure.

But what if the disclosure shows a severe problem, such as a black mold infestation or a fault line beneath the property? 

The buyer may be required to spend thousands of dollars to remove the mold, or their new home may actually sink into a hole in the ground. The original purchase deal now doesn’t sound so appealing.

In such instances, the buyer’s and seller’s real estate agents will work with them to revise the contract based on the disclosure.

What if the seller fails to give the disclosure on time or fails to supply one at all?

To begin with, the seller violated the law. The buyer has seven days from the moment the late disclosure is received to renegotiate or cancel the contract. However, if the seller fails to provide a disclosure, the buyer has the right to cancel the transaction at any moment before closing.

Under What Circumstances Is Sellers Disclosure In Texas Not Required?

Even in Texas, there are exceptions to every rule. 

When you decide to include it in your will to give a house to your children or you have had a bitter divorce battle with your spouse who has demanded the property as a settlement or someone co-owns the house with you, in such circumstances, there’s no need for a do a sellers’ disclosure.

Apart from that, you are also not required to provide a disclosure for a residence that:

  • You received an inheritance.
  • Is worth less than 5% of the overall value of the property.
  • Is a Duplex or a Triplex where multiple family members are residing. 
  • You are selling as a result of a court order, foreclosure, bankruptcy, or other such related circumstances.

To know more about sellers’ disclosure in various states check out the following blogs:

Florida: sellers disclosure Florida

California: Seller Disclosures California

Illinois: Seller Disclosure Illinois

Pennsylvania: Sellers Disclosure PA

Michigan: Sellers disclosure Michigan

New Jersey: Sellers Disclosure NJ